Last Updated on October 16, 2022
A Florida school district has reversed course after its board previously voted to remove the Holy Bible from its school libraries. The Bible was removed after a resident complained that it “causes religious trauma syndrome.” The citizen ultimately filed a complaint with the Escambia County Public Schools alleging the Bible “promotes sexism, sex, violence, genocide, slavery, rape and bestiality.”
Escambia County Public Schools is currently reviewing 127 books, over 100 of which were put on the list by a veteran language arts teacher over her concerns that the books contained what she described as sexual messaging, bestiality and rape, according to a report from the Pensacola News Journal. The Bible was added to the list of challenged books after resident Sarah Holland filed her complaint on October 7.
Last Sunday, district schools were told to remove the Bible from their libraries and place it in the restricted section pending review. On Wednesday, the district reversed course and instructed staff to place the book back on school library shelves, according to ECPS Communications Coordinator Cody Strother.
Holland wrote in the appeal that the Bible includes accounts of sexism, sex, violence, genocide, slavery, rape and bestiality, all of which should be grounds for removal, she argued. Other objections to the book include “examples of eating children” and a claim that the Bible causes “religious trauma syndrome,” the Pensacola News Journal reported.
Holland also argued the purpose of Bible was to “indoctrinate children in Christianity.”
Once the book was challenged, the book was immediately removed and placed on the school’s review list. This did not last long, however, as a Florida state law allows the Bible in public schools.
“ECPS School Board members have been deliberating a process by which to address books which have been challenged due to content. A Florida law pertaining to the Bible has been identified,” the district said in a statement Wednesday. “Florida Statute 1003.45(1) states that ‘the district school board may install in the public schools in the district a secular program of education including, but not limited to, an objective study of the Bible and of religion.'”
The statement went on to say that ECPS will “immediately return” all copies of the Bible to the general school library collections, as opposed to the restricted sections, of the district’s libraries. The district also noted they will no longer be reconsidering the Bible as a library or instructional resource.