There is a lot of buzz on the airwaves about a Florida district that has allegedly banned thousands of books, including dictionaries. Media outlets with a left-leaning bias are gushing about this latest case of “book banning” and clutching pearls at what they call Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis is a Hitlerian who wants to limit the information that children receive.
This narrative is not true.
Escambia County school district made headlines for its move to comply with HB1069. The law “expands parent rights in education” by prohibiting the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity to children in grades Pre-K to 8th. This has prompted schools to review their book inventory.
Axios reported that Escambia’s school district “has taken away over 1,600 titles for review, including five dictionaries and eight different encyclopedias.”
CBS News did not want to be left behind and published a story promoting this narrative.
A school district in Florida wants to expand the book ban of the state to include a surprising genre: dictionaries. According to a report obtained by PEN America and published, Escambia County school district included five dictionaries and eight encyclopedias in their list of 1,600+ books that may soon be banned.
The Washington Post was also involved in the controversy.
The World Book Encyclopedia of People and Places and the World Almanac and Book of Facts were also investigated, according to a report published by the district and distributed this week by PEN America. This free speech group has sued the board of education over the removals.
The fact that dictionaries were part of the review process, and the second look was prompted by the “sexual conduct criteria” shows how broad the new state rules are, and how tense the district climate has become. This is according to Kasey Meehan director of PEN America’s Freedom to Read Program.
Meehan stated, “This is just one more example of the high-pressure atmosphere and the chilling atmosphere we are navigating.” “Librarians feel so under pressure to be cautious that they are pulling these types of books for review.
It sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
According to a district administrator, the truth may not be as bad as activists in the media have made us believe.
Keith Leonard, Escambia County Public Schools superintendent, said in a Newsweek statement: “I would like to clarify that we have not banned over 1600 books. The dictionary was not banned either in our district. “Any claims implying otherwise are inaccurate, and should be ignored.”
A district spokesperson told the Pensacola News Journal that the books on the list obtained from the Florida Freedom to Read Project had not been removed or banned, but rather they were pulled to be reviewed to ensure compliance with new legislation.
The district does not ban these books but rather reviews them to make sure they comply with Florida laws. Some of the books will be banned, if they contain sexually offensive material. Progressives fight hard to keep such materials in schools. The dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other books that are considered to be of high quality will likely be cut.
Could one say that reviewing dictionaries or encyclopedias in general is silly? Sure. It sounds as if the district is either trying too hard to hide its mistakes or going overboard to make the law appear foolish. The latter appears to be more likely. The media has jumped all over this story to try and attack DeSantis, Florida’s Republican, for trying to protect young children from inappropriate material being exposed in classrooms. They still ask why America doesn’t trust them.