An ultra-liberal advocacy group has joined a major publisher and parents to file suit in Florida after the removal of inappropriate sexual material from school curricula and libraries.
The lead plaintiff in the case, PEN America, an advocacy group which claims to be a free speech movement, filed suit against the Escambia County School District (ECSD) “challenging removals and restrictions of books from school libraries that violate their rights to free speech and equal protection under the law,” said the organization’s website.
Joining in the suit as plaintiffs are Penguin Random House Publishing and certain parents of ECSD.
“This is no accident,” the suit alleges, according to NBC News. “The clear agenda behind the campaign to remove the books is to categorically remove all discussion of racial discrimination or LGBTQ issues from public school libraries. Government action may not be premised on such discriminatory motivations.”
The State of Florida has been at the forefront of a movement to remove controversial, non-academic topics from school curricula and libraries such as those that teach Critical Race Theory and promote sexual topics, without any reference to academics.
A veteran teacher with ECSD defended the practice of only allowing age-appropriate materials in schools, saying that after reviewing many books, she found not only overt sexual messaging but actual pornographic pictures.
Distribution of pornographic or obscene material to a child is a felony under Florida law, as it is under U.S. law.
“This is not about banning; this is about making sure that our books, even at the library level, are age-appropriate and content-appropriate. That’s it in a nutshell,” Vicki Baggett, who is a language arts teacher, told the Pensacola News Journal.
As Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has pointed out, none of the books in question are actually banned in Florida, and are available for sale – to adults at normal bookstores or online.
The books have simply been removed from schools because they contain age-inappropriate material.
“In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards,” DeSantis said in a statement debunking the book ban hoax. “Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate.”
As for PEN American, a quick review of its website reveals that while the organization pretends to be free speech advocates, it admits it only upholds free-speech in a “nuanced” way.
“Through original research, campus convenings, and public programs, PEN America has taken the lead on a nuanced defense of free speech on college campuses,” explains the group.
“Nuance” for PEN America means supporting efforts at diversity, equity and inclusion – that is, promoting critical race theory and mainstreaming alternative lifestyles such as transsexualism, through public education.
But it most definitely doesn’t include supporting countervailing opinions by conservatives who believe that K-12 education is for academic subjects, while progressive activism should remain out-of-doors of public schools.