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Random House Files Book Ban Lawsuit

By Charlotte Robinson, May 28, 2023

In Florida during the 2021-2022 school year 566 books were banned across 21 school districts according to data tracked by PEN America the nonprofit organization that defends free expression. So far in the 2022-2023 Florida school year 357 books have been banned across 13 school districts. Penguin Random House, free-speech organizations, parents & authors have filed a federal lawsuit in Pensacola. The suit alleges that administrators & school board members in Florida’s Escambia County School District are violating the First Amendment as well as the 14th Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution because the books singled out are disproportionately books by non-white & or LGBTQ authors & often address themes or topics related to race or our LGBTQ community. Suzanne Nossel PEN America CEO stated, “In Escambia County, state censors are spiriting books off shelves in a deliberate attempt to silence pluralism & diversity. In a nation built on free speech, this cannot stand. The law demands that the Escambia County School District put removed or restricted books back on library shelves where they belong. Children in a democracy must not be taught that books are dangerous." Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House concluded, "Books have the capacity to change lives for the better & students in particular deserve equitable access to a wide range of perspectives. Censorship, in the form of book bans like those enacted by Escambia County, are a direct threat to democracy & our Constitutional rights. We stand by our authors, their books & the teachers, librarians & parents who champion free expression. We are proud to join forces with our longtime partner PEN America.” 

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