Florida Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal on Textbooks Being Used in Florida School District

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Attorneys for the parents’ rights group are asking ‘that every textbook be removed’

On March 18, the Florida Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal filed by the Collier County School Board over a lower court ruling stating the school board violated the state’s Sunshine Laws during its textbook selection process in the 2016–2017 school year.

Attorneys for the parents’ rights organization that filed the initial lawsuit assert that the same illegal process was used for the adoption of books for the 2021–2022 school year and have filed motions to have every textbook removed, or to have the court “order the school district to immediately start the textbook adoption process all over again.”

As explained on the website for Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, “Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine law provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the state and local levels,” and “virtually all state and local collegial public bodies are covered by the open meetings requirements.”

On Sept. 15, 2021, The Epoch Times reported that the Second District Court of Appeal of Florida had ruled the “textbook committee” process used by the Collier County School Board to review and approve textbooks had violated Florida’s Sunshine Laws.

“The Sunshine Law applies to the Textbook Committees, and the failure to give reasonable notice to the public of their meetings resulted in violations of the Sunshine Law,” the court concluded. “Further, the School Board did not cure the violations.”

“This has huge ramifications for every Florida school district that uses a committee to adopt and purchase textbooks,” Keith Flaugh, managing director of Florida Citizens Alliance, told The Epoch Times. “This rules that school boards who delegate textbook selection to their superintendent, who subsequently delegates to a committee, must operate in the sunshine with proper public notice of every committee meeting. It’s a huge win.”

Moreover, Flaugh contends that “every textbook that [Collier County Public Schools] has adopted since is tainted unless they can prove they cured the original public notice requirement of the Sunshine Law. It also means that the English Language Arts (ELA) and math textbooks that [Collier County Public Schools] just adopted on March 8 are null and void because all of their committee meetings to finalize those recommendations also failed to comply with the Sunshine Law and the basis for this original case.”

By Patricia Tolson

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