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Iowa Republican State Rep. Jeff Shipley cautioned the Fairfield Community School District about the new policy passed in Linn-Mar that allows the district to withhold information from parents about students and their gender identity at school.

The policy has created a stir in the community and will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications.


On Monday night, Shipley said he wanted to update the board on “a very grave concern” about school district policy being seen in Iowa.

“The urgent concern that I think would benefit this board and this community to address is a school district in Iowa, as a matter of policy, is deliberately concealing information from parents as it relates to their children’s health and well-being,” Shipley said.

The policy states that once a student is in seventh grade, the student and only the student would be completely in charge of their gender plan, Shipley said.

“Policy of the school district is to keep all of this secret from parents unless first given permission from the seventh-grade student,” Shipley said. “I hope people recognize this is a lot more power and responsibility than seventh-graders have previously enjoyed. A lot of parents have commented and I think probably correctly so that students who are not old enough to consent to having sex similarly would not be old enough to consent to changing their sex.

“The notion of concealing information or concealing excluding parents on some sensitive issues has been seen as a very bright red line that has generated a lot of concern, mistrust, apprehension across the entire state.”

Shipley added the Linn-Mar District cites the state civil rights code as the basis for its policy and, while he believes their interpretation is “far broader” than what is in code, if there is any validity to their claim, it would affect every school in Iowa.

He said there are two shortcomings in the policy that concern him most.

“I don’t understand how it could ever be considered healthy to have a student being one person or identity at school and then a totally separate identity or persona at home,” he said. “This has been said to support mental health of students — that these kids need this as mental health support. Nowhere in the policy does that ever mention a mental health evaluation at all. It’s solely the student’s discretion. So that is a pretty big red flag that has people very concerned.”

Shipley said anyone who would conceal information or create a barrier between the parents and a kid is grooming one on one according to a lot of people who investigate sex abuse crimes.

So, what I would ask for the board is to just simply make it very clear — 100 percent of the time it’s the intention of this community to include parents in decisions no matter what,” Shipley said. “I think that would benefit and create a lot of harmony and sow the seeds of trust and cooperation.”

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