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Iowa State Sen. Brad Zaun spoke to the reconsideration committee representing the Johnston Community School District earlier this month as it is debating what to do with sexually explicit, perverted and likely illegal material like “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”

Zaun told the committee he had read most of both books and his reaction was feeling stick to his stomach.

“I can tell you it would be an indication when the principal cannot even read publicly what’s being printed in these books,” he said. “It should just give you a heads up.”

Zaun said he understands efforts to expand diversity in educational materials having authored legislation regarding racial profiling. But he also said the materials being given to students are not appropriate.

As chair of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee, Zaun said any legislation to strengthen penalties as proposed by Senate President Jake Chapman would go through his committee.

“The intent of the law obviously is really important,” Zaun said. “Unfortunately, you’re not the only school district where we’ve seen a loophole sort of speak trying to get around some of the intent of the legislation.

“I would have to say I’m sick to my stomach that it’s going to take another meeting. In the meantime, this garbage curriculum or books are being taught to our kids. And I can assure you that I will be working on this legislation next year in regards to enhancing the penalties.

“My warning to all the teachers and the administrators is you’re going to be in jail. Because this is distributing pornography. And I will work my tail end off and it will become law. And unfortunately, we have to have this conversation. I think the people of the Johnston School District spoke up (on election night) and said enough is enough. And I again cannot believe that we’re going to have another meeting when this book is still being taught to our kids. And I just sometimes wonder what happened to common sense.”

Zaun said as a former mayor, he values local control.

“I like local control,” he said. “But local control is broken in the Johnston Community School District, as well as other school districts.”

One member of the review committee did say the book was taught during first unit and isn’t currently being taught at the school.

Author: Jacob Hall