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Duval Schools to keep 73 ‘diverse, inclusive’ books out of classrooms

Claire Heddles
Jacksonville Today
Ami Polonsky, author of "Gracefully Grayson," speaks during a rally before the Duval School Board meeting on Dec. 6, 2022. The district ordered her book for fifth grade classrooms in 2021 but decided to send it back after a review process.

Dozens of books the Duval County school district ordered in the summer of 2021 will never hit classroom shelves. That’s the result of an ongoing review after the district pulled almost 200 books this spring while the Florida Legislature passed limits on what teachers can say about race, gender and sexual orientation in classrooms and set new rules for purchasing classroom materials.

After a 10-month process — delayed by staffing shortages, according to the district — 47 titles are being returned to the distributor. Twenty-six others will remain in storage, awaiting further state guidance.

Among the rejected titles are a book about Martin Luther King Jr. intended for fourth graders; a biography of Rosa Parks for second grade classrooms; a first grade Berenstain Bears book about God; and multiple titles including LGBTQ+ characters and families. District staffers are sending the rejected books back to the distributor, Perfection Learning, for exchange.

Read the rest of this story at Jacksonville Today, part of WJCT Public Media.

Claire joined WJCT as a reporter in August 2021. She was previously the local host of NPR's Morning Edition at WUOT in Knoxville, Tennessee. During her time in East Tennessee, her coverage of the COVID pandemic earned a Public Media Journalists’ Association award for investigative reporting. You can reach Claire at (904) 250-0926 or on Twitter @ClaireHeddles.