Florida bill could close hate crimes loophole
BUNNELL, Florida. – Flagler County, Fla., School Board Member Seeks School Officials for Leaving Copies of LGBTQ +-themed Book “Not All Boys Are Blue” in two of the high school’s libraries County.
Board member Jill Woolbright filed a report with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, claiming the book violated state obscenity laws. She is also asking that three other books be removed from district school libraries, “The Hate You Give”, “Speak” and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You”. Three of the four are written by black authors.
“My concern is with the children of Flagler County. This book must be investigated as a crime in our media library. It’s a pretty heavy stuff, which violates our own policies. That’s why I felt the need to table the report, so I know it will be investigated, ”Flagler County School Board member Jill Woolbright told local media.
“Not All Boys Are Blue” was written by journalist and LGBTQ activist George M. Johnson and was published in April 2020. The books are a series of personal essays on growing up black and gay by Johnson .
In his criminal complaint, Woolbright alleges Johnson’s book contained “detailed descriptions” of masturbation, oral sex, and sodomy, which she said violates state obscenity laws regarding material accessible to minors.
Flagler County School Board attorney Kristy Gavin told local media that never in the history of the Flagler County School District has a book been challenged or banned. Gavin also indicated that Woolbright – who is running for re-election in 2022 – may only represent herself or a handful of voters, if applicable. No parent filed a reading challenge in high school or college.
According to the school board lawyer, Woolbright uses three separate laws as a rationale for forcing school staff to delete “Not all boys are blue.” Woolbright claims the school board is directly responsible for monitoring and supervising material provided to students by the school’s media center / libraries.
The first is Chapter 1006 of the Florida Act: Support for Learning. The law states that “each district school board is responsible for the content of all instructional and other materials used in a classroom, made available in a school library, or included on a reading list. “
The following two are listed in Florida criminal codes for obscenity, the one who reads in part: “A person cannot knowingly sell, rent, lend, give, distribute, transmit or show obscene material to a minor. “
Flagler Live reported that last Wednesday, Bobby Bossardet, the deputy superintendent of schools ordered the removal of the four titles from circulation, requested – and received – the names of the students who had currently checked out one of the books, and took a copy of each books for the district office for review.
“What prompted Mr. Bossardet to go to school was when we learned that the police report had been filed,” Gavin says Flagler Live adding that she has the names of the students who have currently checked the disputed books.
“These names are with me in my office, I haven’t even looked at this list, I don’t care who the students are” Gavin said. The names were only collected in the event the committee decides that a book should be banned. If this happens and some of the books have been checked out, those students or their parents would be contacted to return the book.
To date, All Boys Aren’t Blue has been removed from multiple libraries in 8 different states. Send good energy cause I’m going on the offensive now
Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Virginia and Texas. pic.twitter.com/uWw8jiSgMm
– George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) November 5, 2021
The four books challenged courtesy of Flagler Live are;
“The hate you give, “ Angie Thomas’ 2017 novel about a white cop shooting an unarmed black teenager. The book debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, stayed there for 50 weeks, was adapted into a film the following year, and won over a dozen awards, including the Coretta Scott King Book Award and the National Book Award for young adults. Thomas is black.
“Not all boys are blue”, A 2020 memoir by journalist and activist George M. Johnson on coming of age, family, bullies, gender identity, sexuality and race. The book is on the American Library Association’s Rainbow List, an annual list of “” books with meaningful gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender content, and aimed at young people from birth to age. ‘age 18. “The headline was also a Publishers Weekly’s choice for anti-racism. Johnson is black.
“Speak”Is a 1999 novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. In the author’s experience, this is the rape of a high school student and its traumatic effects which, among other things, make her unable to speak. The book, regularly taught in Flagler County schools, was a 1999 National Book Award finalist, won numerous awards, and has been among the most frequently banned or contested books in American libraries since its publication. Anderson is white.
“Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and YouIs a 2019 novelist that Jason Reynolds wrote in collaboration with Ibrahim X. Kendi, writer and historian and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi wrote “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” in 2016, when he won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction. The Reynolds-Keni book is a children’s “remix” and is meant to start conversations about breed. Reynolds and Kendi are black.