Florida Governor Rick Scott [R] has signed CS/CS/HB 989: Instructional Materials, sponsored by Rep Byron Donalds [R-Naples, @ByronDonalds, (239) 417-6270], and that means that anyone in Florida, regardless of whether they are the parent of a Florida pupil, can ask for an "unbiased hearing officer" to censor the teaching materials used in Florida classrooms.
Advocates of the bill signalled that they would use it to contest the teaching of evolution and climate change in science classes, and to have books removed from Florida classrooms and school libraries as "pornographic."
The legislation, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) last week and went into effect Saturday, requires school boards to hire an "unbiased hearing officer" who will handle complaints about instructional materials, such as movies, textbooks and novels, that are used in local schools. Any parent or county resident can file a complaint, regardless of whether they have a student in the school system. If the hearing officer deems the challenge justified, he or she can require schools to remove the material in question.
The statute includes general guidelines about what counts as grounds for removal: belief that the material is "pornographic" or "is not suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented, or is inappropriate for the grade level and age group."
New Florida law lets any resident challenge what's taught in science classes
[Sarah Kaplan/Washington Post/Orlando Sentinel]