In perhaps one of the biggest setbacks for parental rights in education in quite some time, it seems the Republican-led Iowa legislature will not be addressing an issue that has spread like wildfire across the United States — sexually explicit, obscene, vulgar materials in school libraries.
The Iowa Standard has documented many books and many school districts that provide these books to students. A number of concerned parents have contacted legislators with their concerns and delivered testimony during subcommittee hearings. A Johnston student shared a story about a male student masturbating beside her in class and facing no known consequences.
Yet it has all been met with legislative inaction.
Speaker of the Iowa House, Pat Grassley, told reporters that some “real good pieces of legislation keep getting sidetracked by that, but that is not the route that we intend on going in the House” in reference to Senate File 2364 — a bill from Sen. Jake Chapman that prohibits obscene content in schools.
Even the much less controversial Parental Bill of Rights failed to pass the full Iowa Senate.
All that is left is a provision in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ education bill that informs parents on how to remove objectionable materials.
That’s all 60 Republicans in the Iowa House and 32 Republicans in the Iowa Senate could come up with. Well, and considering it is the Governor’s bill, it probably isn’t fair to say they came up with it.
It was only a couple of years ago that the Iowa Senate voted unanimously to make it a crime for parents to provide obscene materials to their children. Now, just a couple of years later, it is controversial to hold teachers to the same standard we’re holding parents to.
Not all House Republicans oppose addressing this issue. Rep. Sandy Salmon said earlier this session she was “very disappointed” to learn GOP leadership said the House is “not interested” in considering criminal penalties for those who insert pornographic materials into children’s educational resources.
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth,” she said. “I am letting the public know that I and others in the House are very interested in considering that.”
I’m not going to rehash all the trash that is littered throughout Iowa school libraries. Obviously, the sexually explicit, vulgar, inappropriate content being in Iowa schools doesn’t matter to 51 House Republicans or 26 Iowa Senators.
Regardless of what they might say, their actions — or inactions — speak much louder than their words.
And who loses?
Iowa moms and dads who don’t want their children exposed to this garbage. And, more importantly, Iowa students who are having their innocence compromised by lawmakers who are more fearful of the teachers’ union, Iowa Association of School Boards and mainstream media that protect this filth than they are interested in doing simply what is right.
For anyone who has actually read these excerpts or actually seen the images in these books, you realize this is as bad as it gets. Tolerating having materials like this in schools isn’t something Republicans do. It’s not something Democrats do. It’s what evil does.
While the traditional routes for addressing this issue through legislation are closed for the rest of this session, Republicans could find a way to do something about it still if they care about protecting and defending the innocence of Iowa’s children.
If they don’t, their inaction will provide protection and defense to the filth in Iowa’s schools already.
It’s their move.
Oh, and one last reminder…there is not one single thing Democrats can do to stop Republicans from doing the right thing — if Republicans want to do it.
If you haven’t seen or heard much from some of the books in question, check out the stories below: