(1) DEFINITIONS.— (a) As used in this section, the term:
1. “Adequate instructional materials” means a sufficient number of student or site licenses or sets of materials that are available in bound, unbound, kit, or package form and may consist of hardbacked or softbacked textbooks, electronic content, consumables, learning laboratories, manipulatives, electronic media, and computer courseware or software that serve as the basis for instruction for each student in the core subject areas of mathematics, language arts, social studies, science, reading, and literature.
2. “Instructional materials” has the same meaning as in s. 1006.29(2).
3. “Library media center” means any collection of books, ebooks, periodicals, or videos maintained and accessible on the site of a school, including in classrooms.
(b) As used in this section and s. 1006.283, the term “resident” means a person who has maintained his or her residence in this state for the preceding year, has purchased a home that is occupied by him or her as his or her residence, or has established a domicile in this state pursuant to s. 222.17. (c) As used in this section and ss. 1006.283, 1006.32, 1006.35, 1006.37, 1006.38, 1006.40, and 1006.42, the term “purchase” includes purchase, lease, license, and acquire. (2) DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD.—The district school board has the constitutional duty and responsibility to select and provide adequate instructional materials for all students in accordance with the requirements of this part. The district school board also has the following specific duties and responsibilities: (a) Courses of study; adoption.—Adopt courses of study, including instructional materials, for use in the schools of the district. 1. Each district school board is responsible for the content of all instructional materials and any other materials used in a classroom, made available in a school or classroom library, or included on a reading list, whether adopted and purchased from the state-adopted instructional materials list, adopted and purchased through a district instructional materials program under s. 1006.283, or otherwise purchased or made available. 2. Each district school board must adopt a policy regarding an objection by a parent or a resident of the county to the use of a specific material, which clearly describes a process to handle all objections and provides for resolution. The objection form, as prescribed by State Board of Education rule, and the district school board’s process must be easy to read and understand and be easily accessible on the homepage of the school district’s website. The objection form must also identify the school district point of contact and contact information for the submission of an objection. The process must provide the parent or resident the opportunity to proffer evidence to the district school board that: a. An instructional material does not meet the criteria of s. 1006.31(2) or s. 1006.40(3)(d) if it was selected for use in a course or otherwise made available to students in the school district but was not subject to the public notice, review, comment, and hearing procedures under s. 1006.283(2)(b)8., 9., and 11. b. Any material used in a classroom, made available in a school or classroom library, or included on a reading list contains content which: (I) Is pornographic or prohibited under s. 847.012; (II) Depicts or describes sexual conduct as defined in s. 847.001(19), unless such material is for a course required by s. 1003.46, s. 1003.42(2)(n)1.g., or s. 1003.42(2)(n)3., or identified by State Board of Education rule;
(III) Is not suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented; or
(IV) Is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used.
Any material that is subject to an objection on the basis of sub-sub-subparagraph b.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph b.(II) must be removed within 5 school days of receipt of the objection and remain unavailable to students of that school until the objection is resolved. Parents shall have the right to read passages from any material that is subject to an objection. If the school board denies a parent the right to read passages due to content that meets the requirements under sub-sub-subparagraph b.(I), the school district shall discontinue the use of the material. If the district school board finds that any material meets the requirements under sub-subparagraph a. or that any other material contains prohibited content under sub-sub-subparagraph b.(I), the school district shall discontinue use of the material. If the district school board finds that any other material contains prohibited content under sub-sub-subparagraphs b.(II)-(IV), the school district shall discontinue use of the material for any grade level or age group for which such use is inappropriate or unsuitable.
