CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — The most recent district to have a book ban or book removal to come to light is Wakulla County. Though the removal of the graphic novel, The Little Rock Nine, from Wakulla elementary schools was resolved in October of last year.
"That's what we're seeing in a lot of districts is one parent complains and because of all the rhetoric," said Raegan Miller, director of development for the Florida Freedom to Read Project. "They err on the side of caution, they're threatened with a third degree felony, or you could lose your teaching license."
The Florida Freedom to Read Project made a records request and posted about the removal of the book on their Twitter several days ago. Miller says they do believe in parental rights but not when it impedes on the decisions of other parents.
"I understand the language is harsh but it is history and it was not part of the curriculum it was simply a book in a library and exercise your parental rights that way and opt your child out of the library instead of removing access for all children," said Miller.
Jessica Compton is the parent who filed the complaint to Riversink Elementary School. I asked her for an interview but she did not want to go on camera she did send me a statement saying that she said she read Little Rock Nine by Marshall Poe after her 9-year-old stated her library book had profanity in it. She felt the book was inappropriate for her age.
That inappropriate comment included racial slurs in the book. The book chronicles 9 African Americans, the first group of students to desegregate Little Rock Central High school in the 50s.
Assistant Superintendent Sunny Chancy sent me this statement saying:
"In accordance with Florida Statutes, and Wakulla School Board Policy, concerns regarding curriculum from parents and community members are appropriately reviewed. The outcome of the review for the book in question was the recommendation to move the book from elementary school to a grade level deemed more appropriate. This does not constitute a ban, as WCSB students will still have the opportunity to read the book during their K-12 experience."
Miller said for parents that are frustrated with book bans and removals the best thing they can do is speak up.
"The majority of people want their children to have access to information and no one is advocating for pornography, we just want our children to have access to information and read freely in a library," said Miller.
ABC27 tried to find a copy of The Little Rock Nine book today and many stores in Tallahassee didn't have it.
Florida Freedom to Read Project pointed out that copies in a library might be a child's only access to a specific book.