In Collier County, students need permission to check out some books

Published: September 21, 2022 5:49 PM EDT
Updated: September 23, 2022 2:28 PM EDT

Three books known for their sexual content are sparking outrage at one Collier County school.

The books “19 Minutes,” “Sloppy Firsts,” and “The Bluest Eye” will remain in the high school library, but students will need their parents’ permission to check out the books.

Alethea Shapiro and her daughter are close. Shapiro thinks books like these three will help her daughter cope with coming of age.

But the Collier County School Board voted on Tuesday to have librarians remove the books from the shelves and leave the book jacket covers in the stacks, but the actual books will remain with the librarians.

Students will need permission from parents to check them out.

This happened after a few people complained about the books’ crude language and graphic descriptions of sex and rape.

These three books upset some parents at Collier County Public Schools.

“It’s a little, for lack of better words, like dumb,” said Shapiro’s daughter Hailey, a student at Barron Collier High School.

“I feel like a student should be able to access whatever types of books they want to read,” Hailey said.

But people like Gayle Repetto want to protect students from mature themes.

She read some of the passages out loud.

“It’s embarrassing, had to wash my mouth out with soap,” Repetto said. “I mean, they are distributing pornography, and it’s sexually explicit.”

Repetto hoped Collier schools would remove the books completely, but school board member Jen Mitchell said this is a good compromise.

“We’re never going to please both sides. But I think if we keep students at the center of the decision and what’s best for students,” Mitchell said.

The district emphasized it’s not banning books but the book 19 Minutes was removed completely from all middle school shelves.