Bucks County, Pa. – July 26, 2022 — Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks, Democratic Caucus Secretary) would like to share the following statement in response to tonight’s 6 to 3 Central Bucks School District (CBSD) school board vote approving a drastic new library materials selection policy:
- “For the past four years, I’ve had the privilege of serving portions of the Central Bucks School District. The Central Bucks community that I’ve met is one that is generous and neighborly, always ready to step up for friends and strangers in times of need. It’s one that takes pride in its reputation for top-notch public education. And it’s one in which families from all walks of life have always coexisted and thrived, united by a shared vision of a better tomorrow for their children. That is what I wish would bring a national spotlight to this community. That is what the vast majority of residents of this district represent.”
- “Tonight’s passage of a sweeping book ban – and call it what you will, it is a book ban – is particularly disheartening because it brings to our doorsteps the ugliness we turn off when it’s on the news, the ugliness of self-serving political operatives picking fights in which they’re the only winners because they’ve managed to distract us from demanding they get off their soapboxes and get to work. Just a few weeks ago, I made remarks on the Pennsylvania Senate floor in opposition to a similar proposal, SB 1277, wherein I urged my colleagues to stop wasting time and taxpayer money on veto-destined morality bills and instead focus on ‘the very real problems of 2022, like consumer prices, staffing shortages, [and] stagnant wages…’.”
- “The CBSD policy passed tonight goes even further than SB 1277, which would require school staff to identify all materials with ‘sexually explicit’ content, notify parents about each such work and obtain their consent before their child can access those materials. The CBSD policy mandates what the state’s proposal merely encourages through its poor draftsmanship: that materials be pulled and rendered inaccessible to all 17,000+ Central Bucks students following a successful protest from one parent.
- “Though proponents claim this policy is about parental choice and protecting innocents from graphic sexual imagery, the language is much, much broader. Moreover, most of the examples offered to support this and similar book bans feature LGBTQ characters and relationships. Make no mistake, homophobia and transphobia are at the heart of this policy, LGBTQ-affirming materials will be the first and possibly only ones banned, and LGBTQ youth will be the ones who suffer.”
- “If the CBSD policy was intended to be applied as written, it would have never passed; meaningful enforcement under the letter of the law would be prohibitively time-consuming and costly. Any number of books from the district’s extensive library system could be called up for debate at any time, from lesson plan staples like The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, and Romeo and Juliet to coming-of-age favorites like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. But this policy’s authors knew full well that wouldn’t be the case. Why else would they take such care to mention that an undefined ‘wide range of recognized classics should be maintained in each library’ while neglecting to account for the inevitable implementation costs. Of course, while implementation costs may be negligible, the bills for the inevitable lawsuits will be massive, and the sad truth is that CBSD’s 100,000+ taxpayers will ultimately bear the brunt of a handful of parents’ misplaced fear and ire.”
- “Policies like the book ban passed by CBSD today do nothing to protect the most vulnerable children in our schools, and only further legitimize discrimination and division within our community. Instead of working together to provide an inclusive and safe environment for all students in CBSD to learn, study, and question, tonight’s action by the Board brings us one step closer to the book-burning dystopia created by Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451. Indeed, CBSD’s book ban policy opens the door for further and future book bans on any other ground such as religious beliefs, political views, or revisionist history. Where will it stop? Any individual committed to the cause of liberty should rightly be concerned about the developments at CBSD and in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and I will continue to be a vocal opponent to these anti-American policies.”