DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida bill that would place 12-year term limits on county school-board members and lead to more scrutiny of school library books and instructional materials was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Friday, he visited Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, starting his presentation by touting past pieces of education-related legislation, such as bringing an end to the Florida Standards Assessment and in-person learning during the early onset of the pandemic.
"We believe parents not only have a role, they have the fundamental role to be involved in the education of their kids, and that's how it's going to be in the state of Florida," he said before signing HB-1467.
While lawmakers have long considered placing term limits on school-board members, perhaps the most controversial part of the bill is aimed at giving parents and members of the public increased access to the process of selecting and removing school library books and instructional materials.
For instance, committees that meet to make recommendations to school boards on the "ranking, eliminating, or selecting" of instructional materials would be required to include parents of students.
Over in Polk County, school officials are conducting a review of 16 library books due to "potentially inappropriate" content. County Citizens Defending Freedom is the group that initially contacted the school district.
"The books identified by CCDF-USA imprint obscene, violent, pornographic, drug abuse, sexual abuse and suicide-related content upon the minds of minor students. The family values and virtues that shape a child should be and are developed in the home, and the content found in these books stands in opposition to those very core values."
The books have been temporarily pulled from school libraries. Two committees of educators, students, advocates, medical professionals and others were formed to review the books and make recommendations to the school board.
Districts also could remove or discontinue school materials "as a result of an objection" under procedures outlined in the bill. The state Department of Education would distribute a list of removed school materials to other school districts throughout the state.
News Service of Florida contributed to this report