The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

DeSantis laws ban books from Florida schools

In 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a Republican majority legislature passed H.B. 1467, known as the curriculum transparency bill, giving parents a process by which they can object to school books, increasingly removing books from shelves across Florida schools.

Poets, Essayists and Novelists (PEN) America documents that beginning in the 2022 school year, 566 books were banned from schools and libraries across 21 districts in the state. During the 2022-2023 year, 357 books were banned across 13 districts. 

Proponents of the restrictions say their aims are to protect students from inappropriate materials and to give parents more control over their children’s education. 

“Pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards,” DeSantis said. “Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate.”

The student body at Krop is seeing the effects of book removals. English Department Head Margarita Perez said “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini was removed from the 12th grade summer reading list because of its sexual content and how it addresses harassment. 

“I can understand the state government’s process in removing these books from the school curriculum,” Perez said. “I don’t feel that I was trained to teach about sexual topics in my classroom. If a student had such questions, I would be happy to send them to the TRUST Specialist to address any concerns. I just don’t believe it has a place in a learning environment.”

Over the past year, books touching on race, gender or sexual orientation have become increasingly politicized

The National Public Radio documents the list of rejected materials including books on U.S. history, the Holocaust, psychology and more. In one case, references to the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement were removed. In another, a question mentioning “social justice issues” in the Hebrew Bible was changed to refer to “key principles” in the religious text. Definitions of socialism and communism were also altered. 

Officials stated that the books did not match state standards, but it is unclear why they were not approved.

Other book removals include “And Tango Makes Three,” a picture book about two male penguins raising a chick, “Stella Brings the Family,” a picture book about a girl with two gay fathers and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a series of journals about the hardships of a young gay man growing up in Plainfield, New Jersey. 

“When I read romance books, I like to look for relatable relationships because most books depict straight couples,” Gay Straight Alliance President, junior Konstantina Papadaki said. “It’s difficult for me to understand why I wouldn’t be able to visit the library and read a story that feels right to me. I wish we could live in a world where all kinds of love is celebrated instead of criticized.” 

Ultimately, it is up to local elected officials to decide what books should be accessed in Florida public schools. This is the concept of representative government.

“Books are still available in public libraries and through booksellers outside of the classroom environment,” Justice, the co-founder of Moms for Liberty in Florida said. “The only question is whether it would be appropriate for taxpayer-funded schools to provide them to children.”

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