DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Iowa’s largest teachers’ union says the President of the Iowa Senate owes Iowans an apology after accusing Iowa educators of endorsing child sex abuse in his opening day speech at the State Capitol.

On Monday morning, Jake Chapman – a Dallas County Republican – began the session by urging colleagues to take action to address the ‘sinister agenda’ of teachers whom he says are normalizing “incest and pedophilia” via coursework. Chapman didn’t offer any examples of what he calls an “attack on children”. Still, he urged fellow lawmakers to address the so-called “sinister agenda” during the session – without offering any suggestions of how to do so.

The Iowa State Education Association responded to Sen. Chapman’s accusations on Tuesday, calling on him to apologize for his “cheap, angry, and untruthful rhetoric” and to instead focus on helping Iowa teachers better do their jobs. There statement reads in full:

We are outraged by Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman’s claims that the individuals working so hard in Iowa’s public schools have “sinister” motives in their intent to educate students.

We remind Senator Chapman the individuals he is attacking are the same ones who have delivered food, school supplies and electronic devices to families and students shut-in during the pandemic. Educators continue to cover colleagues’ classrooms while Omicron races through their workplaces. They lead and teach in overcrowded classrooms with outdated materials, pay out of their own pockets for Kleenex, food, and classroom supplies for whom it means so much, and continue to fight for safe and healthy school environments because they know their workplace directly affects their students.

In my more than 34 years as a public education employee, I have witnessed countless selfless acts by my colleagues. Not once have I witnessed so-called sinister ones.

Senator Chapman owes all Iowans an apology for his attempt at dividing us with cheap, angry, and untruthful rhetoric. We call on all elected leaders, regardless of party affiliation, to stand in support of the more than 50,000 education professionals working so hard on behalf of Iowa families.

Mike Beranek, President – Iowa State Education Association