Judge Issues Temporary Hold On Iowa Law On School Library Books That Describe Sex Acts

Des Moines, Iowa — A federal judge has stopped state officials from enforcing parts of a law that banned instruction about sexual orientation in elementary classes and has already prompted schools to remove books from library shelves.

Judge Stephen Locher issued the temporary injunction late Friday. He said the book ban was incredibly broad and unlikely to satisfy the First Amendment. The judge also ruled that part of the law about discussing sexual orientation in K-through sixth grades prohibits discussion of all relationships, gay and straight, and every elementary school teacher in the state has likely been violating it since the day the school year started.

Iowa State Education Association president Mike Beranek says the First Amendment is alive and well in Iowa schools and the ruling allows educators to do their jobs without fear of punishment. Governor Kim Reynolds says the ruling is extremely disappointing and books containing sexually explicit content do not belong in a school library.

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird says sexually explicit books do not belong in school libraries or classrooms and she will keep fighting the two lawsuits that seek to overturn the law. Another part of the law challenged in court was allowed to stand. It requires administrators to notify parents if a student asks to use a different name or pronoun at school.