DES MOINES, Iowa — The lack of a certain web page from the Iowa Department of Education’s website was raising concerns on social networks this week.
The page titled “Equality for transgender students“, is blank. The explanation on the site says it was taken down to review “continued legal accuracy, in light of recent court decisions.”
The page is used to outline transgender student’s rights including sports participation, pronoun preference, confidentiality for the students, among other things. On social media, Tuesday, there were concerns that the info had suddenly been taken down recently, but the Department of Education says it happened a while ago.
A spokesperson for the department said in a statement:
“The Department has a responsibility to issue guidance that is consistent with all statutes, rules, and other legal authorities. Several months ago, the Department removed the guidance from the website for review since it was last updated in 2017. To ensure the Department provides the most up-to-date information on the issue, the guidance was removed pending a thorough review of all relevant legal authorities.”Heather Doe, Communications Director for the Iowa Department of Education
A student rights group responded to those concerns on Tuesday saying they knew the page was down and they wanted changes to the page, that the department mentioned, feeling that it was vague.
“There were holes around certain scenarios that would come up that really didn’t have the clarification that our educators needed,” said Damian Thompson, the Director of Public Policy and Communication at Iowa Safe Schools. “Around 6 months ago they took that down and informed us, letting us know they intended to clarify certain pieces of it.”
Thompson said that Iowa Safe Schools has a good working relationship with the department and had reached out to see when the page would be back up.
The Department of Education did not provide a timeline for when the page would be back up, or what specific court decisions are referenced on the webpage.