In Florida, a book publisher is suing a school district over the district’s banning of several books, claiming First Amendment violations.
Fox News reports that the lawsuit was filed against Escambia County School District (ECSD) by Penguin Random House and the PEN America Center Inc., a group that claims to be in favor of free speech. Also represented in the lawsuit are two parents with students attending school in ECSD.
In a statement, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel declared that “children in a democracy must not be taught that books are dangerous. The freedom to read is guaranteed by the constitution.”
“In Escambia County, state censors are spiriting books off shelves in a deliberate attempt to suppress diverse voices,” Nossel claims, without evidence. “In a nation built on free speech, this cannot stand. The law demands that the Escambia County School District put removed or restricted books back on library shelves where they belong.”
“The School District and the School Board have done so based on their disagreement with the ideas expressed in those books,” the lawsuit claims. “They have repeatedly ignored their existing policies for review. In every decision to remove a book, the School District has sided with a challenger expressing openly discriminatory bases for challenge, overruling the recommendations of review committees at the school and district levels.”
The books that have been banned by ECSD are “The Bluest Eye,” “And Tango Makes Three,” “Lucky,” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue.” These books generally focus on race and sexuality, with “All Boys Aren’t Blue” being about a boy who is black and gay. Such books have been called out by parents across the country for promoting sexual degeneracy to children, with some books even containing graphic visual depictions of homosexuality.
The bans were made after the state passed a law forbidding public school employees or any third parties from teaching students about “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” on the grounds that such content is inappropriate for minors.
PEN America recently released a report claiming that as many as 1,500 books have been banned from American schools in the first half of the 2022-2023 academic year. Furthermore, PEN claims that at least 30 percent of the books that were banned were about race, while another 26 percent were about LGBTQ and other forms of sexual degeneracy.