Thousands of educators protest Florida book ban at Freedom to Learn rally
Educators from across the country are speaking out against new Florida education policies that include banning some books from classrooms. Thousands protested Florida book-banning policies Wednesday in the sweat-inducing heat, outside of the Orange County Convention Center for the Freedom to Learn rally.
The protesters consisted of educators from all over the country, who have been in town for the National Education Association’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly, which was inside the Convention Center.
Protesters were united in a chorus of “When we fight. We win” demonstrating against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ policies to ban books, which he put into effect last year. Some of those books have included topics of African American Studies and the LBGTQ+ community.
Becky Pringle is the NEA President. She spoke at the rally and said Florida’s book ban policies will not spread across the country so long as the NEA opposes them.
“We won't stand by idly as you Ron DeSantis continued to target our students and educators Floridians all over the state, while you are trying to run to be in the White House, not on our watch,” she said. “We will demand liberty for students and educators, not just here, but all across the nation. They deserve the freedom to learn."
Among the attendees sweating in the heat was Ruby Jiles, of Montgomery Alabama. She's been a teacher for over 30 years and said continued book bannings in Florida could have a domino effect on other states. She wants to see it come to an end.
"It affects everyone all across the world," Jiles said. "Don't we read all across the world? Doesn't that impact all of our schools? That's why it matters."
According to a report bythe Poets, Essayists, and Novelists of America, Florida has banned the second-greatest total of books tallying 357 books last year between July and December. Texas was ranked ahead with 438.
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