3. Each district school board must establish a process by which the parent of a public school student or a resident of the county may contest the district school board’s adoption of a specific instructional material. The parent or resident must file a petition, on a form provided by the school board, within 30 calendar days after the adoption of the instructional material by the school board. The school board must make the form available to the public and publish the form on the school district’s website. The form must be signed by the parent or resident, include the required contact information, and state the objection to the instructional material based on the criteria of s. 1006.31(2) or s. 1006.40(3)(d). Within 30 days after the 30-day period has expired, the school board must, for all petitions timely received, conduct at least one open public hearing before an unbiased and qualified hearing officer. The hearing officer may not be an employee or agent of the school district. The hearing is not subject to the provisions of chapter 120; however, the hearing must provide sufficient procedural protections to allow each petitioner an adequate and fair opportunity to be heard and present evidence to the hearing officer. The school board’s decision after convening a hearing is final and not subject to further petition or review. 4. Meetings of committees convened for the purpose of ranking, eliminating, or selecting instructional materials for recommendation to the district school board must be noticed and open to the public in accordance with s. 286.011. Any committees convened for such purposes must include parents of students who will have access to such materials. 5. Meetings of committees convened for the purpose of resolving an objection by a parent or resident to specific materials must be noticed and open to the public in accordance with s. 286.011. Any committees convened for such purposes must include parents of students who will have access to such materials.
6. If a parent disagrees with the determination made by the district school board on the objection to the use of a specific material, a parent may request the Commissioner of Education to appoint a special magistrate who is a member of The Florida Bar in good standing and who has at least 5 years’ experience in administrative law. The special magistrate shall determine facts relating to the school district’s determination, consider information provided by the parent and the school district, and render a recommended decision for resolution to the State Board of Education within 30 days after receipt of the request by the parent. The State Board of Education must approve or reject the recommended decision at its next regularly scheduled meeting that is more than 7 calendar days and no more than 30 days after the date the recommended decision is transmitted. The costs of the special magistrate shall be borne by the school district. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules, including forms, necessary to implement this subparagraph.
(b) Instructional materials.—Provide for proper requisitioning, distribution, accounting, storage, care, and use of all instructional materials and furnish such other instructional materials as may be needed. Instructional materials used must be consistent with the district goals and objectives and the course descriptions established in rule of the State Board of Education, as well as with the applicable state academic standards provided for in s. 1003.41.
(c) Other instructional materials.—Provide such other teaching accessories and aids as are needed for the school district’s educational program.
(d) School library media services; establishment and maintenance.—Establish and maintain a program of school library media services for all public schools in the district, including school library media centers, or school library media centers open to the public, and, in addition such traveling or circulating libraries as may be needed for the proper operation of the district school system. Beginning January 1, 2023, school librarians, media specialists, and other personnel involved in the selection of school district library materials must complete the training program developed pursuant to s. 1006.29(6) before reviewing and selecting age-appropriate materials and library resources. Upon written request, a school district shall provide access to any material or book specified in the request that is maintained in a district school system library and is available for review.
1. Each book made available to students through a school district library media center or included in a recommended or assigned school or grade-level reading list must be selected by a school district employee who holds a valid educational media specialist certificate, regardless of whether the book is purchased, donated, or otherwise made available to students.
2. Each district school board shall adopt procedures for developing library media center collections and post the procedures on the website for each school within the district. The procedures must: a. Require that book selections meet the criteria in s. 1006.40(3)(d).
b. Require consultation of reputable, professionally recognized reviewing periodicals and school community stakeholders.
c. Provide for library media center collections, including classroom libraries, based on reader interest, support of state academic standards and aligned curriculum, and the academic needs of students and faculty.
d. Provide for the regular removal or discontinuance of books based on, at a minimum, physical condition, rate of recent circulation, alignment to state academic standards and relevancy to curriculum, out-of-date content, and required removal pursuant to subparagraph (a)2.
3. Each elementary school must publish on its website, in a searchable format prescribed by the department, a list of all materials maintained and accessible in the school library media center or a classroom library or required as part of a school or grade-level reading list.
4. Each district school board shall adopt and publish on its website the process for a parent to limit his or her student’s access to materials in the school or classroom library.
(e) Public participation.—Publish on its website, in a searchable format prescribed by the department, a list of all instructional materials, including those used to provide instruction required by s. 1003.42. Each district school board must: 1. Provide access to all materials, excluding teacher editions, in accordance with s. 1006.283(2)(b)8.a. before the district school board takes any official action on such materials. This process must include reasonable safeguards against the unauthorized use, reproduction, and distribution of instructional materials considered for adoption.
