New law allows Florida parents to challenge school library books and reading lists

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Calling this a “really big win for parents in the state of Florida,” Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Friday a measure that gives parents and guardians more freedom to challenge the kinds of books that are in school libraries and on school reading lists.

HB 1467 — officially called the “K-12 Education” measure — has been dubbed by DeSantis the “strongest curriculum transparency legislation in the nation.”

The bill prohibits the use of any instructional materials in classrooms, in school libraries, or on school reading lists that are “pornographic” or “not appropriate to the needs of students and their ability to understand the material presented, or that is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used.”

The measure allows parents to review a school district‘s instructional materials and library books and file objections if they believe the subject matter violates state standards or is inappropriate for students.

“When you’re talking about some of these kids, especially these young kids, having some of these graphic elements in there is not in the best interests of families and students,” DeSantis said Friday at a conference. release at Embry. -Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. “Parents are going to have the opportunity to make their voices heard.”


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks in Daytona Beach


During his Friday speech, DeSantis referenced several books on gender identity and sexual orientation that shouldn’t be allowed in schools.

“Unfortunately, we saw books in some of these libraries,” DeSantis said. “You’re talking about kids in middle school. Some of the stuff that ended up there, incredibly, incredibly disturbing stuff.”

As part of the “K-12 Education” measure, each school board must put in place a system allowing parents or residents to challenge teaching materials.

“The parent or resident must file a petition, on a form provided by the school board, within 30 calendar days of the adoption of the educational materials by the school board,” the bill states.


In addition, any material in a school library or on school reading lists must be reviewed by a school district employee with a valid Educational Media Specialist certification.

“If it’s something that’s going to be used, then it’s something a parent would have a right to understand and know is going on there,” DeSantis said.

The Florida Education Association – the state’s largest teachers’ union – said that in passing the bill, DeSantis and some lawmakers had “prioritized their own political ambitions”, instead of focusing on larger issues. critical like solving teacher and staff shortages in schools across the state. .

“By choosing to focus on the issues that divide us as Floridians rather than those that unite us, he not only sets a bad example for our state’s youth, but also undermines its future by further exacerbating the shortage of teachers and staff,” FEA said. Chairman Andrew Spar in a written statement to WPTV.

The measure is the Florida governor’s latest push to give parents and guardians more control over what their children are exposed to at school.

DeSantis should sign HB 1557/SB 1834 – officially called the Measure “Parental rights in education”, but more commonly known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill – in the law, which bans ‘teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity’ from kindergarten through third grade, or d a “way that is not age or developmentally appropriate for students.”

It is important to note that courses on sexual orientation or gender identity are not currently taught in any kindergarten through third grade classrooms in the state, as they are not part of Florida’s CPALMS educational standards. Department of Education.

RELATED: Truth Test About Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity In Florida Schools

“There is a debate in the country about the role of parents in raising their children,” DeSantis said Friday. “We believe that parents not only have a role, they have a fundamental role to play in the education of their children.”

The K-12 Education Bill also caps the term limit for school board members at 12 consecutive years.

The measure officially comes into force on July 1.

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