Schools in Iowa could lose classic novels as well as LGBTQ+ books, including the breakout coming-of-age series Heartstopper, thanks to new law.
As the second season of Heartstopper is devoured by fans on Netflix, teachers in the Southern US state are concerned for the future of libraries.
A list of 374 books was revealed by paper The Des Moines Register that the Urbandale Community School District believed could violate new reforms put in place by Republican Governor Kim Reynolds.
This included Heartstopper as the TV show is based on a graphic novel of the same name, written by British author Alice Oseman and released in 2019.
In the series, Charlie falls for his friend and classmate Nick, played by Joe Locke and Kit Connor respectively, opening up healthy discussions about sexuality.
The cast is incredibly diverse, with numerous other LGBTQ+ characters outside of just Charlie and Nick – a breath of fresh air for many in the community.
Governor Reynolds announced a series of reforms she would be putting in place for schools back in May.
Senate File 469, came into effect on July 1 and works similarly to the Florida ‘Don’t say gay’ laws, banning discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in schools.
The restrictions rule out any book which includes descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act in a redefinition of ‘age-appropriate’.
On top of the books, teachers are banned from raising issues of gender identity and sexual orientation at all in classrooms between the ages of three and 12.
Critics have claimed these laws are a way to eradicate LGBTQ+ education, putting the mental health and safety of many students at risk.
Heartstopper is listed among other famous coming-of-age novels such as Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Fault in Our Stars, and the final Twilight novel Breaking Dawn.
Other novels on the list include George Orwell’s 1984 and Marget Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – both considered classics – which question oppressive authoritative societies.
Beloved by Toni Morrison is also listed, another classic which tackles hard topics such as slavery, mental health, and grief.
‘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 is the founder of Annie’s Foundation, a group that opposes book removals, and whose children used to attend 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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