CNN anchor Don Lemon accused Florida of engaging in “book banning” for protecting young school children from being exposed to graphic, hyper-sexualized books without parental consent.
What is going on in Florida?
There has been much scaremongering in the media about Florida HB 1467, which became law last year.
Specifically, the law requires that each “book made available to students through a school district library media center or included in a recommended or assigned school or grade-level reading list must be selected by a school district employee who holds a valid educational media specialist certificate.”
The law states that approved books must be “free of pornography,” “suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented,” and “appropriate for the grade level and age group.”
Outrage against the law increased this week after pictures went viral showing teachers in parts of Florida covering their classroom bookshelves because they had not yet been vetted. The teachers reportedly took such precautions because they were warned that violating the law could result in third-degree felony charges.
One journalist even reported, “Florida teachers must now remove all ‘unvetted’ books from their classroom libraries or face felony prosecution. The policy is based on the premise that teachers and librarians are using books to ‘groom’ students.”
What did Lemon say?
Reporting on the controversy Thursday, Lemon condemned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for the “outrage” and “ridiculous” policy.
“What are we doing here? I feel like we’re going back — I feel like I’m watching a bad version of, like, ‘Pleasantville,'” Lemon said. “I don’t get what’s happening, it feels like the 1950s all over again with, like, book banning.
“This is cancel culture from people who are, I guess, they just want our kids to be ignorant and to control the teachers,” he added. “This is outrageous. I really don’t even know how to explain what’s going on here. It’s just ridiculous.”
‘Outrageous’: Don Lemon reacts to Florida book law championed by DeSantiswww.youtube.com
After back-and-forth conversation with his co-hosts, Lemon declared, “Ron DeSantis, stop it.”
“You’re not helping, you’re hurting,” he added. “These things totally just get me riled up. And you know what? Everybody should be riled up. We got to stand up against this stuff — it is outrageous.”
Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said it is not true that teachers could be subject to felony charges if they do not immediately remove unvetted books from their classrooms.
According to Diaz, the statute makes clear that criminal charges only happen in cases when teachers — or any adult — “knowingly” distribute “egregious” materials to children.
“More fake news from media activists too lazy to read FL law,” he said. “A teacher (or any adult) faces a felony if they knowingly distribute egregious material, such as images which depict sexual conduct, sexual battery, bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse. Who could be against that?”
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