No ‘hoax’: Florida NOW rips Ron DeSantis for ‘classroom censorship’

desantis-book-ban-hoax-press-conference-tampa (Large)
Book ban back and forth continues between the Governor and his critics.

The President of the state chapter of the National Organization for Women is taking issue with purported “classroom censorship” at the hands of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“At Florida N.O.W., we value diversity and freedom of thought. Interacting with members from different backgrounds broadens our perspective and allows us to effectively advocate for you. For those reasons, we condemn DeSantis’s continued attack on classroom censorship. We’re aware that the Florida Board of Education requested all K-12 public schools to identify books in their libraries relating to sex education, social-emotive learning, and diversity,” asserted Debbie Deland Saturday.

Florida’s Department of Education, for its part, asserts that DeSantis has “debunked” the book ban “hoax.” But DeLand isn’t buying it.

“This aggressive request identifies books to ban in upcoming legislation that will censor our education even more. Censoring our classrooms prevents teachers from adequately doing their jobs and stunts the growth of our children. DeSantis’ attack on our classrooms is an attack on our children, and we will not stand for it,” DeLand contends.

“We denounce and loudly condemn any attempt to censor our classrooms. Despite DeSantis’ aggressive book-banning witch hunt, we will continue to fight for everyone’s right to equitable and diverse education–especially our children’s.”

DeSantis held a press conference in recent days, where his aides showed a six-minute video spotlighting “myth” and “fact” on the subject. At that event, he took issue with contentions from the left that his administration is causing books to be purged from Florida classrooms due to potentially objectionable subject matter.

“They can’t defend their positions on the merits. That’s why you have this situation,” DeSantis said in Tampa. “It’s a false narrative in service of trying to use the schools for an inappropriate purpose.”

The DeSantis event spotlighted examples of texts that don’t fit the educational mission of Florida classrooms, in his administration’s view, including including “Flamer” by Mike Curato; “Let’s Talk About It” by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan; and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.

“The Florida Department of Education does not ban any books. That’s a lie. It’s never been true,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said at that event. “The Florida Department of Education has never instructed any district or school to empty or cover bookshelves.”

The Governor and his political allies have struggled with the optics of explaining empty book shelves in school libraries, particularly in Duval County, where a shot of a library largely divested of books went viral. Superintendent Diana Greene decried the “misinformation” weeks after the pictures earned global media coverage.

For its part, the Governor’s Office says that a small number of books were removed for violating standards as part of a larger “stand against pornography and sexual material in the classroom.”

“Of the 23 districts that reported removing materials, the most removed were tied at 19 in Duval and St. Johns Counties — not even close to a whole classroom library. Of the 175 books removed across the state, 164 (94%) were removed from media centers, and 153 (87%) were identified as pornographic, violent, or inappropriate for their grade level.”

PEN America, meanwhile, reports that 566 book bans are in effect in Florida schools, which is the second highest total of any state in the country. Laws “enabling tighter scrutiny and outside monitoring of curricular and book choices in classrooms, coupled with a new prohibition on instruction on certain topics, (have) done what was intended … created a chilling effect on teaching and learning.”

Gray Rohrer contributed reporting.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Paul Passarelli

    March 11, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    Liberals will never be deterred by the facts.

    • Subvana

      March 11, 2023 at 9:15 pm

      And conservatives will never be deterred by their lies…

      • Paul Passarelli

        March 13, 2023 at 8:27 am

        That’s funny. Wasn’t it “Unca Al” Gore that put out a book called “An Inconvenient Truth”? And hasn’t everything he wrote about turned out to be (cough) false?

        It’d be considered unremarkable if there was one or two errors in the book, but the whole book turned out to be (predictably) crap. That’s an accomplishment, unless it was deliberate.

        Same goes for Sleepy Joe’s political career. He’s been provably wrong on virtually every stand he’s taken throughout his political career — nearly half a century of being on the wrong side of the debate. Statistically impossible, again, unless that was your plan.

        So, depending on how one interprets that blurb, one could take umbrage, that you were desperately trying to attack conservatives by calling them liars. — OR — you could be writing about how conservatives, by virtue of them having resisted the indoctrination that differentiated them from modern Leftists & liberals are incapable if being deceived by the transparent lies of the left.

        Imma go with the latter interpretation. “… their lies…” meaning the lies of the Leftists & Liberals.

        • E.Thompson

          March 13, 2023 at 11:50 am

          It should be important to each of us to be able to share ideas & thoughts without political denigration. While you make some valid points, each is negated by open political hostility like “sleepyJoe” or “unca Al”. We must consider making our points without vitriolic rhetoric. It’s the only way commentary can be taken seriously – on ANY side of the political spectrum.

    • JAlaska

      March 12, 2023 at 8:31 pm

      It should hurt to be so stupid

  • nail

    March 11, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    DeSantis displays all the warning signs of a psychopath. While . DeSantis enjoys inflicting pain and humiliation on political opponents, and anyone who goes against him, such as Disney. Ron DeSantis hates the LGBTQ community and people of color, and he aspires to be an authoritarian dictator. Think about it, you have to be a real schmuck to pick a fight with Disney. Can’t wait to see the 3 PACs that Disney has formed to rid FL and the country of DeSantis. You didn’t think they were sitting back and watching the Authoritarian did you?
    DeSantis is at war with history, science and math, books, and he is not playing with a full deck of cards. Then, people wonder why FL went from 25th in education to 46th compared to other states.

    • Ormond Otvos

      March 11, 2023 at 11:19 pm

      Don’t fool yourself. DeSantis is smart, especially ar reading the redneck, Republican and retired psychologies. They exist, they vote, and they tell their wives how to vote, as do their preachers.
      Yes, it’s book-banning and censorship, which are exactly what Christian Nationalism is all about. I speak with 25 years in Florida experience, Florida State University and Jacksonville and Sarasota schools graduated from 1953 to 1961.
      Intellectual logic and arguments bounce off their alligator hides, and they vote culturally and emotionally.
      Vote Blue. Save the USA.

      • Ian

        March 12, 2023 at 6:46 am

        Fortunately there isn’t enough of them and a whole crop of pissed off college kids, marginalized people and generally less close minded people.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    March 12, 2023 at 9:09 am

    The far left frothers squawk obediently. 🦜🦜

    • JAlaska

      March 12, 2023 at 8:34 pm

      Better to be thought a fool…..

  • Sam

    March 13, 2023 at 10:30 am

    It’s a false narrative in service of trying to use the schools for an inappropriate purpose.”

    Back at you, governor. What exactly do you think you’re doing? Looks a lot like using school children as political pawns to further your political ambitions.

  • Paul Passarelli

    March 13, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Oh bullshit! How is preventing a government agency with near complete influence over ***CHILDREN*** from allowing them to do *PERMANENT HARM* to themselves a “political agenda”?

    “Liberalism is a mental disorder” — Dr, Michael Savage

    • Bwj

      March 16, 2023 at 1:44 pm

      So you’re quoting a conspiracy theorist and someone who is banned from entering the UK for his right wing commentary. You’re just accusing the left of doing something that the right is doing.

  • Ormond Otvos

    March 16, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    The real problem is ideologues of all stripes: religious, political, humanist, rationalist, sexist, racist.
    It’s the certainty that destroys us.

  • Bullzeye

    March 23, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Are young boys banned from discussing their first conscious ejaculation? If so, at what grade level may they begin these discussions? And at what grade level, if any, may health-education classes discuss this issue and it’s implications for impregnating those having a female anatomy?

Comments are closed.


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