Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds took a public stand in favor of the rights of parents during an interview with a local news reporter on Monday. She specifically defended the right of parents to decide on the appropriate subject matter in their children’s schools.
The interview centered on disputes around the nation regarding some of the books local school districts are placing in their school libraries. Some school library books contain explicit erotic material and have been challenged as inappropriate for school-age children. In Iowa, in particular, six local districts around Des Moines face these controversies.
During the interview, Gov. Reynolds read aloud from one of the books involved, “All Boys Aren’t Blue.” That book includes essays described as a “memoir-manifesto” about growing up gay and black.
She read a passage from the book for the reporter that described a graphic carnal act between two boy cousins. The passage used explicit language to describe boys in the nude having oral intercourse with each other. When she finished reading the passage, Reynolds said she didn’t know if Iowa parents feel that material is appropriate for children in K-12 education. Still, she feels that it is a decision that they should be able to make.
The reporter asked Reynolds if she agrees with Iowa’s Republican state Senate President Jake Chapman. The latter said teachers’ unions have a “sinister agenda” to normalize deviant behavior among school children. Reynolds said she “absolutely agrees” those inappropriate things are displayed in Iowa classrooms and libraries without explicitly commenting on Chapman’s statements.
Some schools around the country have been removing “All Boys Aren’t Blue” from libraries, although the author defends his book as having an “important message” for young boys and girls “struggling with their gender.” He said that removing a “resource” doesn’t mean “Black queer youth” will not experience what he describes.
The governor also described other books being challenged in Iowa, including “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer,” including graphic descriptions of sensual acts.