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Melissa Peterson spoke on behalf of the Iowa State Education Association during Thursday’s subcommittee on a bill that would help preserve and protect women’s sports. Peterson said the organization is “firmly in opposition.”

“We believe this bill seeks to discriminate and also seeks to define, as well as penalize public employees, public school employees, who are tasked with the incredible responsibility of providing a quality, inclusive, equitable education experience or every single student that shows up in our public schools,” Peterson said.

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“This bill does not create space for trans girls to participate in athletics, which we know is an important component of wealth and opportunity for education sports is one of the things that helps keeps kids interested and enthusiastic about their educational experience.”

She added the bill imposes penalties while simultaneously protecting school districts that would be in violation of federal law.

“It places the burden on the individual employees, which includes teachers and coaches by the way,” she said. “If they were to stand up against such discrimination. Please do not do this. We do not have these issues of competition or discriminatory practices right now.”

Peterson said the athletic association has dealt with these issues when they have come up on a “case-by-case” basis.

“This bill is a solution in search of a problem and it would codify discrimination that works against the foundational principles of providing a safe, healthy, equitable and inclusive educational experience for all of our students,” she closed.

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