Sunday 14 January 2024

Iowa Appeals Judge’s Decision To Block Law Keeping Sexually Explicit Books Out Of School

 Iowa appealed on Friday a federal judge’s ruling blocking a statute intended to keep sexually explicit books out of schools and prevent elementary school students from being taught gender ideology in the classroom. 

The appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit comes after federal Judge Stephen Locher ruled against the law last month, calling it “unreasonable” and “puritanical.” The appeal from Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) was filed by state Attorney General Brenna Bird. 

“When we send our kids to school, we trust that their innocence will be protected. I’m glad to say that we are today appealing the district court’s decision in order to uphold Iowa’s law that keeps sexually explicit books out of the hands of our kids in school. Iowa’s law is clear; sexually explicit books and materials have no place in our elementary school classrooms or libraries,” Bird said in a statement.

 “As a mom, I share parents’ concerns and remain committed to keeping our schools a safe place for kids to learn and grow. With this appeal, we will continue the fight to protect Iowa families and to uphold Iowa’s law in Court,” she added. 

The majority of judges on the Eighth Circuit have been appointed by Republican presidents. 

The law, Senate File 496, was challenged in two federal lawsuits by a number of groups, including an LGBT education group, the Iowa State Education Association, publisher Penguin Random House as well as authors John Green and Jodi Picoult. In addition to requiring parental notification if a child claims to be transgender, the law also aims to get gender ideology out of the classroom for those in kindergarten through sixth grade. 

“A school district shall not provide any program, curriculum, test, survey, questionnaire, promotion, or instruction relating to gender identity or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through grade six,” the law says. 


Locher, an appointee of President Joe Biden, said that the law was too broad in his decision to strike it down. 

“It requires the wholesale removal of every book containing a description or visual depiction of a ‘sex act,’ regardless of context,” he said. “The underlying message is that there is no redeeming value to any such book even if it is a work of history, self-help guide, award-winning novel or other piece of serious literature. In effect, the Legislature has imposed a puritanical ‘pall of orthodoxy’ over school libraries.”

In recent years, Republican-led state legislatures across the country have passed bills to keep gender ideology and sexually explicit out of classrooms as parents push for more oversight of educational materials and curriculum.

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