Florida teachers self-censor school books to deal with new state law

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Schools across Florida have removed several books dealing with concepts such as racial diversity and gender identity as state lawmakers have imposed laws restricting lessons on topics deemed controversial or not age appropriate.
Schools across Florida have removed several books dealing with concepts such as racial diversity and gender identity as state lawmakers have imposed laws restricting lessons on topics deemed controversial or not age appropriate. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published June 9

The big story: The stories of books being challenged and removed from Florida schools have become almost commonplace in recent months.

What’s been less well documented in the behind the scenes decisions that educators and administrators are making about books before they ever go into circulation. New state laws about selecting, reviewing and presenting materials have created an atmosphere that some consider self-censorship, as decisions get made about library collections, book sales and other related activities.

“That’s the state of education,” Marvin Dunn, historian and professor emeritus at Florida International University, told the Miami Herald. “People are frightened. They aren’t sure and are being overly cautious.” Read more from the Herald.

Some Alachua County parents said they fear children’s education will suffer because of book challenges and removals, WUFT reports.

The Biden Administration announced creation of a federal coordinator to counter school book bans, Florida Phoenix reports.

Hot topics

Race relations: The Miami-Dade County school district is investigating a student’s claim that a teacher and assistant principal made racially discriminatory remarks to her, the South Florida Times reports.

School security: The former principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High is part of a national group advocating for more school protection to prevent campus shootings, WPTV reports.

Student transportation: Central Florida school districts have more than 200 bus driver vacancies they need to fill over the summer, WMFE reports.

Superintendent contracts: Newly appointed Manatee County superintendent Jason Wysong has officially signed his contract to take over the job, WWSB reports. • A Collier County judge said he would rule as soon as he can on a complaint seeking to stop the school district from entering a contract with its newly selected superintendent, WCGU reports.

Vouchers: Private religious virtual schools are looking for ways to take advantage of Florida’s new universal voucher program, which currently excludes their participation, reimaginED reports.

Other school news

A longtime Flagler County teacher and administrator was relieved of his post. He had been under investigation of complaints filed by employees, Flagler Live reports.

The Flagler County School Board has called for an audit of the Flagler Youth Orchestra. A School Board member raised concerns that the district had allowed a non-employee access to the orchestra account and had not reviewed it over 18 years, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Santa Fe College is launching a charter high school in the fall. The school, which will focus on health sciences and information technology, has drawn 75 students from across Alachua County, Main Street Daily News reports.

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A viral video of a Palm Beach County school principal has cost him his position. At least one School Board member wants him fired, the Palm Beach Post reports. The video showed him yelling racial slurs at a woman in the school parking lot after a minor traffic crash.

The Mathematical Association of America is slated to hold its annual conference in Tampa. It’s facing objections from LGBTQ+ members, Inside Higher Ed reports.

From the police blotter ... A Broward County teen was arrested on accusations of bringing a gun to school, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

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

Before you go ... Did you know only one instrumental song has ever been banned from radio play in the United States? It’s Link Wray’s “Rumble” from 1958. This year, Link Wray was inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame as an early influencer.

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