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Leader of Duval schools team reviewing books for 'inappropriate material' resigns after inappropriate comments about lesbians

The person in charge of the program for reviewing classroom books for inappropriate content resigned from her position based on one of her book reviews.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Michelle DiBias' employment status with DCPS.

The person in charge of reviewing books for Duval County Schools is out of a job because of one of her reviews.

Until she handed in her resignation letter on Feb. 27, Michelle DiBias was the district's Supervisor of Instructional Materials and Media Services. Currently, the district is in the process of reviewing more than 1.6 million book titles for age appropriateness to comply with Florida law.

First Coast News received internal documents from the district that detail DiBias's resignation as well as the comments that were made regarding the book "Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World."

The book is intended for 5th graders, however, according to state guidelines, no chapter books with informational content about gender identity or sexual orientation can be housed in classroom libraries for 5th grade or younger.

More information about the district's review process as well as the state laws the district follows can be found here: https://dcps.duvalschools.org/review

Chapters 12 and 13 of "Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World" contain references to an adult lesbian couple and how one of the characters discovered her sexuality. DiBias recommended that the book be removed from all school shelves and part of her review stated: 

"This is harmful to children because it is teaching a lifestyle that is contrary to the design of humanity... This is not only physically, but morally damning to a student"

As of March 10, the district said that DiBias's future role with the district is yet to be determined, but added that her comments do not represent the standards the district has in place for reviewing elementary school classroom books.

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