New Legislation Will Help Local Moms for Liberty More Quickly Remove Pornographic Material from Schools

Posted on May 31, 2023 by Romi White

Mariya Calkins, founder of the Santa Rosa Chapter of Moms for Liberty, leads the group’s May 30 meeting at the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Romi White.

Around two dozen people packed the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce conference room Tuesday evening for Moms for Liberty’s Santa Rosa County Chapter’s monthly meeting during which members discussed the July 1 start of new state legislation which expands their book-challenging power.

Recently the group compiled a list of 65 books they want removed from student access via Santa Rosa County Schools due to pornographic, sexually explicit, drug-related or other content they find concerning. Current district policy allows books and material to remain accessible during a complaint review process.

“We want these books to be out of our libraries as soon as possible,” said Mariya Calkins, founder of the Santa Rosa Chapter.

Calkins told attendees the school district is pushing back and wants group representatives to meet individually with librarians at multiple schools.

But members say that’s an onerous, time-consuming task.

It might also be an unnecessary one, considering the new legislation which goes into effect July 1.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on May 17 signed HB 1069, which eases the process for objecting school library books and instruction materials. It also requires books or materials be removed within five days of a complaint and remain inaccessible during the review period.

During Tuesday’s chapter meeting, long-time educator Vicki Baggett, who spearheaded efforts to remove what she describes as “obscene” material from Escambia County School District, shared tips on how to get content removed.

Baggett showed excerpts from some of the books which have been removed from Escambia County School District, including “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which describes anal sex. She also showed explicit pornographic images from “Zahra’s Paradise,” a book Moms for Liberty says remains available via Santa Rosa schools despite their recent objection.

Baggett went on to say she has been vilified by left-wing media outlets for her efforts. “I did not care. This was inappropriate.”

Penguin Random House, the nation’s largest book publisher, along with a free-speech organization and a group of parents and authors on May 17 filed a lawsuit against Escambia County School District and school board, claiming the removal of certain books violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

Moms for Liberty plan to attend the Thursday, June 15 Santa Rosa County School Board meeting to speak out about their objections and the district’s review process with respect to the new legislation. That meeting will take place starting at 9 a.m. at Central School, located at 6180 Central School Road in the Allentown community north of Milton.

The next Moms for Liberty meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 27 at the Chamber conference room, located at 4315 Avalon Boulevard in Milton.