Public schools in Florida are dealing with a teacher shortage while trying to help kids who’ve fallen behind due to the pandemic, so educators are pretty busy. But the state just dropped another arduous requirement on their heads anyway. From Popular Information:
Teachers in Manatee County, Florida, are being told to make their classroom libraries — and any other “unvetted” book — inaccessible to students, or risk felony prosecution. The new policy is part of an effort to comply with new laws and regulations championed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R). It is based on the premise, promoted by right-wing advocacy groups, that teachers and librarians are using books to “groom” students or indoctrinate them with leftist ideologies.
…School principals in Manatee County were told Wednesday that any staff member violating these rules by providing materials “harmful to minors” could be prosecuted for “a felony of the third degree.” Therefore, teachers must make their classroom libraries inaccessible to students until they can establish that each book has been approved by a librarian.
In response to the policy, some teachers packed up their classroom libraries. Others covered up the books students are no longer allowed to read with construction paper.
The threat of prosecution affects all public school teachers, not just those in Manatee County, so similar conversations are probably taking place from Pensacola to Key West. This is what happens when far-right Republican operatives from astroturf outfits like “Moms for Liberty” make the rules.
Teachers have to keep books that aren’t on a district library list away from kids until a school librarian has time to personally review and approve them. In Manatee County, this included obviously smutty titles like Dragons Love Tacos and Sneezy the Snowman.
It’s mind-boggling to me that a majority of the voters in this state are okay with this bullshit, but it’s hard to interpret the results of the November election any other way. It’s not like DeSantis and company soft-pedaled their hard-right agenda. That’s what the asshole majority wants, apparently — a dumber, meaner and less literate future. What a shame for the kids, teachers and librarians.
This all sucks for Floridians who aren’t right-wing nutjobs, but maybe there’s a silver lining for the country. By the time the DeSantis 2024 campaign gets underway, the ugly consequences of his reactionary politics will be on full display, book banning included. In a general election, he’ll have more than a mosquito-whine voice and putrid personality to overcome — he’ll be the mean jerk who cancelled Sneezy the Snowman.
ETA: Breaking from CNN — classified documents found at Pence’s Indiana home. I’m going to go search my house and see if I find any here.