Steve Peterson

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Senate File 496: An educator's dilemma

Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash

Steve Peterson has been an educator for more than 20 years and currently teaches fifth grade at Decorah Middle School. He is a master teacher and the president of the Decorah Education Association. 

On December 29, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher blocked the state of Iowa from enforcing two parts of the wide-ranging education law Senate File 496: the ban on books depicting a sex act at all grade levels, and the prohibition on promotion or instruction relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The court’s preliminary injunction is good for the students I teach and for my colleagues in classrooms around the state. But the hold also comes at a great time for me, personally—because I was just about to report to the Iowa Department of Education that I may have broken the law.

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