Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

< Back to Home


Dumbest law of the month…#2

Okay, this isn’t a law, rather a school board ruling.

But it is so amazingly, blindingly, completely stupid that it beggars belief.

Last June the duly-elected Escambia County School Board  banned 8 dictionaries and encyclopedias because they…wait for it…contain depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct.

Who knows if these vile, disgusting, immoral books contained anything problematic…but under Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, one parent – yup, just one – can force a school to pull a book from its shelves and conduct a lengthy review to ascertain if it is – according to some made-up criteria – inappropriate for that school.

So, let’s see…what could qualify?

  • A parent kissing their spouse?
  • Reproduction by an earthworm?
  • A trout laying eggs?
  • A medical textbook describing intercourse?

Those are all “sexual conduct…

That’s not the worst of it. Under Florida’s law, ANY parent could force a school too pull ANY book – which could include…the Biblewhich does reference various activities that could be construed as “sexual conduct”.

What does this mean for you?

Don’t let your kids go to Escambia County schools.



2 thoughts on “Dumbest law of the month…#2”

  1. Once again Joe, you are misguided, this time relative to the “book ban” from the Escambia County School Board. Had you taken the time to look deeper into the actual law and issue before the local school board you would have noted there have been no dictionaries banned. In fact, why don’t you publish or include in your column of today the statement from the school board superintendent himself relative to the knee jerk reaction of those on the left. In part, superintendent, Leonard stated, “Superintendent Keith Leonard sent WEAR News a statement, reading in part:

    I would like to take this opportunity to address recent media attention surrounding the ongoing library books lawsuit in Escambia County, Florida. I want to clarify that our district has not imposed a ‘ban’ on over 1600 books. Additionally, the dictionary has not been banned in our district. Any claims suggesting otherwise are inaccurate and should be disregarded. It is regrettable, yet not unexpected, that certain media outlets choose to sensationalize this situation. Our school district, and especially our dedicated media specialists, remain committed to adhering to all statutes and regulations, while also providing valuable and varied literacy opportunities for every student.”– perhaps you can offer actual evidence to back up your claim as you are (so rightly ) data driven.

    1. Hello David, and thanks for your comment.

      Allow me, if you would, to respond.

      First, I took a lot of time in researching the post. Unfortunately it appears you missed a couple key issues/facts/public statements in your comment; allow me to elucidate.

      I certainly appreciate you addressing my use of the word “ban” – while many other media outlets, news organizations and other reports used the word “ban” (see here for some; perhaps “temporarily banned” or “removed from the shelves” would have been more precise.


      In fact, the dictionaries and encyclopedias WERE removed from the shelves.

      While we do not know – as of today – whether they were returned to the shelves, we do know that as of mid-December of 2023 (different sources use different dates) those books – and many others – were still not on the shelves, or, as I prefer, “temporarily banned pending finalization of a review.”

      It does appear the “dictionary” (sic) may be back on the shelves, although we do not know this, nor the fate of the other books.

      From Snopes:
      In a statement published by the Pensacola News Journal on Jan. 11, 2024, district spokesperson Cody Strother said the books on the Florida Freedom to Read’s list “have not been banned or removed from the school district” but “have simply been pulled for further review to ensure compliance with the new legislation.”

      Not sure how Mr Strother can say the books have “not been removed from the school district” when in the next breath he says they have been “pulled”.

      Perhaps they are located somewhere in the School District, maybe in a closet, or safe, or other protected area to ensure children or young adults don’t encounter upsetting information.

      That said, the reality is these books – and more than a thousand others, were pulled from the shelves by the Escambia County School District and therefore not were available to students for approximately seven months or more. Here is the list –

      I’d note that what is REALLY troubling here is under Florida’s law, ANY person can ask for any or all books to be pulled from a school’s shelves – and the school MUST pull them all pending “review”.

      So, if someone doesn’t like, say the Bible because…well, because it refers to sexual conduct, that person can ask for it to be “pulled from the shelves pending review.”

      And that someone has now prevented you and every other parent from choosing what books your kids cannot read…I hope we can agree that this is flat out wrong.

      Oh, and for anyone who wants to read the entire new report cited by “David” it is here. It provides a detailed discussion of the Superintendent’s verbiage and the process involved.

      David, I trust this “actual evidence” is helpful in increasing the depth of your understanding of the issue. If you need additional evidence, there is a plethora available on the internet.

      be well – Joe

Comments are closed.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



© Joe Paduda 2024. We encourage links to any material on this page. Fair use excerpts of material written by Joe Paduda may be used with attribution to Joe Paduda, Managed Care Matters.

Note: Some material on this page may be excerpted from other sources. In such cases, copyright is retained by the respective authors of those sources.