The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School



What's your least favorite ISASPs test?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Scores and Schedules

New Law Restricts Identity Expression

Schools must report student identity (name/pronoun) alterations to guardians.
Genevieve McCalla
Ms. Niceswanger keeps a jar of pride flags in her classroom. Other teachers also show support for the QSA with flags, stickers, and posters.


With Senate File 496 newly in place, educators statewide are concerned about the impacts on students. According to, the negative impacts of this bill have already shown through. The law requires teachers to notify administrators (who then must notify guardians) if a student uses a name or pronoun other than the sex assigned at birth. This results as an issue for students who do not feel they can use their preferred identity at home.

AHS QSA (Queer Sexuality Alliance) sponsor and arts educator Elizabeth Herrick-Williams has noticed an impact on the students and her relationships with them during the first weeks of school. She said this has added to “the anxiety that kids already experience in school,” and that the new law is “not something that’s elevating their learning and education.” She said that even though the new restrictions impact student-teacher bonds, “It doesn’t make me care about my kids any less.”

In an article from, Des Moines schools superintendent Dr. Ian Roberts said, “’Senate File 496 certainly has created a level of anxiety amongst a number of educators,’ Roberts said. ‘And primarily, because any violation of this law certainly can have an impact on teachers, on staff, on school leaders and the superintendent if there is any violation of the law.'” The article states how Senate File 496 has left people wondering is [the new law] super necessary?”

Furthermore, Senate File 496 also revoked the education on identity and gender from kindergarten through sixth grade. Herrick-Williams believes that students should be able to have access to information, and that limiting the education harms growth, as well as  “I don’t want to hinder that education any longer.”

As reported by Iowa Public Radio, Governor Kim Reynolds has defended the legislation as giving “individual families more influence over teachers and school boards.” While meeting with Moms for Liberty, a conservative parents’ rights group, Reynolds said, “You’re fighting for the fundamental principle that parents are the primary decision-makers for their children.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Alix Nath, AHS Needle Editor
Alix Nath is a sophomore at AHS and has been in journalism for almost a year. Nath is involved in Jazz Band, Show Choir Band, Band, Speech, and Debate, as well as helping with plays and musicals by working backstage. Their favorite classes are Speech and Debate. They chose to take journalism because they love to write stories and take photos. Nath’s favorite thing to do in journalism is photography. They said, “I like to capture things that you wouldn’t normally see” such as backstage at a concert or a closeup of the director’s face while performing. Journalism has helped them look at things from an outside perspective, as well as encouraged them to meet new people. Nath would describe themself as “more on the reserved side but very strong-willed.” Nath wants people to know that they are not as intimidating as they might appear.    By Emma Rose 
Genevieve McCalla, Senior Magazine Lead Editor
Genevieve McCalla is an AHS senior and a second-year editor for AHS needle. McCalla enjoys doing cross country, tennis, choir, show choir, jazz choir, the play, the musical, speech, debate,  NHS, and first Fridays. First Fridays are when every journalist is pulled into an AO and she talks about recent events and recognizes some individuals. ”I love being able to seek out people’s stories and tell stories our readers can find themselves in, so they know they aren't alone,” she said. McCalla likes journalism since it helps her “Get done what I need to get done.” Within journalism MaCalla likes when a senior story comes together and to show that each person “has a unique story.” After McCalla graduates she plans to go Northwest Missouri state to get a degree in business management and plans to use their CATapult program to get her masters in business in 4 years, eventually becoming a real estate agent. Story by Henry Knudson

Comments (1)

All AHSneedle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Q

    QuinnSep 6, 2023 at 8:01 am

    Amazing article and covered many things that needed to be talked about. Thank you Alix!!!