DeSantis decries ‘book ban hoax,’ claiming media, others have it all wrong

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday pushed back against the idea that his administration is haphazardly banning books from the state’s school libraries.

Speaking at a news conference in Tampa, he decried what he called a “book ban hoax.”

It’s a topic the governor has spoken about frequently in recent weeks, at one point calling the controversy “manufactured.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis presented a nearly six-minute video with what his administration calls “myths” about efforts to remove what he describes as graphic or sexually explicit, combined with snippets of news clips and “facts” about what the state is doing.

“We’ve already exposed with that video I think this idea of a book ban in Florida, that somehow they don’t want books in the library, that’s a hoax,” he said.

The governor mentioned four particular books he said were found in libraries, including one book his administration claims was found in a Broward County school, “Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human.”

“(It) was found in a Broward County school and contains graphic depictions about how to f--- for males and females,” a narrator in DeSantis’ video says.

Ana Fusco, who heads Broward’s teachers’ union, questioned who put the book there and when.

“I find it a little bit suspect they didn’t name the school, when it was found, how it was found,” Fusco said. “Did it have a history of being checked multiple times?”

DeSantis-appointed Broward school board member Torey Alston spoke at Wednesday’s news conference.

“In Broward County schools, I too have seen inappropriate material in our classrooms and I’m proud that we have removed graphic material that no one in elementary or middle school should have been exposed to,” Alston said.

Fusco defended teachers and staff.

“Nobody that works in our public school system is trying to or sitting around saying ‘here, let me purposely put inappropriate content,’” she said. “We don’t have time for that. We want to teach our students. We want them on reading level. We want to move and make gains. We want to nurture them.”

About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.