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'It’s going to be huge:' Moms for Liberty leader on bill changing books removal

Dozens of books have been removed from schools after people could file challenges to remove them from schools
Posted at 9:38 PM, Apr 15, 2024

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Jennifer Pippin, who helped organize protests of books in Indian River County schools as a leader for a local Moms for Liberty group, is reacting to changes to how books are challenged in public schools.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his intention to sign HB 1285 at a news conference Monday. The bill makes various changes at public schools, including rules to remove books from school libraries.

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According to legislative staff, the bill would allow people with no students in the school to only object to one book per month. Staff also said the bill would require districts to discontinue a book if the school board denies a parent the right to read passages from a book.

"I know that a lot of other counties are scrambling to make sure that they have all their citizens of the community filing challenges before the change of law," Pippin said. The law would go into effect July 1.

DeSantis said he believes the change would stop "frivolous challenges" against books in Florida. He said challenges against material should be rare and not a tool from citizen activists or groups.

"Just as it's wrong for a school district, an activist teacher, a school union to try and impose an agenda on the students," DeSantis said. "It's also wrong for citizen activists or parents to do these passive-aggressive false challenges to try to act like somehow we don't want to education in Florida. So this bill corrects that."

The governor announced his support for the legislation in Escambia County. According to legislative staff, more than half of the book challenges in the state came from Escambia and Clay counties during Fiscal Year 2022.

A total 177 of the 386 book titles were removed from Clay County. Nine were removed from Escambia County. According to previous WPTV reporting, Martin County removed dozens of books in March 2023.

Previous WPTV reporting also shows at least 34 books were removed from Indian River County schools after Pippin organized challenges against the material.

Jennifer Pippin of Indian River County was among those in attendance for the Moms for Liberty summit in Philadelphia.
Jennifer Pippin of Indian River County was among those in attendance for the Moms for Liberty summit in Philadelphia.

Pippin also said the law's effects are unclear as many groups have successfully removed material from the classroom. She said there aren't other challenges she's waiting to file in the Indian River County School District.

"Anytime that it limits the people who can do it is always tough," she said. "Again, it's time for parents to step up and challenge these books."

The bill also clarifies that if a school board member denies a parent the right to read a passage from a material, then the school district must discontinue the use of the material throughout the school district.