Martin County School Board may reevaluate book challenge policy

About 100 books removed from Martin County classrooms and library shelves, new data shows
The Martin County School Board meets on April 18, 2023.jpg
Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 17:39:15-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — There's a sign the Martin County School Board may be ready to reevaluate how the district reviews challenged books.

The district recently made national headlines after removing more than 80 books from school library shelves by notable authors like Toni Morrison and Jodi Picoult after parent objections.

The latest list of challenged books in Martin County public schools is now up to about 100 books removed from classroom and library shelves. But now, we're seeing the first signals that something may change.


"We do not have filth and pornography in our classrooms. The narrative going around is insulting," teacher Leslie Kingsly said at a Martin County School Board meeting on Tuesday.

One by one, dozens of Martin County community members once again flooded the school board meeting to speak out against banning books, as well as ask the board to change its objection process.

"I urge you to think about what a book ban means and use transparency," resident Wes Rexroad said. "I don't need anyone else telling my son what he can and cannot read."

And for the first time this week, there's a hint their voices may be resonating.

"I'm asking the board if they have any interest in taking that policy 2522, workshopping in back, sending it through workshop, and sending it through the process," board member Christia Li Roberts said at Tuesday's meeting.

Li Roberts suggested the board take another look at its policy.

The current procedure involves an objector filing a form with the school to reconsider the book. The principal reviews it to decide if the book stays or goes. Then there is a meeting to go over the decision.

If the objector is not happy with the decision, the issue goes to a district supervisor.

"We might want to be doing something different," Li Roberts said.

"I'm glad. It sounds like it's something they are going to do," Martin County mom Sydney Thomas said. "I'm disappointed that she was the only board member that had any energy into putting that into consideration."

Thomas is involved with a grassroots group called Connected Martin, organizing people on community issues, including education.

"We are building the plane as we are flying it, quite literally," Thomas said.

The group encouraged those against books bans to wear yellow at recent school board meetings. They want more transparency in the book review process

"There is a really concerted effort to privatize education and dissolve the separation of church and state, and the book banning is one very significant cog in that wheel," Thomas said.

Thomas added they'll keep showing up and fighting for what they believe is right.

"The public comment and the public show-up did have an impact, and it looks like they will at least discuss the process again," Thomas said. "It was effective."

There's no word yet when the Martin County School Board may review its policy.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Connected Martin group, you can email