The Washington Post released an explanation on its Tuesday report on Gov. Ron DeSantis’, R-Fla., education bill, which would mean teachers face serious charges under the new law for displaying unapproved titles in school libraries. may face.
The article, titled “Hide your books to avoid criminal charges, Fla. schools tell teachers,” originally highlighted teachers’ concerns about the impact of DeSantis’ K-12 education bill on students. There is a need for transparency regarding the reading material available for For content that violates the law’s definition of “appropriate instructional material,” reporter Hannah Nathanson warned that the penalty could rise to the level of a felony.
“Breaking the law is a third-degree felony, meaning a teacher could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for displaying or giving students an unapproved book,” Nathanson wrote.
However, a later clarification on the story noted that the fine did not come from De Saints’ new law, but from a pre-existing law that prohibits the distribution of obscene material to minors.
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The following was later added to the story, “The new law comes on top of an older law that made distributing ‘harmful material’ to minors, including obscene and obscene material, a third-degree felony — which means a teacher could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for displaying or giving students an unapproved book, a Florida Department of Education spokesman said Tuesday.
A clarification was also included at the bottom of the article that read “After this story was published, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Education responded to questions, providing some details on what violations What penalty shall be imposed. Those details are included.”
Although the felony charge primarily involved the distribution of obscene material to children, Nitinson continued to highlight the concerns of teachers and superintendents over scrutinizing book titles and criminal threats.
“Still, because of uncertainty about enforcement and what titles might be considered illegal, school officials have warned teachers that their classroom libraries could expose them to the harshest penalties. are,” Nathanson wrote.
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He also reported on two Florida superintendents who expressed concern that any violation of the new law could result in felony charges.
“When a teacher emailed Mentee Superintendent Cynthia Saunders with questions and concerns about the directive, Saunders responded that violating state law regarding book collection could constitute a ‘third-degree felony.’ Yes, according to a copy of the superintendent’s email. The post,” Nathanson wrote. “Manatee Education Association President Pete Barber said in an interview that he has received many confusing and concerned questions from teacher members about the district’s new policy on classroom libraries. He said teachers are ‘disturbed’ by the thought of possibly committing a third-degree felony. Convinced of providing books to children.”
Alex Lanfranconi, director of the Florida Department of Education Communications, responded to the Washington Post article, along with other activists condemning comments that claimed teachers were at risk of felony charges over “banned books.”
“Teachers’ unions and media activists in the Washington Post and other outlets are pretending to be confused about the penalties for violating HB 1467, spreading lies, and spreading fear in classrooms. The biggest lie they’ve ever told.” is that teachers can face the mere crime of providing a student with a ‘bad book.’ provides obscene or sexually explicit material, can be prosecuted as a third-degree felony. This law is not new, nor is it specific to educators,” Lanfranconi said.
He added, “Ironically, the Washington Post cites ‘uncertainty surrounding enforcement’ as the basis for their misreporting about classroom libraries, yet knowingly itself It contributes to the uncertainty.”
Brian Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, also responded to the claims about the law in an extensive Twitter thread. He called out a specific claim that showed a barren bookshelf in the school because of the new law.
“This is the latest lie from a mob that believes they should be able to subject children to their preferred political agenda in public schools without accountability to parents or taxpayers,” Griffin tweeted.
He also specifically referenced the Washington Post report in a separate tweet.
“The felony charges referenced in this lie are convictions for the distribution of obscene material by an adult to a minor — a crime that has been on the books for some time. And rightfully so,” he said in the specific statute. Written and recorded.
The law provides for new training for “school librarians, media specialists and other personnel involved in the selection of school district library materials” that began this year.
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