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Fight Back Against Book Bans: Tell Florida Schools that “Don’t Say Gay” Doesn’t Apply to School Libraries

In a letter to Florida schools, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Florida Freedom to Read Project, We Need Diverse Books, and PEN America wrote to ensure that schools are aware of recent legal developments regarding Education Code §1001.42, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

On August 4, the Florida Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit on this issue, Parnell v. School Board of Lake County, Florida, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Case 5:23-cv-00381. In that motion, the Attorney General Ashley Moody stated: “HB 1557’s meaning is clear: It applies to formal classroom instruction, not library books[.]” The Attorney General also said that “the Legislature’s decision that certain materials are inappropriate for use in classroom instruction does not mean they are categorically inappropriate in the very different setting of a school library.”

Therefore, these organizations urge that all districts that have removed or grade restricted school library books in response to HB 1557 must return those books to the shelves and remove restrictions as soon as possible.

Add your voice by sending an email to the FL Department of Education commissioner, Manny Diaz, Jr., urging him to press schools to remove book restrictions in school libraries.

Letter to FL Department of Education

Commissioner Diaz,

Florida’s public school libraries are not subject to the arguably unconstitutional limitations on “classroom instruction” as prescribed by Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The state has made this point in three separate court documents, and now it is time for the Florida Department of Education to make that clear to our school districts and the communities they serve.

Great leadership requires clear direction. I’m writing to you today to ask that you please update the Library Media Training to reflect the statements made to the court and issue a memo to our districts reiterating the same. 

Add Your Voice by Sending the letter using the form below