March 26, 2023

Florida School Teachers Being Told to “Cover or Store” Books or Face Felony Charges

Duval County, FL academics say district officers instructed them to “cover or store” classroom libraries.

College students within the district arrived at colleges to discover bookshelves wrapped up or books gone, the identical books which were used to complement their college students’ studying for years.

WJCT Information obtained a video that appears to be an inside coaching video despatched by district chief educational officer, Paula Renfro, telling academics to pull the books from their lecture rooms quickly. The outlet later confirmed from Duval Faculties that the video was despatched to principals to share with workers members.

“Books not on the district-approved list or not approved by certificated media specialists need to be covered or stored and paused for student use,” Renfro says within the video, including that the district is attempting to adjust to new Florida legal guidelines limiting schoolbooks.

Home Invoice 1467 handed in July and mandates that colleges’ books be age-appropriate, free from pornography, and “suited to student needs.” A certified college media specialist should approve books.

“They can be charged with a third-degree felony,” mentioned Patricia Barber, the president of the county’s academics union. “They’ve criminalized providing a book, when there really is just a vague definition of what books are not appropriate.”

The Training Division revealed the coaching video in January, which triggered college librarians throughout Florida to be unable to order books for greater than a yr.

On Monday, the district introduced the beginning of a proper evaluation of classroom libraries in response to the brand new state regulation that now makes it simpler for folks to contest books.

The regulation additionally consists of tips for elementary college libraries, which require them to publish a searchable record of all books “maintained in the school library or required as part of a school or grade-level reading list.”

The district additionally says due to the brand new state legal guidelines, books that depict pornography, instruction on sexual orientation and gender id in grades Ok-3, or books that say a person is “inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” will probably be prohibited.

“We’re looking at giving teachers duty-free time to assist in reviews and reemploying retired media specialists, who still have an active certificate to increase our capacity to conduct reviews,” Renfro added within the video.