Bill controlling how schools manage transgender issues speeding through legislature

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A bill that would impact how schools handle a student’s gender identity is quickly headed to the House floor for debate. House File 9 passed through a subcommittee Tuesday and then the full House Education Committee later in the night.

HF9 prohibits schools from taking action to affirm a student’s gender identity without the written consent of the student’s parents or guardians.

This bill comes after controversy in the Linn-Mar Community School District. Last April, the school board passed a policy that created a “gender support plan” for students. The Linn-Mar plan did not call for parent involvement. The district said the policy simply formalized what school staff were already practicing to support transgender kids.

A hearing on Tuesday focused on HF9. Some of the bill’s backers argue their support does not mean they are against the LGBTQ community.

“The bible is the only history book my family needs when discussing God’s creation. The opposition will try to portray us as anti-LGBTQ, but that simply is not true. I just want to be able to discuss these matters at home with my children in the way that I see fit, as it is my God-given right to do,” said Pam Greneau, a parent in support of the bill.

Barry Stevens was also at the hearing. They spoke against the bill, saying it would prevent what, in the past, has made a big difference when they were bullied by fellow students.

“One thing that helped me was when my teacher and principal were supportive listeners and took action against these kids. That would be impossible if this bill was passed,” said Stevens.

The bill passed subcommittee by a 2-1 vote, and then was quickly passed along party lines Tuesday night in the Education Committee.

State Representative Sharon Steckman (D - Cerro Gordo County) serves on the Education Committee. She said the bill now gets a vote on the House floor. She added the Republicans must set a date for debate and a vote.