The Des Moines Register is reporting that the Coralville School District has been closed for a second consecutive day after receiving bomb threats. The threats come amid a storm of social media criticism directed at the district after Libs of TikTok targeted the district in a Tweet, saying that the school has the book This Book Is Gay and claiming that the book “promotes gay sex and the use of sex apps.”
School buildings were evacuated and law enforcement has searched but located no evidence of explosive devices.
The attacks on the district comes even as bills are working through the Iowa Legislature that would restrict any type of instruction related to “gender identity” or “sexual orientation” from occurring from Kindergarten to 6th grade, and that school library books and instructional materials be “age appropriate” and also includes a restriction on visually or textually representing sex acts. As you may guess, this leaves a lot of open questions about how this law could be applied. For example, does this mean that Laurie Halse Andersons’ award winning Young Adult book Speak, dealing with sexual assault, will be removed from school library shelves or risk disciplinary action from the state?
This particular bill also turns educators into informants, requiring that
Each school district shall immediately notify the parent or guardian of a minor child enrolled in the school district if any employee of the school district reasonably believes that the minor child has expressed a gender identity that is different than the biological sex
listed on the minor child’s official birth certificate or certificate issued upon adoption if the certificate was issued at or near the time of the minor child’s birth.
Another bill that has been passed by both houses and just needs Gov. Reynolds’ signature would remove the requirement that teacher librarians need to be certified by the Board of Educational Examiners,
each school district shall have employ either a qualified teacher librarian who shall be licensed by the board of educational examiners under chapter 272 or a person previously employed as a librarian by a public library.
It also specifically states that the BOEE cannot require a masters degree (in fact, one isn’t required now, provided you have a teaching degree with the Teacher Librarian endorsement on it, which you can get for K-8 or 5-12 for 24 credits of coursework — which is nearly enough for a masters, which is why most people just take the few extra classes to get the full K-12 certification and the masters degree). Nor does it define “librarian.” So presumably if someone with a high school diploma worked in their local small town library for a few months shelving and checking out books, they are apparently just as qualified to be a teacher librarian as someone with a masters degree and coursework in collection development, information literacy, and children’s and young adult literature, as long as their local library bestowed the title of “librarian” upon them in some capacity. Because, sure, why not?
Not gonna lie folks, all this has me feeling pretty low about my state right now.
Edit: Correction to the title of the book.