School Superintendent Moves Questioned Library Books To Parental Opt-In ‘Restricted Section’

October 1, 2022

After a Northview High School teacher and Escambia County School Board member called for the immediate removal of 115 “obscene” books from school libraries until they can be reviewed, the school district has taken a step to control access to the books.

School Superintendent Dr. Smith has implemented a “Restricted Section” in school libraries. The books in question will be housed in the section, and parents will be able to opt-in their students to have access to the restricted book as they are being reviewed.

“While we review disputed books, we want to make sure parents still have the right to make decisions relative to what they believe is and isn’t appropriate for their children,” Smith said. “We feel the implementation of a Restricted Section in each of our school libraries, from which students can access these titles only with parent permission, will best meet the needs of our families as books are under review. The final arbiter of what is appropriate for a child to read is always that child’s parent; not other parents, teachers, or aggrieved members of the public.”

As we first reported on Monday, 30-year veteran teacher Vicki Baggett compiled a growing list of 116 books that she says are inappropriate in schools, mostly due to sexual language and graphic drawings that she believes actually violate Florida’s obscenity laws. To read more about her arguments, click here. To see the list of the books, click here.

Many of the books books on her list contain graphic and descriptive sexual language, include pedophilia and bestiality. One book uses the F-word 116 times. The are numerous books containing underage sex, what she termed “alternate sexualties”, “explicit violent content”, self-mutilation, suicide, rape, racism, and graphic drawings.

School Board Chairman Kevin Adams asked that Smith quarantine or remove from circulation the challenged books until a review consistent with state statute is conducted.

“The School Board has the authority to remove books from its libraries; however, it cannot do so simply because it disagrees with the message of a book or it offends the personal morals of an individual,” School Board General Counsel Ellen Odom said in an emailed statement on Monday. “Through the review process, if the School Board determines that a particular book is pornographic or obscene, is not suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented, is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used, or is factually inaccurate or misleading, it can direct the removal of such book.”

The current school district “Reconsideration of Educational Media Policy” states that requests for reconsideration are to be submitted to the school with the title in question. Once the request has been submitted, the school will form a “School Materials Review Committee” to read the title, review the complaint, consult professional reviews, and consult outside experts as needed. The School Materials Review Committee will then meet to discuss the title and hold a blind vote to keep the title, move the title to another level, or remove the title completely.

The complainant then has the opportunity to appeal the decision to a District Materials Review Committee. That committee will read the title, review the complaint and appeal, consult professional reviews, and consult outside experts as needed. The District Materials Review Committee will then meet to discuss the title and hold a blind vote to keep the title, move the title to another level, or remove the title completely. The complainant then has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the school board.

The Escambia County School Board has scheduled a special workshop for 8 a.m. on October 10 to discuss a revised school library collection development policy and educational media review policy to ensure consistency with a recently passed state law, HB 1467, which requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials.


23 Responses to “School Superintendent Moves Questioned Library Books To Parental Opt-In ‘Restricted Section’”

  1. Just Saying on October 4th, 2022 6:22 am

    Please tell me that all of you advocating for removal of these books do not honestly believe that these subjects are not discussed every single day with their friends AT SCHOOL!


    I applaud your willingness to take a stand for your beliefs, but it hasn’t been that long since WE were in high school that I can’t remember the things we talked about IN THE 80s!!! I’d much rather that kids had somewhere to turn to get information about situations they face on a daily basis than try to hide these subjects that they’ve been discussing for years!

  2. DB on October 2nd, 2022 9:57 pm

    U need to reread the title above or reread the story!

  3. Denny on October 2nd, 2022 4:16 pm

    So one person gets to decide the books going into this section. Have the parents read any of the books – or know her well enough – to determine if her judgements exactly coincide with theirs?

    I have my own small list – should I send it to the superintendent? Can anyone get the restricted section enlarged based on their own opinion? As one person noted, stories in the bible would make it restricted.

