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Book challenges mount in Florida schools, including the Bible

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
The Bible is among the growing list of books being challenged for appropriateness in Florida schools.
The Bible is among the growing list of books being challenged for appropriateness in Florida schools. [ ASSOCIATED PRESS | AP ]
Published Apr. 26|Updated Apr. 26

The big story: It’s school book challenges.

Tiny Walton County in the Panhandle has come under national scrutiny for its decision to remove two dozen books from its schools.

It acted upon the recommendation of the conservative Florida Citizens Alliance, a Naples-based group that has been working for years to get what it considers pornography out of the reach of children.

Superintendent Russell Hughes told the Northwest Florida Daily News that he hadn’t read a single paragraph of any of the books before pulling them from circulation. He now has asked a team of district staff to review the materials and determine if they’re appropriate.

Walton County isn’t the only one dealing with book complaints. The Polk County district is working its way through nearly two dozen questioned titles, with review committees recommending keeping another two of them, the Ledger reports.

Meanwhile, a statewide challenge has arisen to one of the world’s best selling books.

A Broward County man who said he’s an atheist has called on 14 Florida school districts to remove the Christian Bible from their shelves, the Miami New Times reports. Chaz Stevens, who refers to himself as a political stunt activist, contends the book includes many inappropriate topics, including bestiality, adultery and rape.

He said he intends to expand his complaint to the rest of Florida’s school districts in the coming weeks.

Hot topics

Math textbooks: A Tampa-based publisher whose three textbooks were turned down by the state expressed frustration over the way the Department of Education delivered the information, WFTS reports. • Bay County school district officials said they won’t adopt any of the books on the state’s rejection list, WJHG reports.

Vaccinations: Collier County health and school officials said they lack adequate vaccination information about children who stayed home for kindergarten and enrolled in first grade, WINK reports.

Federal pandemic relief: Brevard County school district leaders said they are trying to determine the impact of the state’s request that unspent stimulus funds be returned, Florida Today reports.

High school graduations: Alachua County high schools are gearing up for their first graduation ceremonies without pandemic restrictions since 2019, the Gainesville Sun reports.

University president searches: University of North Florida trustees have narrowed the field of candidates to lead the school to four finalists, WJXT reports.

Other school news

The FHSAA recently approved a new way to organize high school football teams for competition. A member of the group’s board wants to delay implementation of the new approach, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Let the music play. Citrus High School became the first Citrus County school ever to win straight superior ratings at the state concert music performance assessments, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

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‘We’re blindsided.’ Parents are scrambling for choices after a Palm Beach County private Christian school announced it will close down, WPTV reports.

They’re going green. Seven North Florida schools partnered with Beaches Go Green to reduce student dependence on single-use plastic bottles, WJXT reports.

From the court docket ... Jury selection in the sentencing of the Parkland school shooter case will restart after prosecutors argued the judge made an error in questioning of the initial panel, the Associated Press reports.

Don’t miss a story: Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... A national education advocate shared this Comedy Central clip with an interesting thought. Maybe it will make you laugh. Maybe not.

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