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Iowa bill limits diversity training & teaching certain concepts about race and sex

ACLU calls it "chilling"
Posted at 6:44 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 11:46:19-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (KMTV) — There's a controversial bill that just passed the Iowa House; it prohibits institutions like public universities and K-12 schools from teaching "defined" concepts about race and sex.

ACLU of Iowa's Executive Director Mark Stringer gets heated when talking about the legislation, calling it "chilling" to the state.


"How could that possibly be helpful for our state, how could that possibly be helpful for our students, for our teachers even, for our communities even to not be able to have frank conversations because you're afraid of what could be happening because of a poorly written bill?" Stringer said.

Stringer acknowledges everyone has a different point of view, but this bill is not the answer.

"Well, there's no doubt that there are a variety of perspectives on U.S. history, on race and racial relations," Stringer said. "We don't think it's a good idea to be limiting speech in any way on those topics. We believe that free and frank conversation is the way to grow understanding."

State Rep. Brent Siegrist says the bill prohibits teaching ten concepts including the idea that "one race or sex is inherently superior to another" and that the "United States and the state of Iowa are fundamentally racist or sexist."

"Some people believe that, I get that, but it's like 'No you don't get to make that generalized statement,'" Siegrist said. "But if you want to talk about police actions, or you want to talk about racial discrimination or sexual discrimination, but you can't just say, 'This is the way it is' because I don't think that's accurate."

Siegrist says it's important for people to think for themselves.

"If a student gets to that decision and they think Iowa or Nebraska is systematically racist, so be it, but they should get there on their own by having a balanced discussion," Siegrist said.

Iowa State student Jacob Ludwig admits he regularly interacts with biased professors but believes in a different approach.

"If state legislators have a problem with, if they see this issue of bias on campus, there's better ways to work with universities and the different institutions throughout the state to make sure different political perspectives are being respected and heard and allowed to express themselves on campus," Ludwig said.

The bill next goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds for approval.

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