‘I can’t stand this filth:’ Books in Osceola school library under review, parents call for removal

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Florida. – Outraged parents came one by one Tuesday addressing the Osceola County School Board.

Several parents read excerpts from books they said were found in school media libraries.

“Have you ever received a [sexual act]…” a parent read aloud. “Lara unbuttoned my pants and pulled my boxers down a bit and pulled out my penis.”

It’s a passage from the book “Looking for Alaska”. The parent says it is disturbing that these kinds of books are available to students.

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She questioned the council members.

“Do you think it’s appropriate for children in school?” said the parent.

Other parents followed suit, reading excerpts from different books they considered distasteful, such as “Gender Queer.”

“I got a new strap-on harness today, can’t wait to put it on for you. It will fit my favorite dildo perfectly,” another parent read.

The parents blamed the board members for keeping the “pornographic” books on the shelves.

The same issues were addressed in public schools in Orange County last year. The “Gender Queer” book caused some controversy and was pulled from three district high schools.

The same book was also banned from public schools in Brevard County.

Pen America is a free speech advocacy group. The organization recently released a report documenting soaring book censorship in school districts across the country.

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The advocacy group notes that he poses a serious threat to free speech and students’ First Amendment rights.

The report shows that in the past nine months, 1,586 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states.

“Get him out of the schools. Go tell them to purge it,” a parent shouted at the council members.

On Friday, News 6 learned that District Superintendent Debra Pace had instructed staff to collect these four books from school libraries:

  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

  • Me, Earl and the dying girl

  • Not All Boys Are Blue by George M. Johnson

  • In Search of Alaska by John Green

Each of them is under review.

The district also created a 3-tier access plan to empower parents.

Now they can filter what their children read by choosing one of these preferences:

  • Unlimited (full access, mature content may be involved)

  • Limit (can check out books in the media center, but nothing involving mature content); and

  • No access (student is not allowed to check books outside the media center).

Parents can access the form to indicate their preference to the district here.

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You can watch the school board meeting in the media player below. Warning: The video contains graphic language that some people may find offensive.

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