Ames School District Responds to Mixed Reactions on LGBT Teachings During Black Lives Matter Week of Action

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AMES, Iowa — The Government Oversight Committee has invited the Ames Community School to discuss how classroom materials were prepared for its Black Lives Matter Week of Action curriculum.

The chair of the committee, Representative Holly Brink, said legislators have received hundreds of letters from Ames parents concerning the week of action, particularly lessons regarding the LGBT community. 

Eve Lederhouse allowed her second-grade daughter to participate in the Black Lives Matter Week of Action, except when classrooms discussed queer and trans-affirming principles. 

“We want her to learn about all people that are making amazing contributions to our country but human sexuality doesn’t have anything to do with that,” Lederhouse said. 

Chair of the Government Oversight Committee, Rep. Holly Brink said the goal of their meeting with the school district is to create open dialogue about concerns. 

“Why did they choose this curriculum, what’s their oversight in it that you know that they did and just do they feel that they listened to the parents,” Rep. Brink said. “Just maybe have some dialogue about where they were going with it as well.”

The Director of Equity for the Ames Community School District, Dr. Anthony Jones, said the week of action was based on data they received from students. According to Dr. Jones the LGBT  teachings were included to focus on intersectionality within the Black community. 

“It was a time for a dialogue around students that also are Black, queer, and trans in our own school system,” Dr. Jones said. 

During the week of action, Amy Rutenberg said she monitored the things her fourth-grade son was learning every day. 

“The question that the students were asked to answer is how does it make you feel when you’re told how boys should act or how girls should act,” Rutenberg said. “There’s nothing about sexuality, there’s nothing that gets really deep into the weeds of what transgender means. It’s literally just about gender identification.” 

Lederhouse believes the district still overstepped. 

“I can’t tell anyone else how to raise their children and we don’t want a curriculum that does the same thing to us,” Lederhouse said. 

“The name of our district is Ames Community School District. So we wouldn’t be much of a Community School District, if we didn’t include lessons from other representation in our district,” Dr. Jones said. 

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