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Bad Books in Schools

Written By: Jon Friedt on August 15, 2022

The current “solution” offered by the Polk County School Board is a burecratic joke!!! Is it intended to be? What do we do? What makes it worse is that the window of opportunity closes on Wednesday, August 17.

Over the past few months, I have been engaged in an effort to keep books with inappropriate content off the shelves of our public school libraries. I decided to purchase the 16 books that were in question in Polk County so I could see for myself if this supposed vial content really existed. I was absolutely shocked. What I saw in illustrated pictures and the words in print were even worse than what was publically being talked about. The vast majority of what I saw with my own eyes was absolutely what I would consider “normalization” and “grooming”. One particular book is even titled “It’s perfectly normal”.

This content should not be on our school bookshelves and it is up to us to do something about it. We joined others in approaching the public and the Polk School Board about the books. The Polk School Board took up the matter but the majority of board members did not seem to be bothered by the content of the books at all.  A review committee was formed as directed by Mr. Heid, the Superintendent of Schools, and my own mother was a participant. My mother has been in education for nearly 50 years and is an Early Childhood Development Specialist however, her opinions were not respected any more than a minor child also in the committee. The books were ultimately accepted and in some cases, their availability was expanded. An “Opt-In/Opt-Out” program was established as a solution but then, after the coaxing of a few school board members, the Opt-In portion was removed. It is now only an Opt-Out.

What a sham!!! So, what do we do now?

If the Polk School Board uses the numbers of parents that use the Opt-Out program as any type of metric of parental concern, then it is absolutely necessary that every parent that does not want pornographic, sexually violent, and other outrageously inappropriate content on our school library shelves to participate in the Opt-Out program.

Unfortunately, you may find this process very difficult as I have found it to be.
Did they make it difficult on purpose? Is it simply a “throw them a bone to get them to shut up” approach? Will you, as a parent or guardian, go through the hoops to protect your children? I hope you do.

This is what you should do…

  1. Follow the instructions given by Polk Schools (instructions)
    If it works easily for you, GREAT!
  2. Contact the Superintendant and ask for help and kindly express your disapproval of the decision and the process for the “Opt-Out”. (863-534-0521 or frederick.heid@polk-fl.net)
  3. Don’t give up! If you have the same experience that I have had you will have to make several phone calls and send several emails. The school system personnel are generally wonderful, kind, and helpful people but they are not informed or equipped.

This “Opt-Out” is not a solution. It is a distraction. The only solution acceptable is to remove such perverse material from our schools and school libraries forever.