Proposed bills could increase book censorship in schools

Two new bills brewing in the Florida Senate and House may either leave some students and parents roaring with protest, or it may leave some students and parents joyful of their newfound “freedoms”. Both HB 989 and SB 1202 call for a change in the way classroom materials and books get approved and challenged. What the two bills plan to do is to make it easier for parents and students to remove materials they deem inappropriate from their school library or classrooms. While some criticize the bills as inviting increased censorship, others view the bill as a necessary action in order to have their voices heard about school books.

Sponsored by Tampa Bay-area Republican Tom Lee, the Senate bill would set up new procedures and a petition process for people to challenge books in school, even if challengers don’t have students in attendance at the school.

Junior Sebastian Rivera said while the bill would be good to help parents express their beliefs on books, it would also set a dangerous precedent.

“You have to live in a world where not everyone shares the same beliefs with you,” Rivera said. “The parents have the right to voice their opinions, but this is a dangerous path towards further censorship of the First Amendment.”

Sophomore Madhav Pamdimukkala does not favor increased legislation.

“We have the right to free speech and expression and that’s reflected in literature,” Pamdimukkala said. “If someone doesn’t like whats being expressed in literature, they have the right not to read it and ignore it rather than limit the number of reading opportunities for the other person.”

By Justin Ho