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Republican Rep. Sandy Salmon offered an amendment on Tuesday to address obscene materials and pornographic materials in schools. Speaker Pat Grassley ruled the amendment not to be relevant to the education appropriations budget, but here is Salmon’s speech on her amendment.

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The amendment did a few things:

*Makes it the same criminal action to allow a minor to access pornography in a K-12 school as it would outside the school. (Serious misdemeanor for obscene material and aggravated misdemeanor for hard-core pornography)

*It allows for a parent to bring a lawsuit against a school that knowingly allows a minor access to pornography both for injunctive relief and damages. If county attorneys do not prosecute, parents have the option, thus putting parents in the driver’s seat.

*It doesn’t change the definition of obscene material, which applies to what is not appropriate for minors and has been on the Iowa books for decades. It doesn’t change the definition of hard-core pornography either.

*An administrator or teacher found in criminal violation would lose their license and the school would have a civil penalty assessed against it. The penalty would be dropped as soon as the school removes the pornographic materials. An administrator or teacher found guilty of a court injunction would have their license suspended.

“There are two county attorneys that already have been approached about bringing a lawsuit regarding pornographic materials in school,” Salmon said. “They have said that they cannot bring a suit b3ecuase Iowa Code 728 is too vague and needs to be clarified regarding schools because schools have special protections in this section of the code. This amendment makes those clarifications and removes special protections.”

The amendment targets the “few bad actors” in schools, Salmon added.

“Just a few years ago we made it a crime for parents to give their children pornographic material,” Salmon said. “So, right now our law says no one could give minors pornographic material unless they are in a school. And if they are in a school, they can get all the pornography there is. The law is so vague that there is, for all practical purposes, no law against it. Let that sink in.

“This is appalling and unconscionable. We are the government, we must protect our kids. Our job is to put laws in place to do that. It should not matter your occupation. Everyone should be required to protect children against pornography.”

Salmon asked, if it should be left up to the parents as some have said, then why does the government have laws against minors accessing tobacco, alcohol and drugs?

“Why don’t we just leave it up to the parents,” she asked. “Because parents need government to do its job to put effective and sufficient laws in place to protect kids. That’s its job. It’s a partnership between parents and government. Pornography is every bit as dangerous and lethal as tobacco, alcohol and drugs, yet we are going to allow it at the very place kids spend most of their day. Taxpayers don’t provide tobacco, alcohol and drugs to kids. Why should the taxpayer be providing pornographic materials to them in their schools?”

Salmon called the amendment a “watershed moment.”

“We are deciding how much protection to give our kids from pornography in the place where they should never get it, but are getting it,” she said. “We have to stand up for our kids, first and foremost. If we don’t, we are failing our kids.”

Salmon said inaction allows sexually explicit and graphic detail of heterosexual and homosexual sex acts, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, rape, masturbation, obscene language and more to remain in schools.

“Google flagged images from one book as adult sexual content and Facebook said the images violate community standards on sexual activity,” she said. “We need effective and sufficient laws with teeth to provide the tools needed to make a difference. Leaving decisions in the hands of bureaucrats will not be sufficient or effective enough in helping parents to fully protect their kids.

“We need parents to be able to file lawsuits that actually stand a chance of winning in order to protect their kids and all the other kids in their school. Criminal and civil actions are very public and shine the light on everything, making it easier to hold those involved to account.

“Pornography is an equal opportunity destroyer and it calls for an equally strong response from government.”

Salmon moved to suspend the rules, which would have allowed for a vote on the amendment. Republican Rep. Mark Cisneros seconded her motion. Only Rep. Jeff Shipley, Cisneros and Salmon voted in favor of suspending the rules so that the amendment to protect children could be taken up in the House.

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1 COMMENT

  1. This shows who really want to protect our kids and who don’t. Only 3 legislators cared enough about our kids to make this happen. That makes me sick.

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