Protect Media Center Access in Lee County Schools!

by | Mar 22, 2024

Media Center Access Form

Last year the Lee County School Board developed a Media Center Access Form to empower parents and protect students. On Monday, March 25th, at 5:30 pm, the Curriculum Advisory Committee will meet and vote on whether or not they want to recommend that the Board discontinue use of the Media Access form. 

This form and corresponding protocol have three great features:

Parents have options.

Parents are free to choose to allow their child access to all media center books, not allow access to any media center books, or only allow access to books that have not been objected to through the formal objection process.

    Parents can choose to opt-in.

    If a parent chooses not to fill out and sign the form, their child will be given access to all library books that have not been previously objected through the formal objection process.

    Parents get the first & final say.

    If a child wants to check out a book and the parent has not filled out the form, the school media center specialist will immediately call the parent and get permission before allowing the child to check out the book.

    Image representing the state of Florida and the red tape regulations microschools encounter.
    Did You Know?

    When you go to the Lee County School District’s website, on the  “Challenge to Instructional / Media Committee” page, you can easily find a list of every library book that has ever been formally challenged, as well as the result of that challenge. In the 2021-22 school year, a total of 33 books were challenged. This list includes many books that have been removed from other Florida school districts for containing sexually explicit content, promoting self-harm, and glorifying violence. Some of the books included on this list are: Beloved, Being Jazz, My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, Dreaming in Cuban, Kite Runner, The Bluest Eye, and more. The Challenge to Instructional / Media Ad-Hoc committee met a total of seventeen times that year to review books, and when all was said and done, they decided to remove only one: Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw It All.


    Image showing a person standing outside a Florida county Municipal building.
    Did You Know? cont.

    Let’s go back to the Lee County School District’s website, on the  “Challenge to Instructional / Media Committee” page, and take a look at the number of books that were challenged in 2022-23

    …..well, that’s awkward. I couldn’t find a single book challenged in 2022-23.

    Moving right along then. Let’s take a look at 2023-24. A total of 15 books were challenged back in July of 2023. So far, the Challenge to Instructional / Media Ad-Hoc Committee has only reviewed 8 of the 15 books, and every single one has been challenged (and removed) from other Florida school districts. Of the 8 that have been reviewed, only 5 books have been removed: Burned, Crank, Smoke, Traffick, and Tricks by Ellen Hopkins. A total of 3 books were retained: Eleanor & Park, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Half of a Yellow Sun. And almost one year later, 5 books have still not been removed: A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Identical, Fallout, and I’ll Give You The Sun

    Model school board policy
    This form has been a model of great school board policy that we have suggested other districts follow for years to come. The opt-in form serves as a significant component of parental choice. You can help by encouraging the School District, and the Curriculum Advisory Committee to stay the course, and continue leading the way for parental rights in education with the Media Center Access Form as a model for every school district in the great state of Florida.

    The Lee County School District values parental input. We encourage you to email the staff members listed below, as well as members of the Curriculum Advisory Committee, as well as its Board Advisory Member. Remind each of them of how important parental choice in education is to you and your family, and encourage them to do everything to protect it.

    The purpose of the Curriculum Advisory Committee (CUAC) is to provide recommendations to the Lee County School Board on best instructional resources and practices for PreK-12 curriculum development and implementation within the School District of Lee County (SDLC).

    Department Secretary: Helen Hernandez
    Email Address: [email protected]
    Contact Number: (239) 335-1544

    Staff Liaison: Bethany Quisenberry
    Email Address: [email protected]
    Contact Number: (239) 337-8412

    Staff Liaison: Lori Houchin
    Email Address: [email protected]
    Contact Number: (239) 337-8607

    Board Liaison: Chris Patricca
    Email Address: [email protected]

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    I’d love to hear what you think. Send me a message below and let’s continue this conversation!

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    About the Author

    Christy Devigili

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