As students are set to return to school, a number of books will be absent from school libraries following the passage of a new a state law that prohibits materials in grades K-12 that contain “sexual content."
What You Need To Know
- Florida lawmakers recently passed a state law that prohibits materials in grades K-12 that contain "sexual content"
- As a result, some books have been challenged and removed from Brevard County public school libraries
- Officials say more books expected to be reviewed and removed this school year
- High school English teacher Adam Tritt says he has been collecting removed books and has set up a safe space where students can read them if they want
In Brevard County, the school district formed a book review committee to help with the process of determining what books won’t be allowed, but the process has not been without controversy.
Critics say the new law could end up banning valuable pieces of literature.
Adam Tritt, an English teacher at Bayside High School, says he has been collecting books banned from Brevard and other schools around the nation since 2022.
Storing them in his home and in a trailer, Tritt has set up a book exchange on his lawn where anyone can take a book home to read.
“We did this to increase access to a broad range of ideas,” he said.
But Tritt says his actions have come at a price — which has included threats to his life.
“That’s why I don’t answer the phone anymore," he said. "Because I get rape threats and death threats. I find them unpleasant."
He says his book-saving crusade has gotten to the point where it has taken on a life of its own.
The English teacher has set up a safe space in Ben and Jerry’s in Melbourne where anyone can read books that have been removed from schools.
“'Kite Runner' is banned in Brevard County," he said. "'Crank' is banned in Brevard County. 'Out of Darkness' is banned in Brevard County.”
Ben & Jerry’s store owner Jessica Shaw said she is proud to have the books in her ice cream shop.
“He’s the one that put his job on the line — he’s an English teacher," she said. "He’s the one taking the risk here. We just want to support him."
Shaw says she understands that some parents don’t want their children reading certain books, but argued that the current situation goes deeper than that because books are being removed from schools.
“It’s not just one parent and one book," Shaw said. "It’s one parent and a list of 300 books that they think are inappropriate for their children, and I understand that.
"If they think a book is inappropriate for their child, they should not read it. But the issue here is removing it from every other child."
So far Brevard County has removed three books and plans to review three more by the end of the month.
In total, district officials say there are 32 titles listed for review.