Several families are suing to stop Iowa’s new law that bans books from school libraries, forbids teachers from raising LGBTQ issues and forces educators in some cases to out the gender identity of students to their parents.

A number of families have filed a lawsuit to stop Iowa’s new law which bans books in school libraries and forbids educators from raising LGBTQ issues. It also forces some educators to reveal the gender identity to parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa (ACLU) and Lambda filed the federal lawsuit on Tuesday. They said the law, passed by the Republican-led Legislature earlier this year and implemented this fall, “seeks silence LGBTQ+ youth, erases any recognition of LGBTQ+ persons from public schools and bans all books with sexual and LGBTQ+ content.”

The law prohibits educators from bringing up gender identity or sexual orientation with students until the sixth grade. School administrators must notify parents when students request to change pronouns and names. The section of the law that prohibits books depicting sexual acts from being kept in school libraries makes an exception for religious texts like the Christian Bible.

The lawsuit was filed by Iowa Safe Schools – an organization which advocates for LGBTQ students – and seven Iowans, aged from 4th to 12th grade, as well as their families. The lawsuit seeks an interim injunction to block the law until the court case is resolved and, ultimately, seeks for the law to be declared unconstitutional because it violates the rights of teachers and students in terms of free speech and equal treatment.

Thomas Story, ACLU attorney, said: “The First Amendment doesn’t allow our state or schools to ban books or discuss and material simply because some politicians or parents find it offensive.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds, the person who signed this measure into law, said that it was to “protect children from pornography, and sexually explicit material.”

Reynolds stated in a statement that “books with graphic depictions” of sex crimes have no place in schools.

In an online press conference, Puck Carlson of Iowa City High School, a senior, stated that the law has a devastating impact on Iowa LGBTQ students. She said that her younger LGBTQ sibling has struggled to feel safe at school since the law went into effect.

Carlson stated that “school is one of the most important places where children read and having access to literature in which they can see themselves is crucial to a child’s discovery of who they are.” It was for me. The removal of these books makes students less visible and stops them from being themselves.

The penalties for violating law will be in effect on Jan. 1. Administrators, teachers, librarians, and other school personnel are at risk of termination, loss of state professional education license, and even termination.

ACLU reported that schools across Iowa had removed hundreds of titles in response to this law. The ACLU said that many of the banned titles contain content relevant to LGBTQ students. These include LGBTQ characters, historical figures, or themes.

The ACLU stated that “as a consequence of this ban, LGBTQ+ student are denied the comfort and solace of narratives which include LGBTQ+ characters as well as the knowledge that they aren’t alone.”

In recent years, Republicans in Iowa have supported laws that prevent teachers to raise gender identity and sexuality issues. limit the bathrooms transgender children can use. ban treatments such as puberty blocking and hormone therapy. Many of these laws are being challenged by in the courts.

Republican lawmakers claim the laws were designed to affirm parental rights, and protect children. These issues are now flashpoints for the Republican presidential race of 2024.

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