PENSACOLA, FLORIDA — Two household names in the publishing world have sued a Florida county for removing books that push the LGBTQ agenda from school libraries.
Publishing giant Penguin Random House and freedom of speech foundation PEN America are suing Escambia County School District and School Board for removing books that push radical views on race, gender and sexuality. Additional plaintiffs include several authors of books that the district pulled, and two local parents.
The lawsuit alleges that the school board has caved to conservatives, who are challenging books for “discriminatory” reasons.
“These restrictions and removals have disproportionately targeted books by or about people of color and/or LGBTQ people, and have prescribed an orthodoxy of opinion that violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” the suit contends.
BOOKS IN QUESTION
All Boys Aren’t Blue, one of the books cited in the lawsuit, contains explicit descriptions of two teenage boys having sex including the following:
“He reached his hand down and pulled out my dick… He quickly went to giving me head… I did my best to act dominant like my favorite porn star… His body felt great in my mouth. … I remember the condom was blue and flavored like cotton candy. … I pulled out of him and kissed him while he masturbated. Then, he also came.”
Other books, such as When Aidan Became a Brother and Uncle Bobby’s Wedding were pulled from elementary schools because they push ideological dogmas around gender fluidity and sexual orientation on young children – a violation of Florida law.
WHO IS BANNING BOOKS?
“Books have the capacity to change lives for the better, and students in particular deserve equitable access to a wide range of perspectives,” Penguin Random House CEO Nihar Malaviya said in a statement.
According to Malaviya, removing books from school libraries represents “a direct threat to democracy and our Constitutional rights.” Malaviya and numerous legacy media outlets assert that the legal action is part of a nationwide battle over “book bans.”
“Luckily for them, there are no ‘book bans’ in Florida,” Alex Lanfranconi, Director of Communications for the Florida Department of Education, said in a statement.
The media continue to label school library restrictions as “book bans” despite the fact that the state has not banned any books.
Notably, the word “ban” is not used in the lawsuit at any point to describe what the district has done. In fact, it is only used one time in the entire document to reference an online article.
Ironically, PEN America members pledge themselves to “oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood, and distortion of facts for political and personal ends.”
“Current law requires that materials in schools be age appropriate and not contain adult material such as pornography,” Lanfranconi explained.
Lanfranconi pointed out that Florida Statute 1006 gives district school boards the authority and responsibility for supervising the “content of all instructional materials and any other materials used in a classroom, made available in a school library, or included on a reading list.”