Parental rights gives parents new tool to nix school library entirely
The Bible lands on the banned books list — temporarily.

Book in the library
House committee hears how new legislation has given parents new ways to control library materials.

A new tool that allows parents to keep inappropriate books out of their children’s hands has a small segment of parents opting out of their child’s entire school library, according to testimony to a House subcommittee.

All told, though, less than 1% of parents have flexed their new ability to opt out of the books their children are exposed to at school in one district’s pilot effort.

Giving parents more control over their children’s education has been a key focus for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. The House Education Quality Subcommittee got a firsthand look at one district’s tool that is among the first in the state to debut.

Legislation passed last year (HB 1467) calls for all elementary schools to publish on its website in a searchable format all materials maintained in the library or required as part of the school or grade-level reading list.

Polk County Schools Superintendent Frederick Heid walked the committee through an online platform his district started using this school year designed so parents can flag books they find objectionable and keep out of their child’s hands. It has filters that allow parents to search by keyword in a title or a specific author.

“Some of those families opted their children out of the entire media collection.” Heid said. “They literally went in and almost eliminated the entire catalog for those students.”

The number opting out accounts for a tiny percentage of Polk County’s 96,000 public school students. Out of the school population, 165 families used the opt-out system.

Republican Rep. Alex Rizo of Miami-Dade County wanted to know why more weren’t engaging with the platform that Heid said cost the school district about $25,000 to implement.

“Has anyone done this at any of the schools or the district level to see if parents that aren’t opting out actually know that this (tool) exists?” Rizo said.

Heid said there has been a lot of publicity about the new tool on TV, radio and other media outlets. It’s a good question he doesn’t have the answer to, Heid told Rizo.

“We’ll have to reflect on that and figure out how to incorporate that because the last thing we want is an uniformed parent group,” Heid added.

Of those that have opted out of the entire media catalog, his staff reached out to them to make sure they understood the process.

“Two families were adamant,” he said. “They didn’t want them to have access to anything. We are working with those families because obviously literacy is imperative and we want them to have materials so we can work with them.”

The exchange had Democratic Rep. Joe Casello of Palm Beach County incredulous.

“Ban the whole library? Where do you go from there?” he said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


13 comments

  • Elliott Offen

    January 26, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Conservative parents are stupid. Piss and moan about books in the library to score political points..then hand their kids a phone with access to every porn imaginable.

  • Paul Passarelli

    January 26, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    the article states: “… a tiny percentage of Polk County’s 96,000 public school students. Out of the school population, 165 families used the opt-out system.”

    OK, so there are 165 whack-job families out there. Does anyone actually find this surprising? What is likely is that some don’t actually understand the questionnaire, and that the rest are just kray-kray.

    • Joe Corsin AkA Paul Pizza

      January 26, 2023 at 8:48 pm

      Good point. The state scores far right political points based on a few nut jobs. This is why the governor should never be president. He’ll only represent the religious whackos and the rich.

  • Bill Pollard

    January 26, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    As a child I used my school library. My parents only had eighth-grade educations and they wanted me to have better opportunities than they had. If parents prevent their children from reading anything, how can they learn and better themselves?

  • Elliott Offen

    January 27, 2023 at 9:41 am

    Tell them about Ashli Moody’s far right police state Kabuki Theatre with frightening tales of “Fentanyl Halloween Candy.”👻
    Also Ron DeSanctimonious secret election police… missed king hog in Mar-a-Lago. Biggest election criminal in US history.

    • Paul Passarelli

      January 27, 2023 at 12:47 pm

      I’m far less worried about a fraction of 1% of the kids being prohibited from the library by their parents, than I am mortified by the 60% of kids that are being indoctrinated into believing the Democrat Party is their salvation by the Useful Idiots.

      Yes, Elliott ‘Fake-Alias’ Offen that includes you, and Joe ‘Juvenile -Name-Calling’ Corsin too.

      And just out of curiosity is Tjb actually with the skin-heads or is he one of you guys? He posts infrequently and cryptically, so in retrospect it’s difficult for me to tell.

      • Elliott Offen

        January 28, 2023 at 6:53 pm

        RIGHT WING INDOCTRINATION:
        Vote GOP! Be afraid! Be very afraid! Of illegal alien invasion, Fentanyl Halloween candy, people taking your guns, people taking your Bibles, men in women’s clothing chasing around kids, the boogie man in the women’s restroom, Antifa, stolen elections, the satanic left, criminals not behind bars, and on and on and on and on and on and on. I’ll pass. Be very afraid of far right, fear monger propaganda. Keep that away from kids.

        • Paul Passarelli

          January 29, 2023 at 12:29 am

          I’m much more afraid of the Leftists that don’t see any of those things as a problem.
          Perhaps you need to look in the mirror?

      • tjb

        January 29, 2023 at 5:07 pm

        Paul, I have a full head of hair and I am not a Bot.
        Also to address your statement,”’ I’m far less worried about a fraction of 1% of the kids”, it is interesting that you only received a bit more than 1% of the votes when you ran for state office in Connecticut.
        How does it feel to be a part of a 1% Club, like the “wack-job families” as you stated in your comment at 5:49

        • Paul Passarelli

          January 29, 2023 at 11:38 pm

          Hair, huh? You seem to like to focus on inconsequential minutia. Pretty much sums up what your considered opinions are worth too.

          So how many actual people are behind the Fake Aliases of Elliot, Joe, Tjb etc?

  • Lynn Yarbrough

    January 27, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Obviously these parents don’t know history. The people banning books are never the good guys.

    • TJC

      January 28, 2023 at 9:58 am

      Well said, Lynn Yarbrough. And the parents don’t know history because they did not read books when they were young, and now they just listen to nonsense from DeSantis and other power hungry politicians of the far right who care not about history, not about their constituents, but only about themselves. For DeSantis and his cohorts in Tallahassee, a lack of education is the key to their continued success in getting re-elected. “Start’m young and keep’m dumb” is their motto.

      • Paul Passarelli

        January 29, 2023 at 12:10 am

        The dumbing down of America is a Progressive-Socialist accomplishment. I think you are confused. Probably because you were educated in a Progressive-Socialist Government school. Tell me I’m wrong.

Comments are closed.


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