The Ames Community School District posted free resource materials for their “Black Lives Matter Week of Action,” which began on Feb 1, 2021.
One of the online resources that drew criticism, including from state lawmakers, related to voter suppressions and asserted as fact that voter ID laws are racist: “from voter ID requirements to gerrymandering and poll closures, we know it must be explored throughout all our classrooms the way that racist political maneuverings work to limit voting rights.” Lawmakers took issue with this assertion; Representative Bobby Kaufman (R-Wilton) characterized it as “an egregious abuse of power” and an “abhorrent use of resources.” He called it “indoctrination” because it was presented as fact, not opinion. A bill in the house at the time that would shorten Iowa’s early and election day voting did subsequently pass and the governor signed it.
The district admitted that their decision to post all their materials in advance of the BLM week of action, whether or not they would be used in classrooms, caused confusion for parents.
In response to the criticism, the district’s equity director said that “every single day, our curriculum favors one style, one nuclear family, one gender.” He added that he believes the curriculum ignores other students. Parents were given the option to opt their children out of the BLM Week of Action lessons and activities.
Ames school leaders defend Black Lives Matter week; one Iowa lawmaker called it an ‘abuse of power’, Ames Tribune, March 9, 2021
Ames school district officials stand behind Black Lives Matter at School Action Week despite criticism, Iowa State Daily, March 11, 2021