JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a strong defense of his administration’s education policies at a news conference in Jacksonville on Tuesday. He focused on how they review and remove “inappropriate” content from schools.
“Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates” by Jonah Winter and Ral Colón, which is about the famous Puerto Rican baseball player, was taken out of Duval County schools recently as part of a “review” to see if it was appropriate for students of that age.
In September, the District told WJXT that the decision to take 176 books off the shelves for review had nothing to do with complaints from parents. A lot of the books were about race, gender, or being gay or straight.
A blurb for the Clemente book talks about how the outfielder had to deal with racism.
“As a right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he faced tough opponents and even tougher racism, but his unbelievable catches and quick feet earned him the nickname “The Great One,” it says.
WJXT says that the 176 books were bought as part of the “Essential Voices” collection, which is a hand-picked list of books about diversity and inclusion.
Concerns about banning books were mostly brushed off by DeSantis.
DeSantis said, “Every time you hear something that seems so crazy, just know that they made it up to try to make a story.”
The governor said that it was all because of politics.
“Hurry up. We know who Roberto Clemente is, after all,” he said. “I mean, come on. That’s how politics works.”
DeSantis made a guess about who was at fault.
He said, “I think the school unions have something to do with this.”
The governor didn’t back up his claim with evidence, but he did tell reporters that they could ask for public records on communications to find out more.
DeSantis said, “I don’t think parents are questioning that. I think they’re doing it on their own to make a problem.” “But that can be taken care of in less than two minutes. And, you know, our Department of Education will get to work right away if they need any kind of help with that. But none of these things are real. 99% of these things are just made. It’s not where you should spend your time.”