    Some of the books in her list greatly expanded my worldview – can I get them unrestricted? Can anyone else?

    The superintendent has, de facto, appointed Ms. Baggett as Head of Censorship for our children but it sounds to me this is just a case of one squeaky wheel gettiing the grease. Is there another person more qualified? Who would know?

  4. Grandma For Books on October 2nd, 2022 8:45 am

    @Robert Bruner. AMEN!!!

  5. Robert Bruner on October 2nd, 2022 4:51 am

    The Bible says Lot’s daughters got him drunk so they could have sex with him. Should the school board put the Bible is the R-rate section too based on the obvious– alcohol, date rape, intercourse– mentioned in this Scripture. Careful what you wish for,, you cannot have it both ways.

  6. Lee on October 1st, 2022 11:21 pm

    @Robert Peterson. I agree. Where is the line? Forget about tv shows, I can’t believe some of the commercials. Have these parents seen what can pass for volleyball uniforms these days, or seen some of the skimpy dresses that show up at homecoming courts and proms? Good grief, I’ve seen parents at school open house in clothes that students would be sent home for wearing. And do people turn off football games when the cheerleaders show up? I think the decision to leave the book issue up to parents is a fair compromise. Sure, some kids who were likely never going to read those books might now defy their parents and seek them out. Is that the result of “bad” parenting. My bet is that regardless of how sheltered some parents think they’ve kept their “little darlings,” high school kids already know this stuff. Some of them might be in church every Sunday. Some might even be the preacher’s kid. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  7. Northview mom on October 1st, 2022 8:22 pm

    Thank you, Mrs. Baggett, for standing up for what’s right on behalf of our students!

  8. Pmom on October 1st, 2022 8:21 pm

    As noted before, many of Ms. Baggett’s objections are just related to her personal beliefs. She seems to have a real problem with anything that shows being gay in a positive light and problems with books that are “anti white” and “anti cop”. Hope you all read the lists she has submitted. One book on the high school list has an objection because “it has a cover of two males together holding hands.” It’s an autobiography.

    I wonder how she treats her LGBTQ students and parents??

  9. Bob on October 1st, 2022 8:21 pm


    Did you read the list of books that Ms Baggett wants to ban?

    If so, do you really think that The Handmaid’s Tale, Finding Alaska, and Slaughterhouse-Five should be censored?

    If not, why do you support banning a list of books you haven’t even reviewed?

  10. David Huie Green on October 1st, 2022 5:23 pm


    (Just joking, seems perfectly reasonable unless NOT being allowed to read the books were harmful to their children. Also, it gathers in one place books parents fear their children might find interesting.)

    David for better people

  11. AM on October 1st, 2022 3:27 pm

    Ask all concerned to call Mr. Slayton to have these books removed. He has so far had the interest of his constituents and will stand with us. We don’t need an R rated section in our libraries.

  12. terr sanders on October 1st, 2022 2:22 pm

    This reminds me of an incident years ago when Northview first opened…I objected the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION being availabe to my mind the testosterone filled high school boys had no reason to be looking at this soft porn in school.The response I got???? we usually keep it in a drawer for the teachers to look at..WELL..okay.. so teachers can look at porn on school that makes a lot of sense..and if it had of been kept in a drawer I would have never seen it…kudos to Mrs.Baggett…speak up… say no to things that our kids do not need to be exposed to….maybe someone needs to contact the governor since our superintendent is unwilling to take a stand against vulgarity in the schools…

  13. Kyle on October 1st, 2022 1:13 pm

    I,m so glad we still have decent teachers with morals to protect
    Our kids from this narrative.Alot of parents
    Are not Involved in there kids education .Our school board is
    not always looking after the best interest of children.There after something else for the long term.we need to get parents rights back to vote for a superintendent!! They worded the bill to take away our voice!

