DES MOINES, IA – The Iowa Republican Party has adopted a platform that directly opposes the state’s 2007 anti-bullying statute. It likewise complains about the teaching of homosexual behavior as “a normal or acceptable lifestyle,” and the establishment of Gay- Straight Alliances, or similar clubs, in the Iowa schools. It also suggests that the best way to combat bullying is via direct confrontation.
“We assert that it is the individual school’s responsibility to police these matters, not the state’s,” the state GOP platform reads. “We also assert that students have the right and responsibility to stand up for themselves.”
In 2007, Iowa lawmakers passed an anti-bullying law. The statute, signed by then-Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, includes sexual orientation as one of 17 explicitly protected student traits. During the debate, Republican state senators offered an amendment to exempt religious schools from the law, but it was defeated by a 28 to 22 vote.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is organizing an anti-bullying summit in November. Branstad, a Republican, tried to distance himself from the platform, saying that it was “a statement of the grassroots individuals” that are the party’s “activists.”
The Iowa Democratic platform supports efforts to promote “antibullying legislation.”