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Thousands of books were pulled from school shelves in Florida in 2023. What to expect in 2024


In 2023, HB 1069 took effect in Florida. The law made it easier to challenge any book that was pornagraphic, depicted sex or was age inappropriate.

Thousands of books were pulled off Florida school classroom and library shelves this year.

The removals were in response to a new law, HB 1069,that took effect in Florida. The law made it easier to challenge any book that the state defines as pornographic, containing sexual conduct or age inappropriate.

The Florida Freedom to Read Project, a nonprofit that advocates against restricting book bans and access, says Escambia County removed over 1,500 books, the most in Florida.

In Central Florida, Orange County pulled nearly 700, Seminole County about 100 and Volusia County is still reviewing hundreds of books.

Stephana Ferrell, the project's co-founder and director of research and insight, says she expects more of the same in 2024.

“So there’s still a lot that is ongoing. There is a lot of pressure on the districts to do these internal reviews now to ensure compliance [with the law]," Ferrell says.

“Unfortunately, because of the lack of very clear guidance from the Florida [Department of Education], what we’re seeing is a lot of bad copycatting of one district seeing what another district is doing and saying, 'Oh, we better do that too," in this effort to air on the side of caution," Ferrell says.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and other supporters of the law say it’s needed to keep such materials away from grade levels or age groups for which they are deemed inappropriate or unsuitable.

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