Dozens of books removed from Martin County schools

State sets new guidelines for reviewing, challenging reading material in schools
Martin County School District sign
Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 21:18:26-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A new list shows dozens and dozens of books have been removed from library shelves in the Martin County School District.

This comes as the state puts in new requirements for school librarians to review reading material, and districts must have a process allowing community members to challenge books.


Books by well known authors like James Patterson, Toni Morrison, and Jodi Picoult are now off the shelves in Martin County schools.

"Once you start inserting scenes of curses and graphic sexual content, you render them inappropriate in some settings," parent Paul Marcucci said. "They might be fine in a local library or for personal purchase, but not for schools."

Parents sounded off on both sides of book bans at a recent Martin County School Board meeting.

"To remove books that somehow the media specialists deems inappropriate, I find completely abhorrent," parent Hillary Morris said.

This comes as the state sent down new guidelines and training for media specialists to review what books kids can read in school, and establish a process for parents to challenge those books.

"They let us know what it is they would like us to reconsider, what it is they find is offensive or inappropriate about the material, and then there is an entire process from there to where a decision is made about a particular title," said Jennifer DeShazo, the public information director for the Martin County School District.

WPTV on Tuesday found a few of the books on the removed list at a local bookstore.

"The main point that the state is emphasizing and we are emphasizing as a school district is to always err on the side of caution," DeShazo said. "So if there is something you wouldn’t want to hear spoken out loud, it’s probably not something you’d want to have in a media center for the children."

"99% of the books we have filed challenges on are highly sexually explicit books," said Julie Marshall, who leads Moms For Liberty in Martin County and filed many of the objections.

Jennifer Pippin, a fellow Moms For Liberty activist in Indian River County, said they share lists and work together when they find inappropriate material.

"We kind of took the lead on this," Pippin said. "Taking on all levels of government for parental rights, wanting to have better material for children, and challenging these books against state statutes and laws."

Pippin expects the challenges will continue and this list could get longer.

Here is a complete list of all the books removed from Martin County schools: