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Florida school district sues for violation of First Amendment rights in book ban | Florida

US non-profit organization Penn America, which works to defend free speech, has filed a lawsuit against the group, along with publisher Penguin Random House and the individual’s parents. florida School districts enforce book bans.

The lawsuit alleges that removing and restricting access to books that discuss race, racism, and LGBTQ+ identity violates the First Amendment. This comes after right-wing groups tried to remove books, often on issues of racism and sexual identity, from US libraries and schools.

The book ban movement, led by conservative groups (some of whom aren’t even parents of school children today), gained particular traction last year, spearheaded by groups like Moms For Liberty and No Left Turn in Education. rice field.

Nadine Farid Johnson, managing director of Penn America Washington and the Free Speech Program, said in an interview with The Guardian that Escambia County School District, Florida, in particular, has been at the center of the recent book ban movement. .

“Looking at what’s going on, recognizing Escambia County in particular, and efforts to restrict and remove these books, now is the time to challenge this as an unconstitutional act,” she said.

School districts began banning books by placing them in off-limits areas of the district’s school library and only allowing access to students with parental approval. Books in the off-limits section include Brucet Eye by Toni Morrison and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

And Tango Makes Three, a story about two male penguins who found a family together, and All Boys Aren’t, a memoir by George M. Johnson about growing up black and gay in New Jersey. Blue” and other books were also banned entirely.

“Like First Amendment rights, it’s important to put these books back on the shelf so students can access them,” Johnson said.

“I think the key here is to make sure that students have access to books on a wide range of topics that represent diverse perspectives. It really hints at the core of public education, and the Supreme Court has clearly stated that the government cannot censor a book simply because officials disagree with the ideas contained in it, and that’s what it says here. That’s what’s happening in the United States, and that’s why we’re doing this.”

pen america started tracking Books will be banned in schools nationwide for the 2021-2022 school year. In the first half of the 2022-23 academic year, 1,477 individual books were found to be banned, affecting 874 unique titles.

The states with the most book bans are Florida, Texas, Utah, Missouri, and South Carolina.

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of Penn America, said in a statement: Freedom of reading is guaranteed by the Constitution. In Escambia County, state censors are deliberately pushing books off shelves to silence pluralism and diversity. In a country built on free speech, this is intolerable. The law requires the Escambia County School District to return removed or restricted books to their proper shelves in the library. ”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/17/florida-school-book-ban-lawsuit Florida school district sues for violation of First Amendment rights in book ban | Florida

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