Dear Senator Kraayenbrink,
Just checking, were you quoted accurately here? “Not in the Fort Dodge district, but in my Senate district, they’re requiring these schools to put kitty litter boxes in the bathroom,” he said. “The thing is, these things are happening in Iowa on a regular basis and nobody knows about it, because the media doesn’t cover these things.” It seems as though you are claiming that schools in Iowa are “regularly” putting litter boxes out for students. But wait senator, my favorite part of the article is when the media asks you to elaborate on this fantastic accusation you’ve made against public schools and the media. “To follow up with you concerning your question, I had a conversation with a parent in the school district I was alluding to several months ago, which I took as confidential. I have not verified that conversation with school officials. With that being said, I wouldn’t feel comfortable identifying the district.” So, it went from something that happens regularly in public schools across Iowa, to a single parent who told you something several months ago that you aren’t able to verify.
Here’s the thing senator. You’re a liar. In a public setting, in your position as a state senator, you authoritatively stated that schools across Iowa are putting down litter boxes for students to use. You didn’t say that you heard a rumor that it was happening, you said that it was happening on a regular basis and that the media refused to report it. You can’t name the district (or any district) where this happens because it doesn’t happen. You’re a liar. Why lie? Well, you’re trying to get your Iowa House colleagues to act against the will of their constituents to send public dollars to private schools. You believe that by scaring uninformed voters about public schools where kids are using litter boxes that they will support vouchers. You’re also stirring hatred and you know it.
It seems shocking that a state senator would be dumb enough to believe that this kind of thing is true. What is maybe less shocking is that you’re not the first Midwest senator stupid enough to repeat these lies (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/nebraska-lawmaker-apologizes-debunked-litter-box-claim-rcna21951). To the Nebraska guys credit, he apologized for repeating this garbage.
Iowa needs to have real conversations about public education. The problem is that you aren’t interested in real conversations. You want to scare people with lies about what is happening in our public schools. You and the governor want to have meetings behind closed doors where you figure out how to send your constituent’s tax dollars to private schools with no accountability. It has become clear that we aren’t in a place where we can have thoughtful conversations about public education in Iowa. If you’ll lie about something as obviously false as litter boxes in schools, what else will you lie about? It’s obvious that you and the governor will say anything to do the bidding of people like Betsy DeVos and the out of state big money donors who you serve.
Many people prefer that teachers keep their mouths shut when it comes to discussing the politics of education. I refuse. I won’t allow legislators to lie about what is happening in our schools. I’ll tell the truth about the hard work that happens in our public schools. I’ll tell the truth about great young people working to grow each and every day. I’ll tell the truth about my colleagues who take care of every young person who walks through their doors.
Iowa deserves better than your lies senator.
Patrick J. Kearney