Many reports reveal that Florida teachers have begun to remove books within their classrooms and libraries in response to the book ban imposed by DeSantis.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2023
By Vaneti Ceus
Miami — In Florida, a ban imposed by Governor Ron DeSantis has left teachers with little choice but to remove books that are not on the state-approved reading list. Failure to comply could result in felony charges or the loss of their professional licenses.
The book bans are a result of Florida’s laws regulating lessons on gender and sexuality, race, and racism. All books will be required to undergo a review process by certified media specialists before being deemed appropriate for classroom instruction. As a result of the new restrictions, many teachers have been forced to remove all non-sanctioned books from their classrooms. Additionally, a failure to comply with Desantis’ new regulations could mean a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
According to a December report by PEN America, 176 books featuring diverse characters were banned in Duval County. The banned books were part of the Essential Voices Classroom Libraries Collection bought by the district in 2021. This incident has sparked widespread attention, fueled by a viral video showing an elementary school's library with several empty bookshelves. And last month, a book on the late Afro-Puerto Rican baseball legend, Roberto Clemente, was removed from Florida’s Duval County before being reinstated. Many people are questioning what books should be deemed "inappropriate" for children, leading to an ongoing debate on the legality of book bans.
Co-Deputy Director of Media Relations at Teens for Press Freedom, Luci Garza, added, “Whether it be Florida, Texas, or Tennessee, the banning of books highlights the impact on teachers and students, and the potential consequences of non-compliance. Students across the country feel the shockwave that comes from these actions, which should be treated with constructive dialogue and advocating for policies that protect academic freedom and diverse perspectives in education.”