During Tuesday night’s Iowa House Education Committee meeting Democrat members retreated to caucus as they failed to effectively defend the indefensible — keeping parents out of the lives of their children.
Every Democrat on the committee voted to allow schools to continue keeping secret from parents the “gender identity” of their children at school.
Democrats offered strong opposition to the bill despite some of them failing to even read the gender identity policy of the Linn-Mar School District, which essentially spurred the need for the proposed law.
Democrat State Rep. Tracy Ehlert attempted to hit Republican Rep. Skyler Wheeler for not seeking the input of an LGBTQ constituent for their take on the proposed policy.
In his closing remarks, Wheeler asked Ehlert if she has read the policy of the Linn-Mar School District, which is near Ehlert’s House district.
Ehlert said she is familiar with, but admitted she hadn’t read it. She said she hadn’t heard from any parents who are her constituents who are against the policy.
Ehlert said she hasn’t asked parents how they feel about the policy.
Wheeler pointed out the policy made national news and is the subject of a lawsuit. He called it “probably one of the worst policies ever written in the history of the state at any level,” which triggered a reaction from ranking member Democrat Rep. Sharon Steckman.
“School staff should always check with the student first before contacting the parent or guardian,” Wheeler read from the policy. “Do you think the parents in Linn-Mar, and I would even argue Cedar Rapids, do you think that they would be up for that kind of a policy from their school in any regard?”
Ehlert said she thinks it depends on the grade level.
“So you’re OK for a 13- or 14-year-old to just cut their parents out of vital information that they need,” Wheeler asked.
“Not for every decision,” Ehlert said.
Steckman interrupted Wheeler as he attempted to get an answer from Ehlert.
Wheeler asked Ehlert if she understands the way it looks is that she is arguing it is OK for 13-year-olds to hide vital information from their parents regarding them thinking about transitioning or using different pronouns or changing their name at school.
“We’re OK cutting parents out of that,” he asked. “This is happening right in your neck of the woods and you haven’t talked to those parents. This is literally national news. There’s a lawsuit out there. And you’re going to sit here and tell me that is perfectly fine?”
“I think that these students are going to somebody at their school rather than a parent for a reason. We discussed a lot of that,” Ehlert said. “Maybe they’re not ready yet. Maybe they don’t trust them. Maybe it is an unsafe situation at home. We have students that we’ve got to protect. It’s not that we want to cut the parents out. There’s a reason that they’re not going to their families. It doesn’t mean we cut them out of everything. This is kind of a unique situation.”
Democrat Rep. Heather Matson had criticized Wheeler earlier in the debate for saying he doesn’t talk with 12- or 14-year-old kids in his district about this policy. He asked Matson if a child and a parent offer different advice on the same policy, who she listens to.
“How would I make a decision about whether or not I think it’s a good policy,” she asked. “I wouldn’t listen to just those two people. I would be taking all of the information I’m getting into account plus my own principles on it in order to make a decision.”
Wheeler asked who matters more in this case — the parent or the child.
“It completely depends on the circumstance,” she said.
He asked if it is OK for the school to withhold the information.
She once again said it depends on the circumstance.
Matson maintained it depends on the situation after being asked once more. She said the bill assumes bad intentions of others are not helpful.
Apparently, she missed the entire Democrat argument, which assumed bad intentions of Iowa moms and dads if they found out their child identified as a gender opposite their sex.
Or I suppose it could be OK to Matson for Democrats to assume bad intentions.
Democrat Rep. Art Staed told Steckman to call a caucus during Wheeler’s closing remarks.
The bill passed with every Democrat voting in support of keeping the gender identity of students secret from Iowa parents.