An Iowa superintendent told The Iowa Standard on Monday he hasn’t actually pulled the Bible out of his school library despite what he wrote to an Iowa legislator.
A person called BJ Meaney, who serves as superintendent at Janesville, wrote the email in response to State Sen. Sandy Salmon’s legislative newsletter.
“After reading your legislative update, I immediately went and pulled the Bible out of our library,” Meaney wrote. “With all the talk of sex in Genesius (sic), Leviticus, Deuteronomy, etc. I didn’t want to risk our kids being exposed to that!”
In her May 15 newsletter, Salmon wrote about a bill that prohibits sexually explicit materials from schools:
Prohibits an educational program and library materials in our schools from allowing any material with a description or depiction of a sex act as defined in Iowa law 702.17. Right now sexually explicit material is very easy for a minor to access, even in schools as books containing this pornographic material are available there. This kind of material damages children and introduces struggles and addictions families must deal with. It fuels a variety of sexual crimes and thus it creates victims that are hurt and damaged. Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the people, especially children.
We asked Meaney if he did indeed pull the Bible.
“I didn’t,” he said. “But the bill makes absolutely no sense. The bill to pull anything that’s being sexual, whatever Iowa code says.”
Meaney said he was raised in the Catholic church, went to Catholic school and was a Catholic school principal previously. He said he is “well-versed” in the Bible.
“There’s not much difference between that and some of the references she’s making,” he said.
Meaney said he is the superintendent of Janesville and Salmon has “never once” stepped foot in the building. Salmon disputed that claim, however, saying she has been to a board meeting and was at the school on at least a couple of other occasions.
Meaney called it a “complete over-reach” by Salmon and noted she is “so far right she can’t even see the center.”
“Like today’s Capital Corner was, you know, it’s so full of lies and it’s just hard to stomach,” he said. “It was a fictitious email. She knows it and I know it. But there’s no, I mean, (the Bible) would fall within the scope of what the Iowa Code lays out.”
Iowa Code defines what isn’t age-appropriate as the following:
Any sexual contact between two or more persons by any of the following:
*Penetration of the penis into the vagina or anus.
*Contact between the mouth and genitalia or mouth and anus or by contact between the genitalia of one person and the genitalia or anus of another person.
*Contact between the finger, hand or other body part of one person and the genitalia or anus of another person, except in the course of examination or treatment by a person licensed pursuant to Chapter 148, 148C, 151 or 152.
*Ejaculation onto the person of another.
*By use of artificial sexual organs or substitutes therefore in contact with the genitalia or anus.
*The touching of a person’s own genitals or anus with a finger, hand or artificial sexual organ or other similar device at the direction of another person.