New Florida bill limits book objections in school libraries

Folks without children are limited to one book challenge per month, the new law declares. Parents—including those who home-school children—are allowed unlimited objections.

In an effort to restrict activists from trying to “politicize and disrupt a district’s book review process,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill into law on Tuesday that limits the ability of those without children in a particular school district to challenge books in school libraries.

“Florida is the number one state in the country for education,” DeSantis said in a statement. “By focusing on core academic subjects and rejecting indoctrination in the classroom, we have become a standard-bearer for educational excellence.”

According to the newly enacted HB 1285, residents without children in a school district are allowed only one book objection per month. Parents—including those who home-school their children—are still allowed unlimited objections.

“HB 1285 puts students and their families first,” Florida Rep. Jennifer Canady said in a statement.

The new law is a revised version of a problematic 2022 law that allowed anyone to challenge books available to students. For instance, The Hill reported that Florida Democrats were leveraging the law in an attempt to ban DeSantis’ memoir, The Courage To Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.

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The new bill does more than restrict folks’ ability to challenge books, though. It also simplifies the process of labeling schools as “turnaround schools;” expands support for military families through the Purple Star Schools of Distinction Program; and establishes specialized teaching certificates for classical school teachers, among other additions.

“Florida strives to provide students and families with the highest quality standards and most innovative pathways to academic success,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. said in a statement. “The teaching certificate in classical education bolsters our efforts to increase the teacher pipeline. This is one more reason why Florida is known as the ‘Education State.'”

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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