Florida Restricts LGBTQ+ Titles Across Classrooms

By: Hannah Chang

Books seem like an essential part of the classroom without question. But, the content of the very pages that fill bookshelves across Florida classrooms has come under question.

On Feb. 1, Florida governor Ron Desantis mandated restrictions on what books could and could not be allowed in a classroom, with a primary focus on the LGBTQ+ community, 

The reaction to this ban has been both positive and negative. Some support the ban because their children will be protected with censored book selections, safeguarding against the theoretical pushing of topics. Others are against the ban because the specific “censored” topics are not truly for the benefit of the children’s well-being, with people prefering a range of identities and topics to be covered from an early age. 

Literature isn’t the last battle, though. The punishment for teachers who do not abide by the ban has come under fire as well.  Teachers who do not follow the strict regulations of the book ban could lose their teaching license with the potential to receive a felony charge. 

Elementary school teacher Mary Kim stated, “unless the books are genuinely inappropriate, no teacher should be punished for having books in a classroom. That is like punishing coaches for having footballs on the field during football games.” 

Because some believe the targeted topics of the book ban are not inherently inappropriate, many are questioning whether the ban has gone too far or if it is necessary in the first place. 

“The ban is very harmful for both students and teachers in Florida because this will impact their experiences in school negatively,” said Kim. 

Worth considering in this debate is the age of the kids. Many who oppose Kim don’t have issues with the content itself, rather that it’s entering young elementary school classrooms. Perhaps integration of these topics in middle school is more ideal, and it appears as though that’s the angle DeSantis is attempting to take.

One thing that’s for sure is the necessity of reading in general. Mt. Hebron senior Alyssa Debels agrees. 

“Reading is important because you can gain a lot of knowledge about different types of topics. I also enjoy reading because it is one of my favorite hobbies,” she said. 

Intentions of the ban aside, both students and teachers are forced to adapt, with futures and jobs on the line. As far as Howard County goes, plenty of LGBTQ+ titles remain on the shelves.

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