Amanda Vasquez says there’s been a swell of books that discuss racism and the LGBT experience being challenged in Iowa, but she says these books can help young people understand others.
“There’s also this desire to insulate children and make sure that they don’t feel uncomfortable,” Vasquez says, “but I think that there’s a lot of empathy building that happens during those conversations.”
The Johnston School District is just one of many districts around the state that have been reviewing curriculum due to parent complaints.
Vasquez says the rights of the parents should be balanced with the rights of young people. She says all libraries have a responsibility to reflect a diverse community in their collection.
“I would encourage folks to, to keep those materials in their collections while they can and to continue to make collection development decisions as if there was not a challenge breathing down your neck,” she say.
Some state politicians believe some of the available books are obscene and they’re calling for criminal charges for teachers who give students access to them. Vasquez says the first amendment right of young people should be considered in these conversations.
(Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio)