'Ideological Joyride' to Come to an End: DeSantis Limits Non-Parents Trying to Ban Books

'Ideological Joyride' to Come to an End: DeSantis Limits Non-Parents Trying to Ban Books

A sweeping education bill signed Monday limits non-parents from objecting to school books that they want banned

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 15, 2024

PENSACOLA, FL—At a Pensacola press conference, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Monday a sweeping education package that limits book ban objections from non-parents and addresses poor-performing "turnaround" schools.

"You should not be having books in these schools that are sexually explicit [or] that are promoting ideology like gender ideology," DeSantis said, turning to the high proliferation of school book bans that resulted from his Parental Rights in Education and Parents Bill of Rights bills.

"Schools are there to serve the community, schools are not there for you to go on some ideological joyride at the expense of our kids," he added.

In the 2022-2023 school year, PEN America recorded 1,406 book ban cases in Florida—40% of all books banned nationwide. DeSantis criticized non-parent "activists" who are making a "mockery" of his parental rights bills by objecting to traditional books that have "always" been in schools.

"That's performative, that's political, you're trying to be an activist when you should be trying to be an educator," he said, referencing a Manatee County teacher who covered up his library books following the bill's enforcement.

He explained that under HB 1265, people who do not have children in the school system will be limited to one book objection per month. Those who have unsuccessfully challenged five books will be hit with a $100 "processing fee", The Florida Phoenix reported.

"You're going to be limited to what you can be objecting to...More recently, it's all become fodder for people trying to do an agenda," he said. "If you're trying to be an activist, you're going to be held accountable for that."

DeSantis turned to HB 1285's other major provision: turnaround schools. Turnaround schools are institutions that have received a "D" or "F" grade two years in a row, and must then be remediated by either shutting the school down, revamping the curriculum, or having the school apply for charter school status.

He hosted the bill signing ceremony at Warrington Preparatory Academy, a formerly failing public middle school that entered into turnaround status. The Prep School chose to apply for charter school status, though DeSantis lamented that "it took forever to do the charter program."

Under HB 1285, school districts are required to swiftly address failing schools. If a school chooses to apply for charter school status it must do so within two years of becoming a turnaround school.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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