Skip to content
Search AI Powered

Latest Stories

Florida School District Under Fire For Pulling Dictionary From School Library Due To 'Sexual' Content

Merriam-Webster dictionary; Ron DeSantis
Merriam-Webster; Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Judd Legum's Popular Info broke the news that the Escambria County School district has pulled a variety of reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias from school shelves due to descriptions of 'sexual conduct' to ensure they are in compliance with Ron DeSantis' law.

The Escambia County School District in Florida has come under fire after it removed over 2,800 books from its libraries, including dictionaries, over concerns that they may violate a state law signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

The law, HB 1069, grants residents the right to demand the removal of any library book depicting or describing sexual conduct, as defined under Florida law.

The news was broken by Judd Legum, a journalist with Popular Information who observed that sadly this is "not a parody."

Among the removed books are dictionaries such as the American Heritage Children's Dictionary, Webster's Dictionary for Students, and Merriam-Webster's Elementary Dictionary. The district's librarians were required to conduct a review of all library books to identify titles that may violate the law. The slow and ongoing review process has left many school libraries closed, with fewer than 100 texts going through the final review.

The dictionaries, along with other removed books, are being scrutinized based on the broadly defined parameters of HB 1069. The dictionaries were locked away, raising concerns about the law's impact on academic resources. While dictionaries indeed contain descriptions of sexual conduct, critics argue that excluding them from schools seems illogical.

The review process involved a checklist for district staff to determine whether a book should be withheld from students. The checklist suggests consulting Book Looks, a right-wing website associated with groups like Moms for Liberty. The Florida Freedom to Read Project obtained a copy of the checklist, revealing the criteria used to assess books.

The situation in Escambia County challenges DeSantis' dismissal of concerns about book removals as a "leftist activist hoax." The reality contradicts his statements, with over ten times the initially reported number of books removed in Escambia County alone. Orange County, which includes Orlando, has also removed at least 678 books from library shelves.

Many have condemned the school district's move and hit back at DeSantis' policies.

Besides dictionaries, the removed books include encyclopedias, thesauruses, and biographies of prominent figures like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Nicki Minaj, and Thurgood Marshall.

Classic texts such as Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, The Adventures and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and novels by Stephen King have also been taken off the shelves. The removals extend to books popular on the political right, including Atlas Shrugged and works by commentator Bill O'Reilly.

The actions by the Escambia County School Board have led to legal challenges.

Penguin Random House, five authors, two parents of Escambia County students, and the non-profit group PEN America filed a lawsuit alleging that the board's actions violate the First Amendment. The lawsuit is connected to decisions made prior to the passage of HB 1069 to permanently ban several books from Escambia schools.

More from News/political-news

Screenshots of Kamala Harris and J.D. Vance

Kamala Harris Calls Out JD Vance For 'What He Didn't Say' During RNC Speech In Epic Takedown

In a fiery speech to supporters in North Carolina, Vice President Kamala Harris called out what J.D. Vance—former President Donald Trump's freshly selected running mate—"didn't say" in his speech accepting the VP nomination on Night 3 of the Republican National Convention.

Amid much talk about key conservative issues like immigration, the ongoing border crisis, and "law and order," he did not once mention what the GOP has explicitly laid out and is now attempting to distance itself from: Project 2025.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshot of Daniel Dale; Donald Trump
CNN; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

CNN Fact-Checker Debunks Trump's RNC Speech Lies For 2 Minutes Straight—And Yeah, It's A Lot

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale debunked lies former President Donald Trump told during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, dedicating two minutes to picking apart Trump's many falsehoods.

Trump made numerous oddball remarks during his speech, particularly his reference that the world was "at peace" when he was in office until his political opponents "turned it into a planet of war," declaring that the planet is now "blowing up around us" due to Democratic policies.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshots of Donald Trump and Tiffany Trump

Trump Snubbed Daughter Tiffany As She Went In For A Kiss At The RNC—And People Are Team Tiffany

Social media users were sympathetic to Tiffany Trump after her father, former President Donald Trump, appeared to snub her as she went in for a kiss before his climactic speech accepting the GOP's presidential nomination.

Footage from early in the evening shows a smiling Tiffany walking up the stairs toward Trump, who clearly saw her. She then attempted to greet him with a kiss only to be ignored, as he looked out at the crowd beyond her, as she walked away looking dejected.

Keep ReadingShow less
Picture of Marjorie Taylor Greene seen on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart
The Daily Show

Jon Stewart Just Pointed Out The Weird Noise MTG Made During Her RNC Speech—And Now We Can't Unhear It

Jon Stewart had a lot to unpack on Tuesday's airing of The Daily Show, given a wild week that included the shocking assassination attempt on former Republican President Donald Trump as well as the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, which kicked off on Monday.

One specific highlight from the opening night of the RNC that Jon couldn't help but fixate on was far-right Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene making strange sounds while addressing delegates during her speech.

Keep ReadingShow less
Justin Long and wife Kate Bosworth
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Smile Train

Justin Long Shares Wife Kate Bosworth's 'Really Romantic' Reaction To Him Pooping The Bed

Warning: soiler alert. Graphic bowel movement descriptions ahead.

Actor Justin Long had a romantic e-poo-phany about how much he loved his wife, actor Kate Bosworth, when he soiled the bed after suffering from food poisoning during a trip to Mexico.

Keep ReadingShow less