JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — You can call it a battle over the Bible, but Duval County parent Paul Friel says he's trying to make a point by putting pressure on Florida's school districts to remove any references to the Bible.
"We are writing bills to ban anything that makes people uncomfortable. Since we are being so particular about any one little thing, we might as well apply it to everything," he explained to First Coast News.
Friel cites House Bill 1467, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in March. It allows parents to have more say in what books are used in classrooms.
Friel says the state is creating a slippery slope because any topic or any book could be considered offensive.
"At the end of the day, if we are banning books, if we are banning people from learning the full story and facts about things, where do we stop?" he asked.
At the time of the bill's signing, DeSantis said, "..our parents have every right to be involved in their child's education. We are not going to let politicians deny parents the right to know what is being taught in our schools."
Friel sent a letter to Duval County Public Schools about this issue and is planning to bring his concerns up at the next school board meeting.
He says he's taking the governor's words to heart to highlight banning books, including the Bible, could have unintended consequences, even for his young daughter.
"I want her to grow up in a place where we are tolerant of everything and everyone," he said.
First Coast News reached out to Duval County Public Schools for comment, asking if the district could identify what instructional materials, if any, reference the Bible. We were told our request is being looked into.
Under the new law, Florida's school districts must hold public meetings when selecting instructional materials while providing parents access to them for at least 20 days before taking action on them.