Iowa City Community School District school board opposes Iowa law barring transgender girls from girls’ sports

The Iowa City Community School District school board spoke in opposition to the new law that requires athletes to compete with the sex they were assigned at birth.


Gabby Drees

Board member Ruthina Malone addresses community concerns at a meeting of the Board of Directors at the Iowa City Community School District Administration Building in Iowa City Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. Community members protested after a video surfaced on social media of an Iowa City West High School student using a racial slur and blackface.

Sam Knupp, News Reporter

The Iowa City Community School District school board expressed opposition to the recent bill that barred transgender athletes from participating with the gender they identify with.

Iowa City Community School District released a statement in early February supporting the LGBTQ+ community and opposing the bill and its intentions.

“This proposed bill will not detract us from our commitment to ensure every member of our school community is valued and respected regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation. An attack on transgender students is an attack on civil rights,” the statement stated.

Board member J.P. Claussen said whatever the board can do to show the transgender community that the board has their back needs to be done.

“These straw man arguments — they’re dangerous, and it’s going to kill more kids,” he said, “These kids want to belong.”

Board member Lisa Williams said the new law strays from the accepting and easy-going Iowa she knows.

“We had two school speakers today, who told us all about athletics,” Williams said. “So to act like participating on a sports team is not a big deal in high school and junior high and elementary — that’s hogwash.”

Williams said athletics are an essential part of students’ high school experience and now that there are young women who can’t participate with their gender, she feels for them.

Board member Maka Pilcher Hayek said the board has received backlash for taking such a strong position because it appears political. Hayek said when a law affects the district’s students, the connection is so clear that it needs to be done.

Board President Shawn Eyestone said the law impinges on the school board’s ability to do their job.

“We have a duty to our job and our elected positions to protect our students, right? And this depends on that,” Eyestone said. “So, it’s absolutely within our purview to fight something that’s political.”

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