CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP – Rep. Stephenie Scialabba (R-Butler) introduced several pieces of legislation to ensure parents and guardians are informed and have a say in their child’s school activities.
The first bill would require parental notification and consent for student participation in school-related clubs and organizations.
“These extracurricular activities provide opportunities for students to develop new skills, build relationships with peers and explore their interests,” said Scialabba. “At the same time, parents will be able to course correct when those clubs and organizations do not offer what they claim to offer.”
House Bill 1727
would mandate schools to provide certain information to parents at least two weeks prior to the start of the school year, or the first meeting or activity. Whichever comes first.
The information must include:
• The mission and purpose of the club or organization.
• A description of past or planned meetings and activities.
• A statement that a student may not participate in the club or organization without permission of the parent.
• A declaration that a parent has the right to attend a meeting or activity of a club or organization unless there is a good cause for the exclusion.
• An affirmation that the parent has a private right of action against the governing board for wrongful exclusion. Additionally, schools are prohibited from making it any more difficult for a parent or guardian to withhold consent than to give it.
The second bill, House Bill 1804
, comes in response to Pennsylvania becoming the first state in the country to award a statewide $3 million contract to Kooth, a London-based online platform where school-aged children can receive mental health care without parental knowledge, involvement or consent. It would require school districts to notify parents if they intend to enter a contract with Kooth; mandate specific, informed parental consent for their child to access or be provided materials about the platform; share the records with parents without requiring a Right-to-Know request; and permit parents to sit in the room with their child while using the platform on school grounds.
“This is not simply telehealth or telemedicine,” said Scialabba. “According to reports, fewer than 5% of Kooth users actually spoke with a licensed psychologist. Instead, children are encouraged to participate in chatrooms where anything can happen. As a society, we are seeing a rise in trafficking, erosion of the parent-child relationship, and an increase in mental health issues. We need to solve these problems, and unregulated platforms where young kids can have sensitive conversations with a total stranger – or be exposed to inappropriate content – is not a solution. We need to trust and re-establish parents as the primary caregiver, even when that involves uncomfortable conversations.”
The third and final piece of legislation, House Bill 1805
, would limit the scope of school guidance counseling advice to strictly academic and career goals, unless parents are involved. It also requires schools to provide notice to parents of all social, emotional, and behavioral programs prior to student engagement. The schools must also provide the associated materials to parents or guardians in advance.
Scialabba recently sat down for an interview to discuss her pushback against the anti-parent agenda. You can listen to the interview at this link
Representative Stephenie Scialabba
12th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Nate Temple