St. Johns County Schools Rejects Objection to ‘Later Gator,’ Upholds Book in High School Libraries

In a recent St. Johns County Schools meeting, the District Library Book Objection Committee convened to address an objection to the book “Later Gator” by Laura Miracle. The objection cited the book’s references to sexual activity, nudity, profanity, alcohol use by minors, and more. Upon review, the committee unanimously voted to retain the book for high school level students, grades 9-12.

The meeting began with an introduction by the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Jean Moore, the objecting party, presented her case, highlighting explicit excerpts from the book and questioning their alignment with the school district’s educational values and character pillars.

The committee, after a review process involving the objecting party’s materials, professional source reviews, and Florida statutes, moved to a discussion. Members weighed in on the book’s content against the criteria set by Florida statute regarding pornography, sexual conduct, and suitability for student needs and comprehension.

A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to this discussion, with the committee eventually casting votes on a series of questions designed to determine whether the book violated any of the outlined statutory reasons. These included whether the material was pornographic, depicted sexual conduct as defined by Florida law, was unsuited to student needs, or was inappropriate for the grade level and age group.

For each question, the committee voted ‘no,’ indicating that they did not find the book to be in violation of any of the statutory reasons for removal. One committee member articulated that the material, while explicit, did not meet the full criteria to be considered pornographic under Florida law, as it possessed serious literary value for minors. Another emphasized the relevance of the book’s content to the experiences of high school students.

In the concluding phase of the meeting, the committee members solidified their recommendation to Superintendent Tim Forson to retain the book in the high school library collections. The recommendation was made with unanimous consent, and members agreed to submit their acknowledgment of participation in the decision to the superintendent.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Tim Forson
School Board Officials:
Beverly Slough, Anthony E. Coleman Sr., Jennifer Collins, Kelly Barrera, Patrick Canan, Sarah Wilcox (Executive Secretary/Bookkeeper), Frank D. Upchurch, III (School Board Attorney)

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