Florida Democrats have launched a campaign to ban Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) own book from public schools in an effort to call attention to the vague and discriminatory state laws that have led school libraries to pull books from their shelves.
DeSantis has championed both the so-called Don’t Say Gay law and the Stop Woke Act. The former prohibits class instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, and the latter aims to limit the instruction of topics related to the history of racism in the U.S.
In addition, Florida’s H.B. 1467, passed last July, requires books made available through school libraries and classroom libraries to be selected by a certified media specialist.
These pieces of legislation have fueled the removal of books about race and LGBTQ+ issues – even ones as innocent as a biography of baseball icon Roberto Clemente and And Tango Makes Three, a children’s picture book about two male penguins who adopt a chick.
And now Democrats have lodged complaints about DeSantis’s book in 50 counties, pointing to moments in The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival that are grounds for removal based on state law.
“The very trap that he set for others is the one that he set for himself,” state House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell (D) told the Daily Beast.
In their petitions to schools against DeSantis’s book, Democrats have pointed to the fact that he repeatedly uses the terms “gender ideology” and “woke,” despite the fact that he does not believe “divisive concepts” should be allowed in school curricula.
They also point out that he mentions systemic racism and includes descriptions of violence, both of which could violate state law.
DeSantis’s book is not likely available in many school districts, but as the Daily Beast points out, the campaign to ban it is in part an effort to show how the vague language in the law can lead to its abuse.
Driskell also said the effort is an attempt to highlight what the entire country could be dealing with should DeSantis run for president.
“If America doesn’t want Florida’s present reality to become America’s future reality, people need to know what it’s like here. This is our way of fighting back, but also highlighting how ridiculous some of this becomes, right?”