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St. Johns County school board votes to not remove books from school libraries

Public comment proved to be heated, resulting in name calling, yelling, and deputies escorting people out of the meeting

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — Emotions boiled over at a packed school board meeting in St. Johns County Tuesday as dozens of people demanded certain books be removed from library shelves.

Others urged the board to leave those decisions to librarians and educators.

The board ultimately voted to keep those books on the shelves, but not before police intervened, escorting several people from the meeting.

The St. Johns County school board discussed removing three books from elementary school libraries: My Rainbow, Ho'onani Hula Warrior and Peanut Goes for the Gold.

They also considered removing these four books from secondary school libraries: White Privilege, Me and White Supremacy, Boys Will Be Boys and All Boys Aren't Blue.

RELATED: 'Inappropriate, not suitable:' Duval County schools gives reasons why these books have been banned

Each of the books up for review have to do with LGBTQ and racial issues.

Elizabeth Wittstadt is the Chair of the St. Johns County Chapter of Moms for Liberty. She said these books do not reflect the county’s conservative population.

"We are not asking for any books to be banned, we are looking for age-appropriate education books to be in our school system," she said. "They can be purchased outside of school."

Others want the books to remain in school libraries.

Katei Mahon is a parent and clinical psychologist. She said, "For LGBTQ kids, it's important for them to see them positively depicted in books."

In St. Johns County, parents can fill out a form indicating their children cannot check out certain books.

One book, "All Boys Aren't Blue," drew particular scrutiny because of its sexual content.

Wittstadt said, "We do not want CRT (Critical Race Theory) and over sexualized materials in the school."

RELATED: Flagler County deputies say school library book claimed to be 'pornographic' does not violate any laws

Still others support the book in school, such Jo Ellen Parkey who is a parent of a trans child. 

"I want books in the library that open windows for my kids to learn about people who don’t pray like them, look like them or love like them," Parkey said. 

In the end, the St. Johns County school board voted to keep all seven books in school libraries. 

They may consider tweaking the selection process in the future.

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