Last month, it was revealed that more than 300 books had been removed from public school shelves in Florida during the 2022-2023 school year, according to the Florida Department of Education.
These removals were justified by Florida officials and conservative activists, who spread misinformation about teachers and school libraries. They claimed that any books dealing with gender or sexuality were inappropriate or pornographic.
The surge in conservative culture wars and a new set of education laws targeting instruction on gender and sexuality have led to numerous book challenges from parents and residents in Florida.
The list of banned books, which was quietly released late last month, is broken down by county and includes the number of challenges and books that were ultimately removed.
The majority of banned books were in Clay County, where 177 titles were removed. Right-wing activist Bruce Freidman spearheaded the effort to get these books pulled from the shelves.
Martin County, in southeastern Florida, saw the removal of 98 books.
Among the banned books are “This Book Is Gay” by Juno Dawson and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, which have long been targeted by conservative groups.
Surprisingly, the graphic adaptation of “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Folman was also removed from a high school in Indian River County due to a parent’s complaint about its sexual content.
In Wakulla County, the only banned book was “Little Rock Nine” by Marshall Poe, which was deemed inappropriate due to profanity.
Although these parents who challenge books are rare, the challenges keep coming, and Florida shows no signs of slowing down. Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1069 earlier this year, further restricting sexual and health education in schools and expanding book ban policies.
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