Clay County

Parents and teachers gather to voice frustrations about school book removals in Clay County

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Parents, teachers and students packed St. James A.M.E. Church Tuesday night to discuss books that have been removed from libraries in Clay County.

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Clay County Education Association hosted a meeting in Orange Park in response to rising frustrations in the community regarding Florida’s state-mandated book review process. Several parents, current and former teachers and community leaders voiced their opinions on where the school district is heading as they remove certain books for review.

Clay County Education Association said that 258 books have been challenged by someone in the community. Several of these challenged books talk about African America history.

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Deanna Powell, a parent of a Clay County School District student, said that by challenging some of these books, school board leaders are trying to erase history for future generations.

“I’m very nervous. I’m very concerned,” Powell said. “Day to day, you just look around and say, ‘Oh my God, we are going backwards,’ and it’s all because we aren’t educated.”

Jennifer Burgheart, an English teacher in the district, was at the meeting and said that she agrees with the concerns other parents have.

“Right now, there are so many challenges that we have monthly new books added to the list, so the concern is, of course, that I am not having an accurate representation in my classroom library for all of my students,” Burgheart said.

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Burgheart said that ultimately, she would like to see the Clay County School District get those books back into the classroom.

“My goal is the baseless challenges, the ones that have no merit,” she said. “They aren’t breaking any laws being returned to the classroom.”

Action News Jax reached out to see why Clay County School District leaders didn’t appear at the meeting. We learned that Superintendent David Broskie was invited, but he did not attend.