Florida’s book battle intensifies as conservatives push for more removals

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 Dec. 9, 2022

The big story: Florida has endured a battle over school library books for the past several months.

It’s showed no sign of cooling off.

To meet new state law on the selection of school materials, the Florida Department of Education convened a working group of parents and school librarians for advice and guidelines. A majority of the parents on the panel have pressed for many books to be removed from schools, claiming they’re inappropriate for children.

They’ve brought that same perspective to the working group, causing a dispute as they attempt to infuse their views across the state. Read more from the News Service of Florida.

Hot topics

Teacher contracts: Hillsborough County teachers took their complaints about their district’s contract offer to a special master for an impasse hearing. District officials also made their case during the hours-long session. • Pasco County teacher contract talks hit a snag when the district offered a $2,000 incentive to keep faculty members from leaving a school that’s about to close. • St. Johns County teachers resumed contract talks after rejecting the first tentative proposal, WJXT reports. • Osceola County teachers expected to resume bargaining on Thursday, but district officials didn’t come to the table, Spectrum 13 reports. • Escambia County teachers settled their contract after five months of talks, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • The Santa Rosa County School Board approved 5.1% raises for teachers, WEAR reports.

Student discipline: Brevard County School Board members held a special meeting to discuss cracking down on student misbehavior, WKMG reports. The session drew support and concerns from the public.

Religion in schools: A Broward County charter school teacher was fired after interrupting two students reciting an Islamic prayer in a school office, WPLG reports. A video of the teacher saying, “I believe in Jesus so I’m interrupting the floor,” went viral on TikTok, leading to the dismissal.

Gender issues: The Palm Beach County School Board approved a new equity statement after it came under fire from the state over its guidelines and policies dealing with LGBTQ students, WPEC reports.

Board politics: A newly elected Broward County School Board member defended her appearance at an anti-LGBTQ rally with Proud Boys members, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

University presidents: Florida Gulf Coast University trustees extended the contract of retiring president Mike Martin through June as they continue their search for a replacement, the News Service of Florida reports. • Florida A&M University president Larry Robinson received a raise and another year on his contract, WTXL reports.

Other school news

Santa Rosa County opened a school for Black students 114 years ago. The city of Milton unveiled a historic marker recognizing the site and its importance to the community this week, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

The number of students being arrested in South Florida schools has declined. District and community leaders are digging into the numbers, WFOR reports.

From the court docket ... A Palm Beach County teacher has sued the district, claiming she was improperly demoted for criticizing Republicans on social media, the Miami New Times reports. • Lawyers for the state have asked a court to allow implementation of a new law restricting the way race is discussed in Florida’s universities, the News Service of Florida reports.

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

Before you go ... Did you go into withdrawal after two days without any World Cup games? Well, they’re back at it today with two quarterfinal games. To get back into the mood, here’s a look at the only hat trick of the event so far.

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