Cerabino: Since when must school library books "convey the government's message"?

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In case you missed it, Florida Attorney Gen. Ashley Moody is arguing in court that the purpose of books in public school libraries in the state is to “convey the government’s message.”

Seriously. She even wrote it down.

“Viewpoint-based educational choices are constitutionally permissible because public-school systems, including their libraries, convey the government’s message, and when the government speaks, it may regulate the content of … its own message,” her office wrote.

The filing is part of a lawsuit filed by PEN America, Penguin Random House and a group of authors, parents and students who claim their First Amendment rights have been violated by the Escambia County School District for its practice of removing books “based on ideological objections to their contents or disagreement with their messages or themes.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is a supporter of new efforts in Florida to ban books from school libraries
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is a supporter of new efforts in Florida to ban books from school libraries

And Moody’s position is that’s a valid reason to ban reading materials. That school libraries are an arm of the DeSantis Administration, and library books available for students to read may be culled to eliminate any material that doesn’t conform to the empowered current government’s worldview or political objectives.

Oh, boy. It’s time to do a bunch of rewriting.

Here’s a start to bringing some problematic school library reading material into compliance:

Title and author: Black Boy, by Richard Wright

Problem: Details the brutal, systematic racism of the American South in the 20th Century, and the journey of the author to find a better life.

New Title: Proud Boy, by Enrico Tarrio.

Fix: Details the brutal, systematic prosecution of January 6 insurrectionists for speaking up about an election that raised lots of questions.


Title and author: And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Problem: The story of two male penguins who make a family together.

New Title: And Bridget Makes Three, by Christian Ziegler

Fix: The Republican Party Chairman tells his story about saving America, and the importance of including your wife in your plans rather than going solo.


Title and author: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Problem: Too "woke" story about a black man who gets unjustly convicted by a white jury in Alabama.

New Title and Author: To Kill a Seminole, by Mike Norvell

Fix: Florida State University football team gets unjustly excluded from national championship contention by an Alabama-friendly jury.


Title and author: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Problem: Futuristic dystopian novel about a society where books are banned.

New Title: Carbon Monoxide 350, by Ron DeSantis

Fix: Current-day true story about a state government that bans $350 million in federal energy-efficiency grants to reduce tailpipe emissions.


Title and Author: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Problem: The overall theme is the injustice powerless women face in a patriarchal society.

New Title and Author: The Happy Breeders Tale, by Casey Of-DeSantis

Fix: Florida women celebrate new criminal sanctions against themselves that supplant their reproductive rights.


Title and Author: Tricks, by Ellen Hopkins

Problem: Novel about teenagers who fall into prostitution as they search for safety.

New Title and Author: Tricked, by Florida Surgeon Gen. Joe Ladapo

Fix: Story about Floridians who fall for getting vaccinated as they search for safety.


Title and Author: Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman

Problem: Girl comes to appreciate being raised by two lesbian women.

New Title: Heather Has Two Vouchers, by Florida Secretary of Education Manny Diaz Jr.

Fix: Girl comes to appreciate avoiding Florida’s big-government indoctrination camps (traditional public schools) by getting taxpayer-funded vouchers to unaccountable private schools.

Frank Cerabino is a news columnist with The Palm Beach Post, part of the Gannett Newspapers chain.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: School libraries serve as gov't propaganda outlets, according Fla. AG