ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County Public Schools have released a statement saying they have reconsidered removing Bibles from classrooms and placing them in its new “Restricted Section.” The Bible had been challenged on the grounds that it “promotes sexism, sex, violence, genocide, slavery, rape and bestiality,” according to the written challenge form.
WKRG News 5 previously reported ECPS has implemented a “Restricted Section” in all of its libraries. According to the school system, the purpose of the Restricted Section will be to house books currently under appeal for questionable content. Parents will be given the opportunity to opt-in if they wish for their student to have access to titles housed in the Restricted Section as they are being reviewed.
“While we review disputed books, we want to make sure parents still have the right to make decisions relative to what they believe is and isn’t appropriate for their children,” said Escambia County Schools superintendent Timothy Smith. “We feel the implementation of a Restricted Section in each of our school libraries, from which students can access these titles only with parent permission, will best meet the needs of our families as books are under review. The final arbiter of what is appropriate for a child to read is always that child’s parent; not other parents, teachers, or aggrieved members of the public.”
A teacher at Northview High School has challenged the public school system to evaluate more than 100 books that she said contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, themes, vulgarity and political pushes.
According to a Florida Statute, the district school board may install in the public schools in the district a secular program of education including, but not limited to, an objective study of the Bible and of religion.
The school board noticed the law and decided to remove the Bible from it’s challenged books list.
The full statement from the school system is below:
ECPS School Board members have been deliberating a process by which to address books which have been challenged due to content. A Florida law pertaining to the Bible has been identified. Florida Statute 1003.45(1) states that “the district school board may install in the public schools in the district a secular program of education including, but not limited to, an objective study of the Bible and of religion.” Therefore, the Escambia County Public Schools will not move forward with the reconsideration of the Bible as a library or instructional resource, and will immediately return all copies to the general collections in district libraries.– Escambia County Public Schools