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New book ban challenges in Leon County

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jul 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-24 18:48:37-04

New book challenges for public schools.
Parents and advocacy groups are questioning if some books, including the Bible, should stay on shelves at schools like Hartsfield Elementary or not.

Fatimah Zaid-Paul's grandson is going into kindergarten this year. As she decides which school to send him to in the next few weeks, she's also considering what he might be taught.

"Books should be looked at," said Zaid-Paul. "They should be concerned about what our children look at and what they read."

Zaid-Paul isn't the only one concerned. New book challenges are being made throughout Leon County.

The Leon County School Board has voted to keep the book, "I am Billie Jean King", after a parent challenged it; saying it was inappropriate for elementary school students. This is one of the first parent challenges in Leon County in an effort to ban books across the district.

Zaid-Paul doesn't necessarily want to ban any books, but wants to make sure what they're learning is age appropriate.

"I want to keep books but I definitely want to make sure I look at and am aware of what he is learning or what any child is learning," said Zaid-Paul.

Now, a new book is being brought into question. The national group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, is now calling on the School Board to ban the Bible from all school district libraries. Annie Laurie Gaylor is the Co-President of FFRF. She said if there are going to be book bans, they need to be fair.

"Ban books for so called sexual content or graphic content, we have to warn them be careful what you wish for because the Bible is full of sexually graphic content and violence," said Gaylor.

I asked, "so the problem isn't specifically just with the Bible, its more of if these are the guidelines you're going by for other books, then it should also include this one?"

Gaylor responds, "the same rules have to apply including to the Bible. The Bible doesnt get a free pass just because some people believe it's holy."

Gaylor said their main goal is, "to fight book banning. we don't believe in book banning and we want to call attention."

Anyone in the district can fill out a book challenge form for the school board to decide if a book should be removed from classrooms or stay. However, Zaid-Paul thinks parents should have the final say.

"We have to keep in mind that we are the parents and the school board works for us, so it starts with us and what we do at home," said Zaid-Paul.

Gaylor said they're still waiting for a response form the school board about the challenge.