In response to the articles released on January 26, 2022 by The Ledger and Lkldnow on the topic of Polk County Public Schools’ removal of 16 books from Polk County school libraries, County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF-USA) releases the following statement:
Through a public records request, CCDF-USA obtained a list of books containing obscene material which potentially violates two Florida State Statutes (FS 847.001 and FS 847.012), and are available to minors in seventy-nine Polk County public school libraries. CCDF-USA staff members carefully read and reviewed each of the books in question and compared them to the afore mentioned statutes. CCDF-USA believes the content within the pages of these books is not appropriate for distribution to minors, especially in a public-school library.
CCDF-USA staff members met with PCPS officials to discuss the inappropriate content found within these books. CCDF-USA welcomes the engagement of The Ledger and Lkldnow in raising public awareness on this matter and appreciates Superintendent Frederick Heid and the Polk County School Board for their quick and courageous action to quarantine these books for further review.
““It is important to note that these 16 books have not been censored or banned at this time. They have been removed so a thorough, thoughtful review of their content can take place,” said Jason Geary, spokesman for Polk County Public Schools, adding that these books will not be available to students while under review.” – Lkldnow
CCDF-USA recognizes that these books have been written by award-winning authors and produced by renowned publishers, however the issue at hand is the content of the books in question describing in graphic detail several sensitive topics including sexual assault, rape, failure to address mental illness as a cause of suicide, racism, incest, child molestation, offensive language, sexually explicit material, bestiality, necrophilia, infanticide, and violence.
Additionally, CCDF-USA supports and protects the parental right to determine the appropriateness of the curriculum and supplemental content their children are consuming at school.
CCDF-USA welcomes open discussion with any concerned citizens or organizations to review and provide examples of these findings.
Obscenity Statute FS 847.001 (3, 6, 8, and 10):
(3) “Child pornography” means any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct.
(6) “Harmful to minors” means any reproduction, imitation, characterization, description, exhibition, presentation, or representation, of whatever kind or form, depicting nudity, sexual conduct, or sexual excitement when it:
(a) Predominantly appeals to a prurient, shameful, or morbid interest;
(b) Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for minors; and
(c) Taken as a whole, is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
(8) “Minor” means any person under the age of 18 years.
(10) “Obscene” means the status of material which:
(a) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
(b) Depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct as specifically defined herein; and
(c) Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
As well as Statute FS 847.012 (3a, 3b, 5, and 6):
(3) A person may not knowingly sell, rent, or loan for monetary consideration to a minor:
(a) Any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, videocassette, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body which depicts nudity or sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors; or
(b) Any book, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter however reproduced, or sound recording that contains any matter defined in s. 847.001, explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, or sexual conduct and that is harmful to minors.
(5) An adult may not knowingly distribute to a minor on school property, or post on school property, any material described in subsection (3). As used in this subsection, the term “school property” means the grounds or facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, or secondary school, whether public or nonpublic. This subsection does not apply to the distribution or posting of school-approved instructional materials that by design serve as a major tool for assisting in the instruction of a subject or course by school officers, instructional personnel, administrative personnel, school volunteers, educational support employees, or managers as those terms are defined in s. 1012.01.