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House File 2499 addresses concerns with transparency in public schools as well as required social studies curriculum.

A number of Iowa parents commented on the bill online expressing hope that Iowa House Republicans will put some teeth into the bill and strengthen protections for children against obscene materials and hardcore pornography despite what Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Grassley has previously suggested.

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“I appreciate the efforts of this bill as it has become increasingly important for parents to know what materials are being used in the classroom,” wrote Pam Gronau. “I would like to see something stronger in terms of the books being used in both the classroom and in the school libraries.”

Gronau said while there is a reconsideration process already, that process in many places is “failing.”

“Many of the books parents are opposing contain pornography,” Gronau added. “It is against the law for anyone to provide pornography to children. If anything, schools should be held to a higher standard. There is no excuse for allowing these books to remain in our schools. Please take a tough stand on the books being provided to our children.”

LeAnne Getz wrote that if we determine whether movies are appropriate for children based on one word or one scene, the books should be removed from schools.

“These books are far worse,” she said. “Teachers and librarians should not be providing books that contain a father detailing the mechanics and feelings of raping his daughter, a graphic comic book picture of a child performing oral sex on an adult male relative and many nude and sexually arousing pictures.”

Mandy Gilbert said increased transparency allows parents to be better engaged and hold educators accountable.

“This should take place for all schools across Iowa through this bill as education is a partnership with parents,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, educators still decide to select obscene material for reading.”

Courtney Collier agreed with the need for such a bill.

“It is clear from the books that have been discovered, some of which have been in schools for over a decade, that the previous processes are not working,” she said. “Parents should be informed of each and every book that will be read or provided to their child while at school. Parents should have access to all materials used in their child’s instruction. There should be no books that contain pornography and or obscenity. Parents are the legal guardians of their children not the school, not the school district, not the teachers, not the teachers union, not the special interest lobbyist groups.”

Collier said the bill needs to include penalties for schools that fail to follow the law.

Parent Samantha Fett encouraged support for the bill, noting the current process is inconsistent across the state and outdated.

“This bill does some good things, however, it needs more meat in it for accountability,” Fett said.

This bill will be debated in the House Appropriations Committee Thursday morning.

Author: Jacob Hall

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