Gov Reynolds Signs Law Changing Free Speech Policies at Schools, Colleges


IOWA - There are new free speech policies for Iowa public schools and universities.

Governor Reynolds has signed a new law bars faculty from violating students' First Amendment rights and makes it easier to discipline or fire employees for violations.

The change comes after accusations that conservative students were being censored at universities and complaints about a Black Lives Matter week at Ames public schools.

The new law restricts the teaching of concepts like systemic racism or that anyone is racist because of their race.

Republicans, who control the state legislature, created the new policies after an incident at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry last year,

College of Dentistry Dean David Johnsen sent an email to students saying the college was strongly against an Executive Order signed by President Trump banning workplace training for "race or sex stereotyping," and "scapegoating."

A student who vocally disagreed with the statement was called in for a disciplinary hearing, which was later canceled.

Republican lawmakers then claimed the university was denying free speech to students and was unethically taking a partisan stance.

The GOP lawmakers also called out what they thought were biased elements in the Ames school's Black Lives Matter curriculum after receiving some complaints from parents.

They called out a resource guide on the district’s website dealing with “the long history of voter suppression in the country,” and LGBTQ-related materials that were handed out in elementary classrooms.

The Ames district said efforts during its Black Lives Matter week was meant to address incidents of bullying, lower graduation rates and higher disciplinary rates of students of color.

The law passed in the legislature largely on a party line vote and was signed by Governor Kim Reynolds Thursday.