  14. Robert Peterson on October 1st, 2022 12:30 pm

    This is a tough one. I don’t want our children to be subjected to those items laid out in Florida Stature 847.012. However, if you read that statute and abide by it, your children will not be able to watch television until they are 18. I know that sounds like a stretch, but who will determine what is and what is not allowed? I would like to see a complete list of the books being segregated (banned) so the citizens can at least understand the thinking. I believe strongly in the first amendment, as all of us should, but once you start banning books you are on the road to burning books.

  15. Reading Teacher on October 1st, 2022 11:30 am

    I support the compromise! Win-win for both sides in my opinion.

  16. Bob on October 1st, 2022 11:24 am

    This is certainly better than just outright banning the books.

    However, any book has the potential to cause offense, and Ms Baggett has shown she is incapable of separating the pornographic from the educational. I don’t trust that she would be able to decide what goes into the restricted section and what doesn’t.

    Maybe it would be a better idea to just ban all kids from accessing the library unless they get a signed permission slip from their parents? That way, if you don’t want your kid to read about controversial ideas like “racism is bad” and “LGBT people exist”, you can choose to block their access to books. That would save us from people like Ms Baggett from restricting books for political/personal reasons.

  17. P'cola on October 1st, 2022 10:52 am

    There seems to be a very complex and sophisticated system for the removal of books from the libraries of the school district. There must be a similar complex and sophisticated system for books to enter the libraries of the school district. Can counsel Odom please describe this process? The public would like to know who approved these controversial books? Receipts, please.

  18. time to retire? on October 1st, 2022 10:48 am

    I believe this is the right decision for the time being, however, these are high school students who are/almost are adults. Getting mommy or daddy to sign a form so that you can read is ridiculous! Trying to prevent access from certain subjects because you simply don’t agree with the subject matter seems like a violation of the first amendment to me.
    Perhaps it’s time for Vicki to retire.

  19. J-THE-G on October 1st, 2022 10:30 am

    This actually seems like a decent enough idea. I don’t want my children to read these books prematurely, however I do recognize that other parents could feel otherwise. There’s still a few issues such as friends going around the restrictions for them, etc.. But as long as there is suitable punishments, like ISS for example, for those who do that I could get behind this idea.

  20. DP on October 1st, 2022 9:23 am

    The superintendent is a very weak man. His moral and ethical compass is compromised by his willingness to cower. There is no evidence that exist today that indicates exposing ANYONE to this type of material helps anything. There is however significant evidence that indicates that this material is often associated with abuse, neglect, drug use, domestic violence and other crimes against children and animals. I think I would appoint Ms. Baggett superintendent tomorrow.

  21. EMD on October 1st, 2022 8:57 am

    A lot of our society is obscene. Moral compass still points North. Not so with so many now days. But, helping young minds move south even more is not acceptable. Why not just turn back to God, and ask Him what He thinks? Not asking other people (even clergy) what they think. I know that does not seem realistic at this point, but that is what needs to happen.

  22. Follow the Law on October 1st, 2022 7:14 am

    Florida Statute 847.012:

    Harmful to minors; guilty of felonies

    3(a) Any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, videocassette, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body which depicts nudity or sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors; or
    (b) Any book, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter however reproduced, or sound recording that contains any matter defined in s. 847.001, explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, or sexual conduct and that is harmful to minors.

    (4) A person may not knowingly use a minor in the production of any material described in subsection (3), regardless of whether the material is intended for distribution to minors or is actually distributed to minors.

    (5) An adult may not knowingly distribute to a minor on school property, or post on school property, any material described in subsection (3). As used in this subsection, the term “school property” means the grounds or facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, or secondary school, whether public or nonpublic. This subsection does not apply to the distribution or posting of school-approved instructional materials that by design serve as a major tool for assisting in the instruction of a subject or course by school officers, instructional personnel, administrative personnel, school volunteers, educational support employees, or managers as those terms are defined in s. 1012.01.

    (6) Any person violating any provision of this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

  23. mnon on October 1st, 2022 2:03 am

    That’s where they belonged to begin with. If a parent has no problem that their kids are reading pornographic trash that’s on them, let them sign for them.