PUTNAM COUNTY, FL – The Putnam County School District is under fire after making the controversial decision to remove three books from its summer reading list after parents refuse.
The three books – including a book by comedian and “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah on apartheid in South Africa titled “Born of a crime”- had been included on a summer reading list at QI Roberts Jr-Sr High School in Florahome.
Putnam County School District Community Relations Director Ashley McCool released the following statement in response to a request from News4Jax:
“The English department at QI Roberts Jr / Sr High School, along with school administrators, has developed a summer reading list for students,” McCool said in an email. “Some families were concerned about the content of some of the books. All parents were given other student book options.
McCool added that although the books were removed from the reading list, they were not removed from the school’s media center. McCool did not immediately clarify what content in the books was about parents.
“The teachers in the English department selected the titles with the support of school administrators,” McCool said.
The Putnam County Democratic Party (PCDP) issued a statement last week condemning the withdrawal of the books.
“This country is proud of our First Amendment free speech rights. Instead, we’re canceling writers who explicitly tell us what great America is like, ”PCDP Education Acting Chairman Mike Eidson said in a press release.
The PCDP said it appears that photos of very specific passages in the texts were shared with and between the parents, along with cries of “indoctrination”.
Within days, the school was forced to change the summer reading list, the group said.
Rather than an alternative being listed for families who objected to the books, all written by foreign authors, the Putnam County School District chose to change the list of books for all students.
“The Kite Runner” is a friendship story set in Afghanistan during the Soviet military intervention and has already been the subject of controversy.
“Atonement” is a 2001 novel that “Time” magazine named its list of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923.
Republican lawmakers like Gov. Ron DeSantis have been criticized for focusing on Florida reading material for students.
DeSantis supported the Florida Board of Education’s decision earlier this month to ban the teaching of “critical race theory” in Florida classrooms. Critics said it was an attempt to whitewash history and keep conversations about race out of schools.
Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.