St. Johns County School Board committee to consider more controversial books today

A St. Johns County School Board committee is meeting to discuss a number of books parents are trying to get removed from school libraries.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County School District Advisory Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss more books parents are trying to get removed from school libraries. It’s part of a bigger push by conservative parents across the state to pull books on a range of controversial topics.

Parents in the district say these books are inappropriate for children because they talk about subjects like gender identity, suicide, racism and white supremacy.

LISTEN IN: Click here to listen in to the committee’s discussion

A committee is going through each one to decide if they belong in school libraries.

After a heated and emotional debate at the last meeting, the school board decided to keep seven controversial books on St. Johns County library shelves:

The 3-2 vote to keep all seven books on library shelves came after hours of public comment from both sides of the debate and a plea from the well-known author of one of the books in question.

“Peanut Goes for the Gold” is about a nonbinary gender guinea pig. Some parents complained about the book, saying the topic of gender identity is inappropriate and shouldn’t be taught in a classroom.

Starting July 1, schools cannot discuss the topic with children in kindergarten through third grade as part of the Parental Rights in Education law, which critics have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

There are still 49 books on the list that parents are challenging, and the committee is meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the next set. News4JAX will monitor the discussion and keep you updated as we learn more. The meeting Tuesday is not a public meeting but is streamed on YouTube.

The district has an “Individualized School Library Access Plan” that allows parents to prevent children from checking out certain books.

Superintendent Tim Forson sent a letter to parents who have concerns about the books.

About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.