- Florida public school districts have removed over 100 books for containing content that is pornographic, violent or not age-appropriate, the Daily Caller News Foundation learned.
- The books included “This Book is Gay,” “Gender Queer,” “Let’s Talk About It” and “It’s Perfectly Normal,” all of which include graphic references to sex.
- Florida law requires librarians and media specialists to undergo training before selecting material that is age-appropriate, and it has a law prohibiting the distribution of pornographic material to minors.
Florida schools have removed more than 100 books that contain pornographic material during the 2022-2023 academic year in order to comply with state law, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
A survey of local school districts found that 153 of 175 books were removed the the district for including pornographic, violent or age-inappropriate content, according to a document obtained by the DCNF. The removed books included “This Book is Gay,” “Gender Queer,” “Let’s Talk About It” and “It’s Perfectly Normal,” all of which contain sexually explicit depictions according to snippets shared by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.
“This Book Is Gay” is described as an informational book about growing up in the LGBTQ+ community and includes a section about the “ins and outs of gay sex,” according to Sourcebooks. Taryn Feske, DeSantis’ communication director, shared a page from the book that defines sex terminology including “rimming,” “scat,” “scissor sisters” and “strap-on.”
Found in a Florida school:
“This Book is Gay”
Recommended age: tweens & teens.
Includes a glossary: pic.twitter.com/JVzZOl9Alr
— Taryn Fenske (@tarynfenske) February 15, 2023
Feske also shared pages from “Gender Queer,” an autobiography from author Maia Kobabe who uses e/em/eir pronouns, that depict two characters attempting oral sex by using a strap-on. The book also depicts the characters sexting, masturbating and tasting themselves.
“Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears,” the book description reads.
Found in multiple Florida schools:
Book description: “an intensely cathartic autobiography following a journey of the mortification & confusion of crushes, bonding w/ friends over erotic gay fanfiction, & facing the trauma & fundamental violation of pap smears.” pic.twitter.com/zEvnLTT6kG
— Taryn Fenske (@tarynfenske) February 14, 2023
“Let’s Talk About It” includes an image of two people engaging in anal sex and a diagram of an anus, according to pages of the book shared to Twitter.
“When it comes to reproducing, the penis and the vagina can fit together to form the ultimate baby-making machine. Let’s take a peek right now and see how —” the book reads.
It also explains that “your genitals exist to let you feel pleasure with yourself or others (no matter which genitals they may have)” and promotes hookup culture.
“Sexual intimacy is a powerful way to feel good and bond with another person, whether it’s for a night or a lifetime,” the book reportedly reads.
Found in a Florida School:
"Let's Talk About It"
From the book's own description: "Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, sexting, jealousy, rejection, sex education… the first in graphic novel form." pic.twitter.com/aBTBieqHUj
— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) February 14, 2023
“It’s Perfectly Normal,” advertised for children ages 10 and older, includes sections on masturbation, heterosexual and gay sex and all gender restrooms.
Found in a Florida school:
“It’s Perfectly Normal.”
The cover says that this book is appropriate for 10-year-old children. pic.twitter.com/BbyrTU8fZW
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) February 14, 2023
Only 23 districts out of 56 reported to remove books from the schools and a majority of books were removed from the schools’ media center and not classrooms. The number of books removed for having inappropriate content may be higher because 13% of reports did not include a specific reason for removal.
DeSantis signed legislation in March 2022 that requires school districts to be “transparent” about the material being taught in public schools. House Bill 1467 required those involved in selecting school library books to undergo training prepared by the state Department of Education beginning in January 2023 before selecting age-appropriate materials.
Florida law also prohibits distributing pornographic materials to minors under section 847.012, which reads that a person cannot distribute on school property “any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, videocassette, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body which depicts nudity or sexual conduct” to minors.
Videos circulating on social media appeared to show empty book shelves at a Duval County public school, according to First Coast News. DeSantis challenged this video on Tuesday and said it was a “fake narrative.”
“That was not true,” DeSantis reportedly said, according to First Coast News. “This is trying to create some narrative as if that they hadn’t even put the books out yet to begin with. So there’s no need for all of that stuff. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to act like somehow, you know, we don’t want books.”
Eighty-four percent of books removed from Duval County schools contained pornographic, violent or inappropriate content, according to data provided to the DCNF.
Tracy Pierce, Duval County Public Schools chief of marketing and public relations, confirmed to the DCNF the video was fake.
“Yes, this video is an outstanding example of deceptive and false narrative,” Pierce said. “The videographer took great care only to show a portion of the media center where books were removed. At that time, an extensive array of non-fiction books, biographies and reference materials remained in stock and accessible. In fact, well over half of the books in the library were still available to students.”
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