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Challenges to ‘objectionable’ books grow in Florida schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
A Clockwork Orange, The Bluest Eye and The Awakening are three of several books conservative groups have tried to get removed from Florida public schools as containing pornographic material.
A Clockwork Orange, The Bluest Eye and The Awakening are three of several books conservative groups have tried to get removed from Florida public schools as containing pornographic material. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published Apr. 11|Updated Apr. 11

The big story: Parent and community groups continue to question the presence of certain books in their school classrooms and libraries, contending the content is “pornographic” or otherwise “inappropriate.”

The Palm Beach County school district recently pulled two titles from its shelves because of concerns they might violate the state’s new law on instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Osceola County school district removed four books from circulation for review late last week amid parent complaints, and announced it would increase parent input into deciding how much access their children can have in the libraries, WKMG reports.

The Polk County school district is farther along in dealing with a challenge of 16 books that a local group called “objectionable.”

Two committees have been reading through the books, which the district “quarantined” pending closer reviews, And they’ve recommended returning another two of themIt’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Haris and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer — to middle and high school libraries, the Ledger reports.

A national anti-censorship group has been keeping tabs on the rising number of book banning efforts in schools. PEN America leaders issued a new report on the trend, saying the attempts threaten free expression and students’ constitutional rights.

They included Polk County schools prominently in that report, which indicated that Florida had the third most book ban incidents in the nation, WUSF reports. Read more from the Ledger.

Other school news

Anari Dula, 14, researches rent prices of Tampa apartments during a class lesson on real estate framed in the context of the housing market changes led by local realtor Kella McCaskill, at Linabean Academy, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
Anari Dula, 14, researches rent prices of Tampa apartments during a class lesson on real estate framed in the context of the housing market changes led by local realtor Kella McCaskill, at Linabean Academy, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]

Rising housing costs are providing Florida students real-life financial literacy lessons. A Tampa real estate agent visits a private school in a low-income community twice monthly to get students thinking about their financial futures.

The St. Johns County school district has floated several possible maps to reassign students as enrollments grow. It’s now seeking community input on the rezoning proposals, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Alachua County School Board politics are heating up. The woman who Gov. Ron DeSantis removed from the board for not living in her district has filed papers to run against the woman whom DeSantis appointed to fill the vacancy, the Gainesville Sun reports.

High school seniors are getting ready for graduation photos. One Duval County parent wants to know why the packages cost different amounts at different high schools, WJXT reports.

Four Florida universities are looking for new presidents. Some officials said they expect new law shielding applicant information from public view will improve the candidate pool, the Miami Herald reports.

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Twenty-two of 130 Football Bowl Subdivision universities plan to pay student-athletes for good grades. The University of Florida is one of them, Yahoo Sports reports.

Remember the IMG Academy administrator who took college entrance exams for students? Mark Riddell was sentenced to four months in prison and two years of supervision, the Associated Press reports. He also must forfeit about $240,000.

From the police blotter ... A teacher at a Polk County private school was arrested on allegations of sexual misconduct with students, the Ledger reports. • Law enforcement is investigating a violent attack that took place at an Osceola County middle school, WKMG reports.

From the court docket ... A Nassau County family is suing the school district over injuries their child experienced when a computer table fell on him, Florida Politics reports.

Before you go ... For some reason, Monty Python popped up. Hope it makes you laugh.

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