Since 2019, when we blew the whistle on sexually explicated materials in schools with the first in the nation Porn in Schools Report, which was an inspiration to others to tackle this issue across the nation, we have been focused on ending the ability for children to have access to these materials. Every school district in the state has some amount of sexually explicated novels in their media centers (libraries). To quote Sheriff Grady Judd, “many of these obscene materials are sexually grooming young children to be sex trafficked.”
Over the past few years FLCA, along with coalition partners, have made progress on implementing laws in order to help curtail these materials in school. These bills include 1557 (2022) and 1069 (2023). However, there are still loopholes that school districts use to allow children to access these materials. The two biggest areas relate to the current access policy and how FS 847.012 is currently written. It is up to the legislature to repeal the several loopholes in FS 847.012 that the school districts exploit, including the Miller Test. We believe 847.012 needs to be updated to ensure that literary value is not used as a shield by school districts to keep sexually explicated materials in their media centers.
Hand-in-hand with this effort is adding a true “Opt-In” to the Parental Rights law. Today, parents are required to opt-in for their child to play sports or even get a aspirin from the school nurse, but their children can be sexually exploited daily, without parental knowledge. The Lee County School District in Florida has implemented this policy. In Lee County, if a parent does not fill out a form at the beginning of the school year that goes out to all parents, their child will not be allowed to check out any objected materials. We believe this policy is a good model to use in crafting legislation on this topic.