Florida lawmakers have introduced a bill that would fine parents and residents for challenging more than five books or instructional materials in a school year.
House Bill 7025, sponsored by Rep. Dana Trabulsy, R-District 84, seeks to limit the number of book or curriculum challenges public schools receive from a single individual by charging a $100 fine for every challenge made beyond five.
“I’m happy that we are digging in and trying to remove reading material that is inappropriate for our children,” Trabulsy said, according to K-12 Dive. “But I think [book challengers] really need to be respectful of the amount of [book challenges] that they are pouring into schools at one time.”
According to the Florida House report, during the 2022-23 school year Florida public schools received 1,218 objections resulting in 386 books being pulled from school libraries, the Dive reports.
Several of the books challenged by parents and community members contained sexually explicit content.
Concerned parents have the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who last year gave a video presentation with excerpts from the objectionable books, leading local media stations to cut their live feeds due to content concerns, proving his point.
“In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards,” the governor said in a statement.
While the new bill received some bipartisan support in a subcommittee last week, some parents are concerned the fee is unfair.
“We are all taxpayers, and we should have the right to challenge those books,” said Julie Gebhards, a Hillsborough County parent, reports Fox 13 News. “I think it’s pretty obvious that when the powers that be know that they’re losing the argument, then they’re just going to try and silence the voices of the opposition. And I see this as being exactly that.”