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St. Johns Committee Upholds Books Despite Objections

Overview: In a recent meeting of the St. Johns County District Media Advisory Committee, a noteworthy debate took place over the appropriateness of two books, “19 Minutes” by Jodi Picoult and “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, for school libraries. The meeting was chaired by Don Sapp, the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and saw discussions regarding the objections raised against these books, which were ultimately deemed appropriate for school students in grades nine and above.

Overview: In a recent meeting of the St. Johns County District library book objection committee, two books were at the center of debate: “Fire Force Book One” by Atsuki Ohkubo and “Half a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Adichie. The committee, which included an acting chair responsible for curriculum and instruction, weighed the objections to these books based on concerns of explicit content and their suitability for school libraries. The objections to “Fire Force Book One” hinged on its explicit content, including sexual activities, nudity, and sexual assault, which the objector claimed violated Florida statutes, while “Half a Yellow Sun” faced scrutiny for sexual activities, profanity, violence, and inflammatory racial commentary.

Overview: Clay County School Board’s recent meeting addressed financial decisions and educational strategies, with a primary focus on borrowing funds for school construction and improvements to reading intervention programs. A resolution was presented for the adoption of certificates of participation that would enable the district to borrow $36 million for constructing new wings at two junior high schools and to retire existing debt. The board also discussed the Lexia reading program and its impact on student achievement in reading proficiency.

Overview: In a decisive meeting, the St. Johns County District Media Advisory Committee addressed an objection to the inclusion of the book “Storm and Fury” by Jennifer Armentrout in the district’s school libraries. The objection, raised by a party identified as Ms. Moore, cited concerns over obscene content and the suitability of the material for minor students. The book, housed in high school collections for grades 9 through 12, was scrutinized based on a checklist that aligns with Florida statutes governing educational materials. By the conclusion of the meeting, the committee recommended retaining the book for the designated grade level, with the outcome of the vote being eight to retain versus three to remove.

Overview: The St. Johns County District Media Advisory Committee recently addressed objections raised against two books, “33 Snowfish” by Adam Rapp and “Strange Truth” by Maggie Thrash, which are available in school libraries. The meeting, live-streamed to the public in compliance with the Sunshine Law, revolved around concerns over the books’ content, including their depiction of sexual themes, profanity, and other mature content. After thorough discussions, the committee ultimately voted to retain both books in the library for student access starting at the ninth-grade level, despite split votes and differing opinions on several aspects of the debate.

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