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New Florida Rule Proposed to Amplify Bias in Book Challenges – Tampa Bay Times



Last Updated on August 10, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Proposed Rule Limiting Parental Access to Special Magistrate Challenged in Hernando County

Word Count: 346

In Hernando County, a proposed rule has been met with dissatisfaction from a parent who believes that it would restrict their ability to challenge decisions regarding school books. This rule has caused concern among parents who strongly feel that if a decision affects their child, they should have the right to dispute it.

The parent argues that this rule directly contradicts the intent of the law that permits parents to appeal school district decisions on books. They firmly believe that imposing limitations on access to the appeals process will heavily skew decisions in favor of the objecting party, rather than ensuring a fair and comprehensive evaluation of all viewpoints.

Supported by the Florida Freedom to Read Project, it is suggested that appeals should be accessible to all individuals, regardless of whether they object to the books or not. The group references a recent controversy surrounding the children’s book “And Tango Makes Three” to emphasize the necessity of having the option to challenge decisions and retain materials on the shelves.

By granting parents access to the special magistrate option, it would provide an opportunity to avoid expensive legal expenses that would arise from questioning a district’s actions. This alternative would allow for a more efficient and cost-effective resolution process.

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State Senator Tina Polsky acknowledges that the proposed rule may not align with the intended purpose of the legislation. However, she believes that challenging it in court may face significant hurdles due to the present political climate in Florida’s courts.

Parents, expressing their dissatisfaction through social media platforms, have expressed their intentions to file objections in September if local officials decide to retain the materials following the State Board’s consideration of the proposed magistrate rule.

As parents continue to voice their concerns and seek a solution, the fate of this proposed rule in Hernando County hangs in the balance. With their children’s education and access to literature at stake, parents are determined to ensure their voices are heard in the ongoing dialogue surrounding this crucial issue.

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