Some lawmakers in Florida are working to pass a bill that would make banning certain books in Florida public schools easier. Florida representative Mark Hill filed HB55 back in February, a motion for a bill that would make censorship and book banning in schools easier and put the careers of those who make those books readily available in jeopardy.
Rep Hill says he believes the bill is essential for protecting children from inappropriate content in the school environment. “To remove pornography out of our public schools. It doesn’t need to be there,” said Rep. Hill.
The bill states “”Harmful to minors” means any reproduction, imitation, characterization, description, exhibition, presentation, or representation, of whatever kind or form, depicting nudity, sexual conduct, or sexual excitement when it: (a) Predominantly appeals to a prurient, shameful, or morbid interest; (b) Is patently offensive with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for minors; and (c) Depicts an image or text that meets the definition of “deviate sexual intercourse.” The term “harmful to minors” does not include materials used in a formal, scheduled sex education course.”
In layman’s terms this means that books deemed to highlight or feature sex or sexuality outside of a pre-approved sexual education course on a school campus would not be allowed, and anyone who permits such books could be subject to a third-degree felony.
Florida has a history of banning books and heavy censorship and while this bill might sound understandable and practical to protect children, the bill would cover any book that discusses sexual assault, books that teach healthy relationships and those that teach anything other than non-heteronormative sex or sexuality would be deemed pornographic.
To put that into perspective, that would cover much of John Green’s work, The Bluest Eye, a classic by Toni Morrison, Angela’s Ashes, most of David Levithan’s works, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (which he points out they have already tried to do and failed), and hundreds of other important novels and works.