School book fairs are on hold in one Central Florida school district as administrators continue to determine how best to adhere to new legislation passed this year, including the Parental Rights in Education law.
What You Need To Know
- Officials in Seminole County say school book fairs have been put on hold
- They said a lack of guidance from the state — in light of the new Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by its critics — prompted the move
- School administrators in Orange and Osceola counties said they would be holding book fairs this year as they have in the past
Seminole County Public School administrators say the legislation, dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by its critics, prompted the district to prioritize guidance related to instructional materials, classroom libraries and media centers before determining what impacts, if any, the legislation would have on book fairs.
Without that guidance, district officials said they had to put those book fairs on hold.
Spectrum News asked Gov. Ron DeSantis if his administration would issue further guidance about what’s allowed, and what’s not, when it comes to book fairs.
“This is not rocket-science, OK?" DeSantis said, in response to the question about book fairs. "You do not have pornographic material in elementary school or middle school."
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One Florida mother said the COVID-19 pandemic already limited what books students were able to read, and this should be a time when they are given access to more, not less.
“To have something that’s so vital to children’s literacy as a pending item is sad, because the children love the book fairs,” said Hallie Elduff. “They’re able to get excited about reading, which is something that in this day and age with technology — they’re competing all over for attention — and I think to have those book fairs, a presence in their school, is a necessity.”
Seminole County school administrators say students already have their English language arts and math textbooks.
School administrators in both Orange and Osceola counties said book fairs are scheduled for this school year, while administrators in both Lake and Marion counties said book fairs are up to each individual school.