Because of a new rule, Iowa schools may lose access to classic literature as well as LGBTQ+ publications, including the hit coming-of-age series Heartstopper.
Teachers in a southern US state are concerned about the future of libraries as fans consume the second season of Heartstopper on Netflix.
The Des Moines Register published a list of 374 books that the Urbandale Community School District claimed violated new Republican Governor Kim Reynolds rules.
Heartstopper was featured because the TV programme is based on a graphic novel of the same name authored by British author Alice Oseman and published in 2019.
Charlie falls for his buddy and classmate Nick, played by Joe Locke and Kit Connor, respectively, in the series, sparking constructive dialogues about sexuality.
Outside of Charlie and Nick, the ensemble is highly varied, with multiple additional LGBTQ+ characters – a breath of new air for many in the community.
Back in May, Governor Reynolds proposed a slew of school-reform initiatives.
Senate File 469, which went into effect on July 1, is similar to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws in that it prohibits talks of LGBTQ+ problems in schools.
In a re-definition of ‘age-appropriate,’ any book that includes descriptions or visual portrayals of a sex act is barred.
In addition to the publications, instructors are prohibited from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in lessons with children aged three to twelve.
Critics allege that these regulations are an attempt to eliminate LGBTQ+ education, putting many kids’ mental health and safety at danger.
Heartstopper is mentioned with other well-known adolescent novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Fault in Our Stars, and the last Twilight novel Breaking Dawn.
Other works on the list, both regarded classics, are George Orwell’s 1984 and Marget Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, both of which critique repressive authority cultures.
Toni Morrison’s Beloved, another classic that covers difficult issues including slavery, mental health, and loss, is also included.
‘I’m familiar enough with lists from other states that I wasn’t necessarily surprised. But it’s still shocking and sickening to see the books on there,’ Sara Hayden Parris, told The Des Moines Register.
She founded Annie’s Foundation, an organisation that resists book evictions, and her children attended Urbandale schools.
A statement released by the district said: ‘We had to take a fairly broad interpretation of the law knowing that if our interpretation was too finite, teachers and administrators could be faced with disciplinary actions according to the new law.’
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