The federal lawsuit alleges the Escambia County School District and its School Board are violating the First Amendment through the removal of 10 books.
Florida bans more books from its public school libraries and classrooms than any other state in the country, according to a new report from PEN America released on Thursday.
Book bans have been surging across the country, but in Florida, school boards across the state have been purging their shelves following the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation May 15 that defunds diversity, equity and inclusion programs at the state’s public colleges and universities, as well as limits discussions of racism and sexism in required courses and student activities.
PEN America, along with Penguin Random House publishing, select authors and parents of children enrolled in Florida’s Escambia County School District filed a federal lawsuit against the district and its board May 17 requesting banned books and those under review be returned to library shelves.
Two Florida bills filed by State Rep. Alex Andrade, a Gov. Ron DeSantis ally, on the same day in late February represent “a full-fledged assault on the First Amendment,” says Bobby Block, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation.
A federal judge ruled Jan. 12 that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration did not violate an order blocking the academic provision of the “Stop WOKE” Act, which restricts race-based discussions in higher education classrooms.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked a key provision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE” Act, citing First Amendment violations of viewpoint discrimination after Florida claimed that public university professors were bound by state-sanctioned speech.