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Petra Lange is a language arts teacher at West Des Moines Valley High School. She joined a conversation online to discuss how she attempts to work around a new Iowa law banning teaching defined concepts as facts.

The Iowa Standard could not find the original video with Lange as it could have been removed from YouTube. But this clip was shared on Twitter.

“I literally put the law in front of them, gave them access to it with a link and I said ‘I just need to let you know there are now concepts that it is illegal for me to teach you about according to the state of Iowa,'” Lange said. “I went through those 10 defined concepts with them so that they could see what the law was and they immediately, by the time we were on the second or third one, they were like, ‘but is it illegal for me to ask questions? Can I?'”

Lange told them the law was only for her and the students are not prevented from asking questions.

“I said, ‘so if there are any questions that you have about these defined concepts, you can ask them, and then I can answer them,'” she said with a laugh. “So I said, ‘let’s just take another minute. What questions do you have that you want me to build this course around and take some time to answer.’ And the questions after going through HF802 were so much more pointed. Like, one of them straight up was a sticky note that says ‘is the United States systemically racist.’ And I was like, ‘well that would be a fascinating conversation that now we can have because you’ve asked.’ So, I think, and this might be an extraordinarily silver-lining, the fact that this law in itself represents how…this law itself can represent systemic oppression in that it becomes an illustration for my students and I don’t necessarily have to say it because they can see it.”

The Iowa Standard reached out to the West Des Moines School District. The district confirmed Lange is a teacher in the district.

“We cannot comment on personnel matters,” the spokesperson said.

We followed up asking if the district had seen the video.

“We are not at liberty to comment on this,” the spokesperson said.

Keep in mind this teacher is openly discussing how she is violating the intent of state law. And the district won’t comment on it? Perhaps it is a personnel matter in that the district is taking some sort of action against her? If not, how could it be considered a personnel matter? Answering whether or not the district has even seen the video is certainly not violating any sort of personnel issue.

If they have not seen the video, they’re more than welcome to check it out below:

Author: Jacob Hall