Central Florida school libraries to make policy changes for challenged books with new law

ORLANDO, Fla. — Local school districts are having to change what they do when someone challenges a library book because of a state law the governor signed last week.


Orange County, the region’s largest school district, allows books to stay in school libraries after someone challenges it.

However, the new state law means districts must have taken those books off the shelf within five days.

So far, Orange, Brevard, Seminole and Volusia counties will have to make changes to their policies to accommodate the new law, all of which will need to happen ahead of the bill officially becoming law July 1.

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Orange County parent and Freedom to Read project co-founder Jen Cousins said she believes the new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis could lead to a lot less books in school libraries.

“It’s going to clog the systems in all of the schools,” she said. “Now, instead of districts being able to leave books on the shelves while reviews are happening, everyone has to take them away.”

After the Parental Rights in Education bill was signed last year, most Central Florida schools adopted policies that allowed challenged books to stay on shelves as committees reviewed the contents.

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But the bill, signed by DeSantis last week and cosponsored by Randy Fine, changes that.

“It’s got to be done quickly,” Fine said. “We don’t want these processes to become interminable.”

Fine says any books subject to an objection needs to be removed from shelves within five days and until a review is complete.

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“We’re concerned about some of the books,” Fine said. “You see some of the absolutely disgusting books that these woke bureaucrats think should be pushed in our children.”

Under the bill, anyone can object to a book if it depicts pornographic material or sexual conduct.

“It is very vague as well,” Cousins said. “So that can be something as much as a kiss on the cheeks. What were foreseeing happening with this is this is going to lead to a mass filing of challenges of books with LGBTQ characters and themes.”

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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