Bill allows parents a way to challenge school textbooks
LONGWOOD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - When you go to a bookstore, you can buy your child any book you choose. But the question is: how much control should you have over the books your child reads at school?
According to Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, the answer is: a lot. Plakon, along with the overwhelming majority of the Florida House, passed House Bill 989, which would allow parents or any resident to take their concerns over instructional materials used in school to an “unbiased and qualified hearing officer.”
"Parents should be able to weigh-in on what their kids are being taught, so this puts it down to a community level empowering parents," he says.
That hearing officer would decide whether the material is removed. Right now, your only recourse is to go to your school board.
"Going back to last fall, several parents and grandparents came to me and showed me samples of books their kids and grandkids were reading that even had elicit porn. I thought it was disgusting!" explains Representative Jennifer Sullivan, R-Eustis, who also voted in favor of HB 989.
Those in favor of the bill like that it empowers the parent, but critics say it could amount to a form of censorship or added costs. Not every lawmaker supports the legislation.
"What happens with all the material purchased that gets challenged? Are we just wasting more money?" asked Rep. Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, who opposed the bill.
The legislation is advancing in the Florida House. A similar piece of legislation (SB 1210) is still in committee in the Florida Senate.