We want our citizens to know that we have not backed down nor forgotten about the obscene library books that were challenged in Polk County, Florida. It has been a long and daunting task that began over a year ago when books were read by local citizens and CCDF-Polk volunteers and staff. After reviewing the shocking and statute-violating content found in these books, CCDF-Polk began the process of challenging these books, which started with the removal of all books from all schools and ended with a school district appointed book review committee. After the book review committee made their suggestion on which books to keep in specific age groups, the superintendent, Fredrick Heid, recommended the books go through an opt-in process where parents would have to give their consent before their children would have access to the challenged books. The school board members undermined the superintendent’s recommendation and announced they would put all the books back on the shelf with parents having to go through the process of opting their children out of the books. They created a process for parents to opt their children out, giving them only a short window of time to do this. CCDF-Polk received numerous emails from parents stating that the online process wasn’t working for them.
Here are some steps that the CCDF-Polk team, as well as the CCDF-Florida team, have taken since the latest update. First, our team reviewed current statutes around obscene materials in public schools and have been working alongside state legislators to revise and/or amend those laws for upcoming legislation in 2023. Second, our team learned that once a book review committee has made a recommendation, an appeal on that recommendation can be made, and the school board has 5 days to respond. We are currently on day 30+. Our legal team continues to monitor this situation closely, and we want to make it clear that we will not stop fighting this issue. We have the full-time efforts, legal teams, and state relationships necessary to do so. We are confident that these books will eventually get removed from schools permanently, and we believe it will set a new standard for what is expected within our public schools moving forward.
While we’re discussing the continual fight against school boards and the over sexualization we are seeing every day, take a look at this write up, which explains very clearly what we believe the core issue really is.