RALLY: Ban Off Our Books
Monday, January 08, 2024, 05:30pm
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school board

Location Duval School Board - 1701 Prudential Drive
As public school parents and community members of Duval County, we are deeply upset at the un-American book bans happening across Florida. You could imagine our surprise then, when extremists brought book-banning tactics to the Duval County School Board meetings in 2023. What does this look like?

Pick an advanced book with challenging material, including graphic sections. It is important to note--these books are not pornography and have literary merit. Also important to note--these are books usually read at the high school or college level, or available in those libraries for personal selection.
Read the graphic sections out loud at school board meetings, out of context. Try to get the board to stop you out of discomfort.
Insinuate that these books are being forced onto very young students and/or are otherwise in service of a nefarious plot. Use words like "porn", "groomer", "pedophile", "trans", etc.
Try to get the board to act outside of their usual literary review process by pulling the book for review at the meeting.
This is what book banning looks like in 2024. This is all a distraction from the underlying battles: to defund public schools, to make teachers' jobs impossible, to fool parents into thinking that public education is lost and to choose private schooling or homeschooling. The books we are losing are the ones that are the most diverse, the ones with Black and brown or queer characters, the ones that challenge us to look outside ourselves like a window.

We will not stand for this. Our kids deserve access to diverse reading material so they can experience new ideas and learn to think for themselves. We know the majority of Americans and Floridians oppose book bans.

We ask that our majority stand with us in 2024. Start by joining us on Monday, January 8 at the Duval County School Board meeting. We'll rally at 5:30 pm outside, hearing from organizations like 904Ward, Families for Strong Public Schools, Rebel Readers, Moms Rising, Equality Florida, and Freedom to Read Project. Then at 6 pm, we'll head inside to stand together as a community in support of the freedom to read. If you want to speak to the board, sign in to get a blue card before 6:20 pm.

Tell the School Board and our Community:

In America, we celebrate free speech and independent thinking! Outside groups that do not represent the majority of Duval families are trying to impose a reactionary agenda on our kids through shock tactics.
There is a commonsense policy and process for challenging/reviewing books for appropriate content. The Board should require that citizens follow this process or use the opt-out option for their students. Parents can decide what is right for our children, but other people don’t get to dictate what is right for other families.
Board members suggesting that all books on “any list” should be used as a blueprint and removed from our schools and classrooms automatically - thus bypassing the established review process for age-appropriateness - are engaged in politically-motivated book banning.
Sign up at our Mobilize link here: https://bit.ly/Jan8Rally.

When our kids can read, they can succeed. Join us to stand together against extremist book bans. See you on Monday!

-Public School Defenders of Duval County

Northside Coalition

Northside Coalition of Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida

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