Showing posts with label banning books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label banning books. Show all posts

January 25, 2023

Is there anything left to say about the DeSantis culture war?

Is there anything left to say about the DeSantis culture war?
By Hal Brown
My version of the image below

This is a quote from Gov. Ron DeSantis: “I think we are showing that Florida welcomes debate and that the cure for an idea that you disagree with is to point out why that idea is wrong.” Really. I couldn't make that up.

Currently the governor of Florida is often pictured happily standing behind a sign that suggests he has his own definition of the word education.


Perhaps he can get his definition added to the dictionary.

DeSantis likes his podium signs:
Click above to enlarge

At least he stood behind a State of Florida seal when he made this hypocritical speech:

Click above to read article

 A campaign about free speech on Florida college campuses – a hot-button issue across the nation – is being backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and public university presidents, who signed a resolution vowing to welcome all types of debate unless they promote “true threats or defamation.”

At the request of the governor, all 12 university presidents signed the resolution late last week. It says institutions will not “stifle the dissemination of any idea,” even when individuals find that speech to be “abhorrent.”

“It permits the freest expression of views before students, trusting to their good sense in passing judgment on those views. Only in this way can we best serve American democracy,” said John Thrasher, president of Florida State University, where DeSantis appeared Monday.

Once upon a time Florida was known as The Sunshine State. While Florida ranks last on the list of the 10 sunniest states I won't quibble about their use of this slogan. 

It was also known as the state where northerners went to die. Now it has become the state where eduction has been put on the critical list.

This photo was reproduced in various stories similar to this article and the one below:

The faces of the children recruited to stand behind him show they have no compression of why they are there. One could say this is a form of abuse.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced launching his new book titled The Courage to Be Free in February 2023, and the media was quick to slam the upcoming release, claiming hypocrisy because of Florida’s decisions on banning certain books.

The most recent news about the Florida governor and the presidential wannabe's war on Woke is his making school teachers liable for books in their classrooms deemed to be breaking Florida law. If convicted of the third degree felony he is making it having these books in their classroom libraries they could be imprisoned for up to five years. Examples of third degree felonies include aggravated stalking, theft of a vehicle or firearm, and trespass while armed. They also face losing their teaching license.

DeSantos is shoehorning what he calls "woke" into a law which emphasizes obscene and pornographic material:

847.012Harmful materials; sale or distribution to minors or using minors in production prohibited; penalty.

(1)As used in this section, “knowingly” means having the general knowledge of, reason to know, or a belief or ground for belief which warrants further inspection or inquiry of both:

(a)The character and content of any material described in this section which is reasonably susceptible of examination by the defendant; and

(b)The age of the minor.

(2)A person’s ignorance of a minor’s age, a minor’s misrepresentation of his or her age, a bona fide belief of a minor’s age, or a minor’s consent may not be raised as a defense in a prosecution for a violation of this section.

(3)A person may not knowingly sell, rent, or loan for monetary consideration to a minor:

(a)Any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, videocassette, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body which depicts nudity or sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors…

His announcement is making the news, for example in this article:

This article on Judd Legum's website Popular Information article includes reactions from Manatee County teachers. Here's an excerpt from that article:

The Parental Rights In Education Act prohibits all instruction on "sexual orientation or gender identity" in K-3 classrooms and instruction in other grades that is "not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate." But the law applies only to "[c]lassroom instruction by school personnel or third parties" — not library books. Similarly, the Stop WOKE Act is limited to classroom instruction. 

The teacher training approved by the Florida Department of Education, however, does not inform librarians that the Parental Rights in Education Act and Stop WOKE ACT do not apply to library books. Rather, librarians are told: "There is some overlap between the selection criteria for instructional and library materials." One slide says that library books and instructional materials cannot include "unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination." 

A subsequent slide provides a list of "unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination," which includes information about "sexual orientation or gender identity." It also includes a variety of topics related to race, including "Critical Race Theory" and material that might make someone feel "guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress" as a result of their race. The training instructs librarians to "err on the side of caution." 


This interpretation of the law runs directly counter to the arguments the DeSantis administration is making in court. In federal court filings, lawyers representing DeSantis insist that the Parental Rights in Education Act does not apply to library books. Nevertheless, the DeSantis administration, through its media specialist training, is encouraging a much more expansive interpretation of the law. 

I am not sure what to make of his exempting librarians from this aspect of his war on Woke. The law he is using is already on the books. If there was a similar law about libraries I suppose he might use that too. It's also possible he believes librarians and public libraries are insignificant. He may have been told how well organized the American Librarians Association is and was informed that a well-funded lawsuit would be leveled against him if he attempted to target them. I doubt that since he was willing to take on Disney. For him it isn't about winning or losing in court. It is about ginning up publicity for his war on Woke.

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