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A viral hoax showing a supposedly cleaned-out library as a result of a new Florida law banning explicit material in schools has resulted in a teacher being fired.
Brian Covey, who was a substitute teacher for Duval County Public Schools (Jacksonville area), was told his services would no longer be needed after he posted a video making it seem as if the Mandarin Middle School library had been emptied out. When questioned about the situation at the time, Gov. Ron DeSantis denounced it as a fake narrative, noting that nothing in the law required any school to take any such action.
Apparently, the school hadn’t taken such action. Covey had instead filmed some random empty shelves in a library otherwise full of books. That was deemed to be a violation of the district’s social media policy and a harm to students by making them believe there were no books to check out.
Naturally, outlets like The Washington Post are still pushing the false narrative, even as they report on the firing and why it occurred.
A Florida teacher was fired this week after posting a video of empty bookshelves that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called “a fake narrative” at a time when teachers in the state are removing or covering books in public schools to comply with new state laws. https://t.co/80dicKPaYv
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 18, 2023
“In discussion between the district and ESS regarding this individual’s misrepresentation of the books available to students in the school’s library and the disruption this misrepresentation has caused, it was determined that he had violated social media and cellphone policies of his employer,” the district said. “Therefore, ESS determined these policy violations made it necessary to part ways with this individual.”
If you read the article, they admit that Covey’s video was a misrepresentation. Yet, the Post, just a few words later, immediately repeats the falsehood that teachers are being forced to remove and cover books.
No, they aren’t. Rather, they are being forced to remove books with graphic sexual content such as “Gender Queer,” which contains illustrated scenes of gay sex. Ask yourself, why are these press outlets so obsessed with ensuring kids are exposed to sexual content in schools? I don’t have an answer to that, and I suspect the reasons vary, but it’s certainly a really weird and gross dynamic.
The reality is that there is no prohibition on what anyone would consider normal, acceptable reading material for children. The curation of books to exclude explicit and sexual content is not new and has long been part of school libraries. Any teachers or administrators that are rushing to clean out a library or cover up whole bookshelves are doing so simply as a political stunt.
Of course, advocacy groups are treating Covey as a victim, arguing his First Amendment rights were violated.
Kate Ruane, a director at the free-speech nonprofit organization PEN America, said in an interview that Duval’s termination of Covey may have violated the teacher’s First Amendment rights.
“What the district has done is clearly an attempt to chill the speech of public school teachers,” Ruane said.
You do not have a First Amendment right to take video at work in order to mislead and lie about your employer (in this case, partially being the State of Florida). Social media policies for employment have long existed and have long been held up as legal by the courts. Covey wanted his moment in the spotlight, and he got it. All it cost him was his job, and deservedly so. If he wants to be an activist, maybe Al Sharpton’s outfit, which is currently wasting time in Florida, is hiring.
[Editor’s note: This story was originally published by RedState]
RedState is an American conservative political blog.