DeSantis Refutes ‘Phony’ Book Ban Narrative, Urges Crackdown on Activist Misuse

Governor Ron DeSantis is setting the record straight on “phony” book ban narratives and cracking down on activists’ “frivolous” abuse of the state’s school book approval process. At a press conference Thursday, the Governor once again touted his state’s laws prohibiting sexually explicit material in classrooms but said the current system was under threat from bad actors looking to score political points. In his remarks, DeSantis urged the state legislature to take action and stop the abuse.

“Over the past year, parents have used their rights to object to pornographic and sexually explicit material they found in school libraries,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We also know that some people have abused this process in an effort to score cheap political points. Today, I am calling on the legislature to make necessary adjustments so that we can prevent abuses in the objection process and ensure that districts aren’t overwhelmed by frivolous challenges.”

At a press conference in Orlando, the Governor decried the “phony narratives” pushed by the media and left-wing activists concerning Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill. While the law seeks to keep sexually explicit and age-inappropriate material out of classrooms, DeSantis said that “bad actors” have tried to politicize the book approval process.

“Parents in Florida have a right to send their kids to school knowing that they’re going to be educated but not indoctrinated. And so we’ve provided some very robust protections for the rights of parents to direct the education classrooms … [but] you’ve seen people challenge the Bible. You’ve seen people challenge dictionaries. And oh my gosh, in Florida, you had a teacher, I think in the Bradenton area, that put paper over all the books,”

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The Governor also cited examples of activists trying to ban ‘The Giver’ and multiple ‘Johnny Appleseed’ books.

“Hijacking this process is not something that we want to encourage in any way,” DeSantis said, adding that he would direct the Department of Education to “take appropriate action to deal with some of the bad actors who are intentionally depriving students of rightful education by politicizing this process.”

DeSantis outlined some issues, including individuals without children in the school system attending board meetings and objecting to “one hundred books.” DeSantis urged the legislature to crack down on politicized book challenges, suggesting that those individuals face fines after “one or two” frivolous objections.

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The press conference also showcased some of the explicit material that has been removed from Florida schools, including several books that contained “nudity, graphic discussion of sexual activity, and encouraging minors to sign up for gay sex apps.”

Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said during the press conference, “We’re here to set the record straight, and we’ll set the record straight for as long as it takes,”

“As the Education State, our focus is on academic excellence, not indoctrination,” Diaz Jr. said in a statement.  “I am proud to stand with Governor DeSantis to ensure that Florida’s academic landscape remains rigorous and comprehensive and provides students with age-appropriate materials to help them achieve the highest academic success.”

Other stories you may want to read:

Michael Barone: America’s Dysfunctional Overclass

John R. Smith: PBC Officials Should Stop Being Tyrants & Learn Federalism

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