Teachers question focus of ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’

Kicking off the legislative year, Amy Sinclair, the senate education committee chair, has announced that she will be pushing to pass the “Parents Bill of Rights.” The bill states, “Parents should have the opportunity to deny students’ access to school library books they find inappropriate.” Furthermore, two other state senators called for a penalty on teachers who provide inappropriate or “obscene” books in the schools, threatening to put them in jail, ban the books or even charge felonies for the books.

Media specialist Abby Hendrickson said she disapproves of this bill that is being presented. Hendrickson said that there’s a difference between a library and a classroom. In a library, students have the option and choice to read a book rather than a classroom where it is required. 

She said, “Educators make decisions based on all of their students; they keep students in line when they select resources. A lot of the material that’s being objected to has to do with the LGBTQ community. If we remove LGBTQ, they won’t see themselves presented.” 

Hendrickson said students who don’t have the materials or education at home to further their knowledge on a specific content won’t be provided to them because of the bill. “People who want to censor things want to narrow what our students are exposed to, and there’s a lot of danger in not letting our students experience things out of their comfort zone. Kids can be their own censors, and that’s what we want to teach people. If you don’t agree with it, you can walk away,” Hendrickson said not preparing the students for content and information that they’ll see once graduated is like sending narrow-minded students into a world with a picture bigger than the one they have painted.


History teacher Chris Dyvig also said he disagrees with this proposed legislative changes. Dyvig said Brad Zaun, a Republican senator, is subjecting the proposed bill toward his own personal opinions, “whereas what’s obscene to one person would not be to another.”

He said he is “absolutely not in favor of banning any books in public schools that have been around for some time,” and he said it paints Iowa as an intolerant state. “It could affect people’s reasons to move here. I think Iowa has a great education.”

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