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Governor Debunks Book Ban Hoax


Florida - Wednesday, March 8, 2023: Governor DeSantis held a news conference in Tampa Wednesday to "debunk" what he says have been false reports about book banning in Florida by a number of national news media and media personalities.

He cited reports from some national media outlets which falsely reported that his administration's book bans have emptied some school library bookshelves and that he has forbidden Florida’s schools from teaching African American History, including discussions of slavery.

The Governor pointed out that there are already extensive African American History educational requirements in state law that he has successfully helped expand in recent years. 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.

“Exposing the ‘book ban’ hoax is important because it reveals that some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination,” said the Governor.

The news conference began with a special video produced by the Governor staff highlighting what he called the media's "Book Ban Hoax. "Because the video contains explicate sexual references and images WQCS has decided not to post it on our website.

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.