FL’s prolific book challengers explain why they’re doing it

FL’s prolific book challengers explain why they’re doing it

TAMPA, Fla. — From a pandemic to politics, mask mandates to the critically dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, this school year in Florida, the rights of students and what happens in their classrooms became battles for the history books.

Books were fuel for some of the most intense fights in those battles.

Data we gathered from dozens more districts that responded to our requests showed that Florida school districts received an average of 300 formal libraries. bookThese were some of the challenges that faced us during our last school year.

Many of the challenges accused the books of being too explicit for students. One of the challenges stated that the complainant had made the following statement: bookPromoting the inclusion of LGBTQ issues in fifth grade homeroom classrooms is encouraged. “religious level social justice propaganda.”

Another example is the bookThese were intended to “ultimately push homosexuality,”Dale Galiano described her January challenge to the St. Lucie County schools district.

“I don’t think that an 8-year-old needs to know about sodomy, rape and incest,” Galiano said.

The 17 bookGaliano was behind every challenge submitted to St. Lucie County Schools last year, according to records.

“I’m a widow,”According to the 69 year-old retired woman. “Why I care is because these kids are my future and it’s the future of this country.”

Galiano admitted she had not read every page of the 17 books she challenged.

“I’ve read them in partial,”She added that she had reviewed the challenging books with three friends.

While it’s been widely reported parents, many from the conservative group Moms for Liberty, made dozens of formal challenges to districts, Galiano is among some of the prolific challengersWho complained about books being available at school but had no children enrolled in it?

“I feel that the Lord needs to have his children taken care of,” Gailiano said. “I got picked because I took it seriously.”

According to Galiano, she also ‘got picked’ after attending a meeting hosted by the Florida Citizens’ Alliance, a conservative non-profit that believes America’s public education system is failing.

On its website, the group claims Florida children “are being indoctrinated in a school system that undermines their individual rights and destroys the nation’s founding principles and family values.”

Keith Flaugh was a co-founder. He and his wife had no children.

Flaugh, who admits he hasn’t read all the books his group has challenged, said he started questioning the age appropriateness of some novels available at school four years ago. He is described by the U.S. Army Veteran, who spent nearly 30 years at IBM in marketing and finance.

Flaugh responded that he does not have any special expertise to help students choose books from school libraries. “I view myself as a constitutional person.”

His group was another. prolific book challenger in Florida. Records show Florida Citizens’ Alliance has filed formal complaints in, at least, a dozen districts throughout the state, including all 16 challenges submitted to the Polk County School District earlier this year. A template form was used by the group, which members also submitted to other counties.

“We’re accused of wanting to ban books,” Flaugh said. “My typical response to that is we’re not about banning anything, we’re about providing a safe environment for our kids.”

Despite all school book challenges this year, just a fraction resulted in districts permanently removing books from school libraries.

Still, challengers had an impact as more school districts are now adjusting library policies to give parents control over what their kids can and can’t check out.

In Indian River County, which received the most book challenges of any Florida district, school leaders let parents choose the level of books their children could access. However, according to a district spokesperson, few parents took advantage of the option.

Other districts have apps which let parents see what their child checks out from the school library while some districts including the Sarasota, Polk and Orange County school districts are revising their library polices for students this summer.

As for the challengers we spoke with, they don’t have any plans to back down.

“We believe that we’re waking up parents and giving them some tools to get a better education for their children,”Flaugh stated.

“I’m here, I’m staying,” Galiano said.

A new Florida law will take effect in July. itIt’s easier to challenge books at school. Critics are concerned that the law could lead to more challenges next school year or cause districts to refuse to make some books accessible to students.

Joseph Hubbard

Joseph Hubbard is a seasoned journalist passionate about uncovering stories and reporting on events that shape our world. With a strong background in journalism, he has dedicated his career to providing accurate, unbiased, and insightful news coverage to the public.

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