Since the onset of the pandemic, many parents have become more aware and involved in the content taught to their students and the materials available to them at their school. Ensuring parents are part of their children’s education has become a nationwide conversation from Virginia to Iowa.
Some parents have routinely described sexually explicit materials available to their young students. They naturally are unnerved by that content and believe the delicate topics of gender and sexuality are best taught in the home. Sexual development and sexually explicit content are properly determined to be issues explained in the context of the moral and religious beliefs of Iowa families. SF 496 was a bill introduced by Governor Reynolds to address and enhance parental involvement in their children’s education.
This bill, which the Senate passed on Wednesday, has no book bans, no implementation of speech codes, and the wildly exaggerated claims of censorship also do not exist in this bill. SF 496 simply implements common sense. It is completely reasonable for sexually explicit content to be unavailable to elementary students in their taxpayer-funded school. It is completely reasonable to ensure parents are informed of their children’s activities in school, especially on an issue as sensitive as gender identity. It is also completely reasonable to prohibit discussions of gender identity and sexual activity to kindergarteners and elementary students.
A liberal colleague of mine on the floor of the Senate said, “There are some things parents shouldn’t have access to.” This statement as well as any other describes the difference between the super majority in the Iowa Senate and the super minority. Instead of hiding information from parents, in SF 496 we have enshrined the concept of parental rights into Iowa law. The principle has appeared in state judicial rulings for nearly a century, and it is now one step closer to being in Iowa law. Parental rights are the concept that parents bear the ultimate and fundamental responsibility for the upbringing of their child. Students are not mere wards of the state and parents must have the ability to guide their education, moral and religious upbringing, and the preparation for their future.