Yes, Florida Tried to Ban the Dictionary!

Yes, Florida Tried to Ban the Dictionary! The full list of books banned by Escambia County is sweeping.  It includes Educational classics like The Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, and books about Greek and Roman mythology.

If an article began stating that the dictionary had been banned in Florida for containing offensive language, you would be right to assume it was a satire piece.

Instead, it is the absurd, unfortunate reality we find ourselves in.

In fact, the utter idiocy does not stop with just one dictionary: Escambia County Schools banned five dictionaries from shelves for being in violation of the state’s HB1069 law that has tightened restrictions around what is allowed in classrooms and libraries.

Let’s not kid ourselves.  This would have been funny as a joke several years ago, but the fact that censorship has reached the point that dictionaries are considered dangerous to students is beyond the pale.  There was a time we could have argued that the extremists that support book bans were trying to ban ideas, but it feels more and more like what their goal is, is to ban words themselves. 

Or, at the very least, to retrograde literacy among students.


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The full list of books banned by Escambia County is shockingly sweeping.  It includes over 1600 titles.  Educational classics like The Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, and books about Greek and Roman mythology were joined by the biographies of Oprah and Thurgood Marshall, as well as the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. 

It is almost easier to say what the district did NOT ban, than it is to list what they did ban.

That might sound a bit like hyperbole, but let’s get back to the main point of this article: they banned the dictionary.

Five times.

What began as an extremist fringe ideology has forced itself into the lives of parents and students everywhere who just want to be able to study and go to the library like every other generation before them.  Instead, the people of Escambia County find themselves the target of absolute radicals that are so offended by the very existence of books that they would go so far as to ban the dictionary.

HB1069 has been the catalyst that turned Florida into the state with the most banned books by a large margin (it had been Texas previously.). The loose, vague wordage in the law, along with its partner HB1557 the ‘don’t say gay’ bill, has turned Florida classrooms and libraries into places of dread.  Librarians are afraid of extreme political elements descending on them and demanding books being removed because they are part of the extreme minority that is offended by these books.

And now, thanks to the ill-defined nature of the law, it has led to one school district taking dictionaries away from children because of the words in them.


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If they are willing to ban the dictionary, truly, what won’t they ban?  It is safe to assume absolutely no book is safe.  Which begs the question:

How do you teach students to read when you’ve outlawed all the books?

But, again, maybe that’s the point.  Maybe to the radicals that support things like banning the dictionary, reading and thinking in and of itself is dangerous.  Maybe what they do want is to stop kids from learning altogether.

Does that seem like an extreme interpretation of their actions?

Well, did you ever expect they would try to ban the dictionary?