Florida students seek voice in school book challenges

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
School librarians and teachers across Florida are pulling books from shelves, often without input from the students whom they are supposed to be protecting from content some deem inappropriate.
School librarians and teachers across Florida are pulling books from shelves, often without input from the students whom they are supposed to be protecting from content some deem inappropriate. [ DREAMSTIME | Dreamstime/TNS ]
Published Feb. 3|Updated Feb. 3

The big story: Book challenges remain a major issue for Florida schools.

Some adults want to see books removed because of content they consider objectionable, often dealing with sex. They use the word “pornographic” to label their complaints. Some other adults argue that if a parent doesn’t want their child to read a book, that’s fine, but they shouldn’t decide for everyone’s children.

What about the students?

Some Pinellas County students are voicing their displeasure with the decisions being made about their education without their input. They plan a protest over the ban of “The Bluest Eye” from their curriculum, and they’re calling on the adults to reconsider — in a public way where student voices are heard and taken into consideration. Read more here.

In Flagler County, advisory committees from two high schools unanimously agreed to keep the novel “The Truth About Alice” in school libraries, rejecting complaints that the book contains “pornography,” Flagler Live reports.

Hot topics

African American studies: The College Board is getting criticism over its recently released revision of its new AP African American studies course, with some alleging it bent to the complaints of Gov. Ron DeSantis, WFSU reports.

Lockdowns: Some students fled in panic as their Manatee County high school had two lockdowns in two days, in addition to threats that turned out to be false alarms, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Public comment: Having faced some angry rhetoric and high tension, the Palm Beach County School Board is proposing restrictions on members of the public who speak at its meetings, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Student data: The FHSAA is considering whether to require female student-athletes to answer questions about their menstrual history on annual participation forms. The questions have been optional to this point, the Miami Herald reports.

Superintendents: Ousted Broward County superintendent Vickie Cartwright could be gone as early as next week with a $365,000 payout, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Brevard County School Board is asking for public input as it launches its superintendent search, Florida Today reports.

Vouchers: Some critics of HB 1 to create universal education savings accounts continue to raise questions about the price tag of the measure, WUSF reports. • Broward County’s Democratic state lawmakers said they will fight to change HB 1 but had little hope of success, Florida Politics reports.

Other school news

Anything to help kids learn to read. Polk County superintendent Frederick Heid is recording videos of himself reading children’s books to promote literacy in the district, Lakeland Now reports.

The contest for students to propose laws continues. A Broward County lawmaker has filed a bill recommended by McArthur High students to have schools place posters in their cafeterias with instructions about how to save someone who is choking, Florida Politics reports.

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A Lake County elementary school will close this summer. The district plans to convert it into a high school with a flexible schedule, WFTV reports.

The Santa Rosa County school district provide free meals to students in after-school programs. Officials said the need is rising as families struggle with inflation, WEAR reports.

Bay County’s Oscar Patterson Academy reopened this year after having been closed since 2018. Enrollment is exceeding expectations, WJHG reports.

Ben Sasse arrives as the University of Florida president Monday. Students plan to protest, the Gainesville Sun reports.

From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County elementary school teacher was arrested on accusations of using his position of authority to have sex with a student, the Miami Herald reports.

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

Before you go ... It’s mashup time! Ready for the Maverick and ... Santa Claus?

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