Teachers and School Administrators are no longer allowed to use, recommend, or have in the school’s possession any books or printed material not first screened and approved by a ‘media specialist’ per a broader education bill (HB 1467) which requires school librarians, media specialists and others involved in the selection of school library materials to receive special training to weed out any books that may contain anything “inappropriate” or that is not free of “unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.”
Will Burning Books be Next?
In the last few years, Christian groups have declared war on both school and public libraries, challenging content they view as objectionable or unfit for public consumption. Some have even proposed burning the offending books.
Last year, concerned parents began taking school libraries to task, with many successfully removing books they deemed objectionable and unsuitable for children's eyes from their school district’s library. In a scene straight out of Fahrenheit 451, some even went as far as burning the offending books.
The books in question mostly are a hodgepodge selection of books with LGBTQ themes or characters, books focused on social justice, and even children’s picture books that show cartoon nudity. The Florida bill now makes exposing children to any such material a felony in the Sunshine State.
An Attempt to Erase LGBTQ Persons and Black History?
Supporters of the controversial new law say this is just the latest front in a war to protect the purity of children. However, experts agree the new law is just the latest volley in DeSantis’ war to censor LGBT content out of existence, to please his Conservative Right Christian Base as he prepares to launch a bid for the White House.
School Districts Scramble to Comply.
One County already advised educators they might want to consider covering up their shelves until every single book can be properly vetted, and some teachers have even banned students from bringing books from home.
One Education Association President said that it’s an unnerving time to be an educator in Florida: "It's a scary thing to have elementary teachers have to worry about being charged with a third-degree felony because of trying to help students develop a love of reading."