Friday, 4 August 2023

Iowa School District Will Review Nearly 400 Books Flagged For Sex Acts, Gender Identity

 An Iowa school district will review nearly 400 books that were flagged for depictions of sex acts and references to gender identity.

The Urbandale Community School District northwest of Des Moines will review 374 books to figure out whether they violate a new state law.

The new law prohibits schools from purchasing books that depict sex acts and also prohibits teaching gender identity or sexual orientation to students younger than seventh grade.

Governor Kim Reynolds (R) signed the law in May, and it took effect on July 1.

A spokeswoman for UCSD said the list does not necessarily represent any books currently in the school system, but if a book is currently in the system, it must be removed.

UCSD spokeswoman Dena Claire said that with the school year starting soon, “we did not want to put our teachers in a position where they had to guess as to what may or may not be acceptable.”

When lawmakers debated the law in the spring, proponents focused on several books that contain explicit images and graphic descriptions of sexual acts.

Two of those books were “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson. “Gender Queer” includes illustrations of sex between two males with a sex toy, oral sex, masturbation, and other sexually explicit content. Both titles have appeared in many school libraries across the country, often getting banned by schools when outraged parents raised the alarm.


Both books are on the Urbandale district’s list of books to review.

Other books on Urbandale’s list are “I Love My Colorful Nails,” about a boy whose classmates laugh at him when he paints his nails, “Ho’onani: Hula Warrior” about a Hawaiian girl who wants to lead the all-boys hula troupe at her school, and “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish” by Lil Miss Hot Mess, a founder of Drag Queen Story Hour, which is a nursery rhyme book about drag shows.

“In the absence of guidance from the Iowa Department of Education regarding implementation of SF496, we had to take a fairly broad interpretation of the law knowing that if our interpretation was too finite, our teachers and administrators could be faced with disciplinary actions according to the new law,” the UCSD spokeswoman told Fox News.

She said that the district began compiling the book list when they reviewed “quarantined” books from other states that had passed similar laws restricting books at public schools. The list is also not an “all-inclusive list” and could change, she said.

“We have a process for staff to question a book on the list and/or recommend additional books they feel may apply,” the district spokeswoman added.

The Urbandale district serves about 4,000 students.

The issue of sexually explicit and other inappropriate content being easily available to children in their school libraries and curricula has become a hot-button issue over the last few years.

Parents have shown up at school board meetings across the country to raise their concerns, sometimes even reading graphic passages from books they find objectionable in order to make their point.

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