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Rep. Sandy Salmon talked about an upcoming subcommittee hearing scheduled for 4 p.m. on Monday with The Iowa Standard. The bill relates to instruction or related materials provided by school districts to pupils of school districts when it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity.

“There’s a lot of concern out there about LGBT instruction going on in the schools,” Salmon said. “It has been in schools to one degree or another for quite a few years. We brought this forward to allow parents to opt their kids out of LGBT instruction, no matter whether it’s in sex education or whatever class or whatever grade.”

The Iowa Standard detailed the recommendations by the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center to the Iowa City School District in which it laid out very clear instructions for indoctrination in the curriculum in every grade and every subject.

“It is happening,” Salmon said. “To some degree or another, there is instruction, there are surveys, there are videos presented, there are conferences students attend — there’s the whole gambit of this kind of thing going on.”

Salmon said the bill treats such instruction similar to sex education.

“Parents can opt their kids out of sex education because it touches on areas of faith, family and sexual ethics in the same way LGBT instruction touches on family, faith and sexual ethics,” she said. “They’re very similar in that. The bill just allows the same opt-out we have for sex education to apply to LGBT instruction.”

Salmon has heard from both advocates for the bill and those who oppose it.

“The people who elected me expect me to take up defending religious liberty, defending parents’ rights and defending the privacy and safety of students where it intersects with LGBT issues,” she said. “That’s what I’m working on.”

A “distraught” grandfather contacted Salmon to let her know it was happening in a nearby school. She’s also talked with a Cedar Falls parent about the issue.

“I know it’s going on in enough schools that I’ve been contacted,” she said. “I have been contacted by a Cedar Falls parent who was concerned about what’s going on in their middle school and their high school. As for the middle school, she was telling me there are kids who will come into the middle school and they know they’re a girl or they know they’re a boy. They don’t have any question about it.

“But once they come into contact with LGBT instruction and influence, they start wondering. And there’s no way that a 13- or 14-year-old child should have to start wondering whether they’re a boy or a girl, especially if it has never been an issue for them in the past.”

Ultimately, it’s not an area schools should be touching.

“Our schools have plenty to do just teaching the basics — reading, writing arithmetic, history and science — to get into these issues,” Salmon said. “They shouldn’t be doing it. There are a lot more things they need to be concentrating on.”

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