One Man Wants to Ban 3,600 LGBTQ+ and Anti-racist Books From Florida Schools

One Man Wants to Ban 3,600 LGBTQ+ and Anti-racist Books From Florida Schools

Conservative activist Bruce Friedman is aiming to prohibit over 3,600 books from Florida schools, including those containing “porn, critical racial theory, social-emotional learning, [and] fluid gender.”

This list was presented by Friedman, president and founder of the Florida chapter of the right-wing education group No Left Turn in Education, at a November 28 meeting of the Florida Department of Education Library Media Working Group, a group that will train public school librarians on how to comply with censorship rules signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Friedman claimed this list indicates that “library have more than a little poison in them,” according to Popular Information.

He threatened to “conduct 3,600 challenges [to the books] and overwhelm your dreadful, awful processes and regulations” until the Department of Education “cleans up this disaster.”

He has already successfully removed the book The Girl Off The Sea, as well as at least 101 other titles, from Clay County library shelves as a result of a policy that requires books to be removed if a formal challenge is presented to them.

The Girl From The Sea is an award-winning graphic novel about a 15-year-old girl who develops love affections for another girl. Despite the fact that the book contains no nudity, sex, or cursing, Friedman feels it should not be distributed because it encourages “promiscuity” and “pre-marital sex,” and kids are not “in school to learn how to be better lesbians.”

Friedman has also criticized works like Dear Martin, which is about “an Ivy League-bound African American student called Justyce who becomes a victim of racial profiling.” He said that the book should be banned because it supports “the Black Lives Matter movement” and has “a feeling of white guilt in its meditations on’micro-aggressions,’ as described elsewhere in Critical Race Theory.”

Many of his 350 Clay County book challenges are being refused due of missing information. He doesn’t say why he wants each of them blacklisted. In fact, he has stated that he has not read the majority of the books and is unsure whether any of the pupils have either. He typed only two phrases on the parts of the official complaint forms where he stated why he wished to question each book: “Protect youngsters” or “inappropriate material,” he said.

He has also claimed that Florida’s iconic “Don’t Say Gay” and Stop WOKE legislation forbid the use of LGBTQ+ and anti-racist materials in schools, despite the fact that the rules solely relate to classroom teaching. They do not, in fact, forbid the usage of library books.

Despite this, he has been successful in removing at least 102 titles off county school library shelves.

According to Julie Miller, head of the Clay County Education Association Media Committee, the county has halted the purchase of new books due to the surge of parental concerns. LGBTQ+-inclusive novels including All Boys Aren’t Blue, Julian is a Mermaid, Being Jazz, Two Boys Kissing, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower have already been deleted, weeded out, or delayed.

“Our cities have turned into killing fields, and our public schools are starting to resemble re-education camps,” said No Left Turn in Education, an organization for which Friedman created a Florida chapter, on Facebook.

The group’s New York founder, Elana Yaron Fishbein, has stated that schools are “getting to our youngsters, brainwashing them, indoctrinating them, and creating them [a] brownshirt,” a reference to Hitler’s early Nazi militia, created in 1921.

According to Stephana Ferrell, co-founder of the Florida Freedom to Read Project, the county’s policy of deleting disputed books has allowed Friedman to abuse the system, providing a “single viewpoint… control over what can and cannot be accessed or studied at the library.”

 

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