Florida school district rejects donated dictionaries due to Republican-led book freeze
Dictionaries donated by the Venice Rotary Club have been prohibited from being given to students in Sarasota County, Fla.
According to Herald-Tribune, "the Sarasota County School District stopped all donations and purchases of books for school libraries while it waits for additional guidance from the Florida Department of Education about how to navigate the effects of new education laws."
The book freeze is reportedly expected to last until the end of the year and took effect after the passing of House Bill (HB) 1467, signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) which went into effect on July 1.
The proposed piece of legislation required "all reading material in schools to be selected by an employee with a valid education media specialist certificate."
The news outlet reports that "the law set term limits for school board members, revised selection requirements for school materials, and required meetings related to instructional material to be public."
Gar Reese, a Venice Suncoast Rotary Club member, weighed in with his take on the situation as he expressed concern about the controversy.
"I would suspect somebody, anyone, could approve a dictionary in less than one minute," Reese said. "Why are we going through all this trouble?"
Craig Maniglia, the Sarasota County School District's director of communications, also discussed the hold on donations. He said, "the district's educational foundation partners have been contacted and will be kept in the loop on any changes to the freeze."
"Once we receive guidance from our legal team and receive direction from FDOE we will certainly reach out to our education partners with updates," Maniglia said. "We value their support and don't wish to jeopardize the wonderful relationships we have in place."
Reese also said, "It's really it's just kind of disappointing. Nobody wants to have an argument over a dictionary."