HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Removing books from schools has become a controversial topic in Florida, and Tuesday, the Hillsborough County School Board held a workshop to discuss Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act.
The new law describes generally the content that allows parents and others to have books removed from schools, but no specific books are listed.
For months, at Hillsborough County School Board meetings, parents and others have spoken up about books they find objectionable. However, the school district says only two books have been formally challenged under a review process.
The district says only one of those books was removed from schools after a review.
School Board Chair Nadia Combs said there has to be a well-defined process and a review before a book can be removed from schools.
“I think the most important thing is, there has to be a process,” Combs said. “You can’t just come in and take any books.”
Jessica Vaugh, a board member, is concerned some people are trying to have books removed based on their own convictions.
“If you just don’t want it for your one child, that’s parenting, but if you are trying to limit the access for other people’s children without a robust understanding of what they want, to me that is censorship,” she said.
Another board member, Stacy Hahn, is concerned that some books with offensive content are still available to students.
“Whether it’s the content and the narrative in the book, or the pictures in some of the graphic novels that are highly sexual in nature, many of them have been discussed at board meetings,” Hahn said.
The state Department of Education is expected to send out more direction about the process to remove books later in August.