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  • Levi Mikula

Florida Librarian QUITS Over Pornography Restrictions in School Libraries

Tania Galinanes, a former librarian at Tohopekaliga High School located in Kissimme, Florida, recently quit her job over Florida’s alleged “book ban” and “censorship.” The librarian was instructed to review the books on the shelves to see if they were age-appropriate and did not include sexual content, in order to comply with a law passed in 2022 that forces elementary schools to provide a searchable list of every book available in their libraries or used in instruction. Florida's HB 1467 mandates that schools must catalog every book on their shelves, including those found in classroom libraries. Such laws are not being enacted to censor or “erase LGBTQ+ people,” as some critics claim. Their purpose is so that parents can see what their children have access to. The bill allows parents to challenge books that they find objectionable, and the school district is legally required to report it to the state.



The school district informed Tania Galinanes that she was not to celebrate “Banned Books Week,” featuring books like Gender Queer: A Memoir and Let's Talk About It which include graphic cartoon images of children performing sexual acts. This crossed a line for her. “Have we forgotten that students should be reading for pleasure?” the former librarian wrote. She planned to spend the rest of her career working as a librarian but after watching parents read aloud from books they described as a danger to children, and a recent state law that required library books not contain sexual content, she couldn’t take it anymore and quit her job as a librarian. In our opinion, Florida's HB 1557, the so-called “Don't Say Gay” bill, did not go far enough. It only applied up to 3rd graders, which are 8 years old. Gays Against Groomers' Florida chapter even testified in support of expanding it throughout high school, which was met with protests and an insurrection. For Tania, her job was about children finding books that they loved, no matter what the content of that book was…even if it included sexually explicit material. 385 of these books have themes or instances of violence & physical abuse; 211 books detail sexual experiences between characters; and 229 of them promote the idea of being “trapped in the wrong body.”



According to Florida law, schools may not distribute material that contains "nudity or sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors." Despite the narrative, these new laws are not about “banning books”, “censorship” or being “Anti-LGBTQ+” but about protecting innocent children. Florida's HB 1069 requires "the suspension of materials alleged to contain pornography or obscene depictions of sexual conduct, as identified in current law, pending resolution of an objection to the material." A decade ago, preventing children from having access to sexually graphic books at school wouldn’t have been controversial, on either side of the political aisle. But for some reason, common sense is being labeled as “extremist.” There is nothing extremist or anti-LGBTQ+ about preventing young children from having access to books with graphic sexual content, and implying otherwise is an insult to rational gays everywhere. Children have their entire lives ahead of them and their innocence should be protected as long as possible. If we lose a few teachers or librarians like Tania Galinanes because of laws that protect children from this abuse, then so be it. These policies are a win for parents and she does not speak on our behalf.



REFERENCES


Florida Department of Education. (2022). House Bill 1467.


Florida Governor. (2022, March 25). Governor Ron DeSantis signs bill that requires curriculum transparency. https://www.flgov.com/2022/03/25/governor-ron-desantis-signs-bill-that-requires-curriculum-transparency/


Florida Senate. (2022). HB 1557: Parental Rights in Education.


Florida Senate. (2023). Section 847.012, Florida Statutes. https://m.flsenate.gov/statutes/847.012


Gays Against Groomers [@againstgrmrs]. (2023, March 31). “Another Transurrection taking place today, this time in Florida. Only predators and pedophiles want children to be taught sexually explicit things. Truly disgusting. Leave the kids alone." [Tweet]. Twitter.


Gays Against Groomers [@againstgrmrs]. (2023, November 15). “@Pink Alecia, just accept that you will not win this one. Please do the right thing and stand with us against children being given pornography under the guise of LGBTQ+ acceptance. We’re glad you’ve now been made aware of just how bad they are. We oppose it and you should too." [Tweet]. Twitter.


News-Press. (2023, November 11). How Collier and Lee schools decide which books to ban: What we know.


PEN America. (2023). Banned in the USA: State laws supercharge book suppression in schools. https://pen.org/report/banned-in-the-usa-state-laws-supercharge-book-suppression-in-schools/


Tampa Bay Times. (2023, November 13). Fed up with restrictions, one Florida school librarian is walking away. https://www.tampabay.com/news/education/2023/11/13/fed-up-with-restrictions-one-florida-school-librarian-is-walking-away/


The Washington Post. (2023).


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