- Publisher Penguin Random House and PEN, a literary advocacy group, are suing the County School District of Escambia, Florida over its removal of 10 books related to race and gender issues from libraries. Five authors who’ve had their works removed and two parents of children in the district are also serving as plaintiffs.1
- The Pensacola district has been accused of violating the First Amendment by "depriving students of access to a wide range of viewpoints," as well as the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause by allegedly "disproportionately" targeting "books by non-white and/or LGBTQ authors."2
- The plaintiffs allege that one particular high school teacher challenged hundreds of books, with the district "constantly" complying with the individual's requests. Challenged books were placed in a restricted section of the library, where parental consent was required to access the materials.3
- This lawsuit became public on the same day Florida Republicans signed into law a new bill requiring schools to remove books from circulation five days after being flagged for review, in response to what Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has called a "concerted effort" towards "indoctrination."4
- Florida has made many changes to its educational policies in recent months, especially focusing on race and LGBT+ issues, including a challenge to the AP African-American studies pilot and the passing of the Parental Rights in Education Bill — known as the "Don't Say Gay" Bill — which limits discussion of gender and sexual orientation in the classroom.5
- Challenged and banned books in the suit include titles by authors such as Kurt Vonnegut and Toni Morrison.6
- Democratic narrative, as provided by Washington Post. We can only hope this lawsuit succeeds in ensuring important books are returned to library shelves — a blow needs to be dealt against DeSantis’ war on freedom of thought, which he is branding a fight against wokeness. This GOP culture war is crippling education systems nationwide and preventing kids from engaging with difficult issues and, therefore, developing curiosity or critical thought.
- Republican narrative, as provided by The Daily Signal. DeSantis is one of the few leaders brave enough to take a stand against left-wing indoctrination in American schools. Education needs to be focused on learning and instilling American values, not on sexuality and pronouns. This lawsuit is nothing but an attempt to virtue signal against a popular GOP governor.