2. Select, approve, adopt, or purchase all materials as a separate line item on the agenda and provide a reasonable opportunity for public comment. The use of materials described in this paragraph may not be selected, approved, or adopted as part of a consent agenda.
3. Annually, beginning June 30, 2023, submit to the Commissioner of Education a report that identifies:
a. Each material for which the school district received an objection pursuant to subparagraph (a)2., including the grade level and course the material was used in, for the school year and the specific objections thereto.
b. Each material that was removed or discontinued.
c. Each material that was not removed or discontinued and the rationale for not removing or discontinuing the material.
The department shall publish and regularly update a list of materials that were removed or discontinued as a result of an objection and disseminate the list to school districts for consideration in their selection procedures.
(3) DISTRICT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT.—
(a) The district school superintendent has the duty to recommend such plans for improving, providing, distributing, accounting for, and caring for instructional materials and other instructional aids as will result in general improvement of the district school system, as prescribed in this part, in accordance with adopted district school board rules prescribing the duties and responsibilities of the district school superintendent regarding the requisition, purchase, receipt, storage, distribution, use, conservation, records, and reports of, and management practices and property accountability concerning, instructional materials, and providing for an evaluation of any instructional materials to be requisitioned that have not been used previously in the district’s schools. The district school superintendent must keep adequate records and accounts for all financial transactions for funds collected pursuant to subsection (4).
(b) Each district school superintendent shall notify the department by April 1 of each year the state-adopted instructional materials that will be requisitioned for use in his or her school district. The notification shall include a district school board plan for instructional materials use to assist in determining if adequate instructional materials have been requisitioned.
(c) Annually by August 1, each district school superintendent shall certify to the Commissioner of Education that the district school board has approved a comprehensive staff development plan that supports fidelity of implementation of instructional materials programs, including verification that training was provided, that the materials are being implemented as designed, and that core reading materials and reading intervention materials used in kindergarten through grade 5 meet the requirements of s. 1001.215(8). Such instructional materials, as evaluated and identified pursuant to s. 1001.215(4), may be purchased by school districts without undergoing the adoption procedures in s. 1006.40(4)(b). (4) SCHOOL PRINCIPAL.—The school principal has the following duties for the management and care of materials at the school:
(a) Proper use of instructional materials.—The principal shall assure that instructional materials are used to provide instruction to students enrolled at the grade level or levels for which the materials are designed, pursuant to adopted district school board rule. The school principal shall communicate to parents the manner in which instructional materials are used to implement the curricular objectives of the school and the procedures for contesting the adoption and use of instructional materials.
(b) Money collected for lost or damaged instructional materials; enforcement.—The school principal shall collect from each student or the student’s parent the purchase price of any instructional material the student has lost, destroyed, or unnecessarily damaged and to report and transmit the money collected to the district school superintendent. The failure to collect such sum upon reasonable effort by the school principal may result in the suspension of the student from participation in extracurricular activities or satisfaction of the debt by the student through community service activities at the school site as determined by the school principal, pursuant to policies adopted by district school board rule.
(c) Sale of instructional materials.—The school principal, upon request of the parent of a student in the school, shall sell to the parent any instructional materials used in the school. All such sales shall be made pursuant to rule adopted by the district school board, and the principal shall annually provide information to parents that they may purchase instructional materials and how to purchase the materials.
(d) Disposition of funds.—All money collected from the sale, exchange, loss, or damage of instructional materials shall be transmitted to the district school superintendent to be deposited in the district school board fund and added to the district appropriation for instructional materials.
(e) Accounting for instructional materials.—Principals shall see that all instructional materials are fully and properly accounted for as prescribed by adopted rules of the district school board.
(f) Selection of library media center materials.—School principals are responsible for overseeing compliance with school district procedures for selecting school library media center materials at the school to which they are assigned and notifying parents of the process for objecting to the use of specific materials.