Clay County

Clay County School Board votes to change its book review policy

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — The Clay County School Board voted on changes to its challenge procedure for books after what board members are calling a difficult several months that have taken the focus away from other issues.

RELATED: The debate continues over what books are permitted on the shelves in your child’s school

Some parents who showed up said that they hope it will help reject many of what they say are hundreds of “meritless challenges.”

The board approved changes to how they’re handling complaints about books in the library. Now, a challenge oversight committee will look at each submission.

The meeting Wednesday night regarding the changes was packed with public commenters both for and against the changes.

“I’m asking this board to put together a committee that looks like me and thinks like me and doesn’t look like me and doesn’t think like me so that we as a community can come together and decide what is age appropriate and what is acceptable in our community,” said one parent.

RELATED: Clay County School Board schedules hearing, move forward policy on which bathrooms students can use

Of the several changes, some are as follows:

  • A review would recommend immediate and permanent removal of materials that violate Florida Statutes or have content that is “obviously pornographic or inappropriate” for the age group or grade.
  • They can reject a complaint if it doesn’t meet the criteria and the decision is not appealable.

STORY: Daily’s Place will host the Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 draft party

“Unless that book is proven to be inappropriate, it should be available for students to read,” said a parent.

Action News Jax also spoke with Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, who said the law is straightforward.

“I don’t think this is confusing,” he said. “I think that, unfortunately, it’s taken on a political agenda to try and get back at the Governor.”

One board member told Action News Jax that there should be books back on the shelves that aren’t there now, but there are plenty of books that are difficult to read and shouldn’t be seen by children.