In addition to the 17 traits or characteristics in the new bullying bill, the Iowa Legislature this year amended the Iowa Civil Rights Act (Iowa Code chapter 216) to add sexual orientation and gender identity. The section (216.9) addressing education now reads in part as follows:
It is an unfair or discriminatory practice for any educational institution [defined any preschool, elementary, secondary, or community college, area education agency, or postsecondary college or university and their governing boards] to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability in any program or activity. Such discriminatory practices shall include but not be limited to the following practices: employment; participation in academic, extracurricular, research, intramural, and other programs offered by the educational institution. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any bona fide religious institution from imposing qualifications based on religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose or any institution from admitting students of only one sex.
Community colleges, schools, and school districts need to re-visit their nondiscrimination statements and revise them accordingly. Here is a suggested template for use by community colleges and districts:
It is the policy of the [Name of Public Educational Institution] not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or physical or mental disability in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code sections 216.9 and 19B.11, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000d and 2000e), the Equal Pay Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 206, et seq.), Title IX (Educational Amendments, 20 U.S.C.§§ 1681 - 1688), Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.).