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ICYMI: Governor Ron DeSantis Debunks Book Ban Hoax

March 8, 2023

Governor’s Press Office

Governor Ron DeSantis Debunks Book Ban Hoax

Exposing the Book Ban Hoax

Click here for a video presentation. To download, click here.


Tampa, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis further set the record straight, debunking the mainstream media, unions and leftist activists’ hoax of empty library bookshelves and political theater pretending that Florida’s schools cannot teach about topics like African American History, including topics like slavery. Governor DeSantis touted Florida’s high quality standards for required instruction of African American History, extensive African American History educational requirements in state law that Governor DeSantis has successfully helped expand in recent years. Governor DeSantis also displayed examples of books that have found in libraries and classrooms in 23 school districts across the state that contained pornographic content and other types of violent and age-inappropriate content. For more information, click here.

“Exposing the ‘book ban’ hoax is important because it reveals that some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards. Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate.”

“Education is about the pursuit of truth, not woke indoctrination,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Under Governor DeSantis, Florida is committed to rigorous academic content and high standards so that students learn how to think and receive the tools necessary to go forth and make great decisions."

See below for a Myth/Fact on this topic:

Myth: Florida schools have been directed to “empty libraries” and “cover classroom books.”

Fact: School districts are required to report the number of books removed from schools based on legislation passed in 2022. Of the 23 districts that reported removing materials, the most removed were tied at 19 in Duval and St. Johns Counties — not even close to a whole classroom library.

Of the 175 books removed across the state, 164 (94%) were removed from media centers, and 153 (87%) were identified as pornographic, violent, or inappropriate for their grade level.

Myth: Florida is banning children’s books about Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente.

Fact: Books found by parents in Florida schools:

  • Gender Queer: A Memoir – an explicit, pornographic book showing sex acts.
  • Flamer – a graphic book about young boys performing sexual acts at a summer camp.
  • This Book Is Gay – a book containing instructions on “the ins and outs of gay sex.”
  • Let’s Talk About It – a book that contains graphic depictions about how to masturbate for males and females.

Myth: Florida has banned the instruction of African American History, including the discussion of slavery and the aftermath of slavery.

Fact: Under Governor DeSantis, instruction on African American History has only expanded. The Governor has signed legislation that ensures that Florida’s students learn about the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots in addition to requiring instruction on slavery, the Civil War, and Jim Crow laws.

Additionally, the following is required instruction on the history of African Americans in Florida statute:

  • The history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery
  • The passage to America
  • The enslavement experience
  • Abolition
  • The history and contributions of Americans of the African diaspora to society

HB 7, signed in 2022, further expanded instruction of African American History to develop students’ understanding of the ramifications of prejudice and racism.

Myth: Florida teachers could be committing a 3rd-degree felony by having books on “certain topics” within their classrooms.

Fact: Florida has taken a stand against pornography and sexual material in the classroom. HB 1557 and HB 1467 further solidify Florida’s commitment to ensuring that content available in our schools is appropriate for students.

Statute 847.012 has been in law for many years and carries a felony penalty for the distribution of pornographic material to children.

Following the 2022 Legislative Session, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 7, to protect students from woke indoctrination in schools. The bill requires instruction, instructional materials, and professional development in public schools to adhere to principles of individual freedom including that no person is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive just by virtue of his or her race or sex and meritocracy or hard work ethic are not racist but fundamental to the right to pursue success.

HB 7 also expanded instruction of African American History to develop students’ understanding of the ramifications of prejudice and racism. Classroom instruction must educate students on what it means to be a respectful and responsible citizen and encourage tolerance of diversity to protect democratic principles that our country is founded on. Schools are required to teach factual information on topics including African American History and the Holocaust instead of subjective indoctrination that pushes collective guilt.

Governor DeSantis also signed HB 1557, Parental Rights in Education, which reinforced parents’ fundamental rights to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children. The bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade and prohibits instruction that is not age appropriate for students. During the upcoming 2023 Legislative Session, the Governor is in support of legislation which would expand these restrictions through the 8th grade.

Additionally in 2022, the Governor signed HB 1467, which requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials. As a part of the Year of the Parent, this legislation aims to preserve the rights of parents to make decisions about what materials their children are exposed to in school.

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