Discover more from Wonkette
Florida Might Lock Up Teachers Who Expose Students To 'Unvetted' Books, With Woke Words In Them
Florida doesn't feel as 'free' as Ron DeSantis says it is.
Florida continues its Ron DeSantis-led march to fascism.
The Manatee County School District has directed teachers to remove all books from their classroom libraries that haven't yet received the stamp of non-woke approval from a "certified media specialist" (fancy term for a librarian). Kevin Chapman, the district's chief of staff, said Monday that most of these books are probably fine ,but teachers are nonetheless pursuing the better safe than sorry route: many have shut down student access to their classroom libraries altogether, even going so far as to cover up the classroom displays with construction paper. This might seem overly cautious and perhaps even melodramatic, but the teachers aren't simply at risk of losing their jobs if they "expose" students to unapproved books. They can face felony prosecution .
“Photo of a classroom library at Bayshore High School in Manatee County, Florida after they banned all classroom libraries. Florida considers books to be more dangerous to students than assault rifles. This is truly a dystopian state.”
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Alejandra Caraballo) 1674501448
No, seriously: Chapman confirms that Manatee County school principals were told last week that any staff member determined to have provided materials "harmful to minors" could be prosecuted for "a felony of the third degree." I wanted to sue my eighth grade English teacher for assigning David Copperfield , which criminally had nothing to do with the magician, but I never wanted to see her in jail. That's a bit much.
This is how you know you're dealing with a petty despot: Felons can't vote and would struggle to find work elsewhere with that scarlet "G" on their record. This is an overtly oppressive move. (By the way, Florida law makes it extremely hard for people convicted of sexual offenses to vote. Imagine if they claimed a teacher shared "pornographic" material just because a book had gay characters or something. It could get really weird, really fast.)
The policy is in response to HB 1467, the so-called "curriculum transparency" bill Governor DeSantis signed last year. The press release celebrating passage of the law included a quote from Orange County parent Alicia Farrant, who said, "Recently I discovered one of the most disturbing, pornographic books in my child’s high school in Orange County ... After some research, I learned that an alarming percentage of high school and middle school library books contain similar material. It is appalling that removal of pornographic and sexually explicit books has even been cause for debate."
What's appalling is that she doesn't bother identifying these supposed "pornographic books." Conservative parents have freaked out over Toni Morrison's Beloved . A whopping 176 books were banned in Duval County, and the list ranges from Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal, to U nstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army by Art Coulson and Nick Hardcastle.
Manatee County now has a 21-point list of procedures to ensure that classroom libraries are both porn-free and woke-free. This isn't fun and games for the librarians, either, because any "errors" during their vetting process could prove professionally and personally catastrophic.
Judd Legum at Popular Information writes that "one Manatee teacher reported being forced to take Sneezy the Snowman and Dragons Love Tacos off the shelves pending review. Other teachers, fearing criminal liability, are telling students not to bring in 'unvetted' books from home." One teacher posted on social media: "My kids classroom libraries are all packed up, and my kids aren't allowed to bring their own books or read from e-reader apps."
One high school teacher in Manatee County told Popular Information that they would not comply with the new policy. The teacher has spent the year carefully curating books donated by parents or sourced from their personal collection. "I'm not taking any books out of my room," the teacher said. "I absolutely refuse." The teacher spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing that speaking out about the policy could put their job at risk.
And it's more than this teacher's job that's at risk in Ron DeSantis's Brave New World, which is yet another book currently banned in Florida schools.
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter if it still exists.
Subscribe to the Wonkette YouTube Channel for nifty video content!
Look at our pretty photos on Instagram!
Yr Wonkette is 100 percent ad-free! Please subscribe, donate, and otherwise help keep us alive and kicking!