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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Is DCPS teaching the positive aspects of slavery?

When asked about teaching slavery, I was told DCPS admin Amy DiBias said, it’s all right, but try and teach the positive side of it as well. The positive side of slavery? What about the positive side of the Holocaust, the trail of tears, or any genocide? Should teachers be teaching them as well? Well, friends, your student might be about to find out.

Jed Lugum, brought up some of the questionable book reviews that DCPS has been making.

From Popular Information:

One book reviewed in Duval County and banned from school libraries was The Best Man, a book "about a boy's journey into the middle school years and the male role models in his life." The reviewer was Michelle DiBias, the Supervisor of Instructional Materials and Media Services for Duval County Public Schools. In that role, DiBias supervises all librarians in the school district — that is, the people who will make decisions on every book. 

DiBias objects to the fact that in The Best Man "2 men marry and the young man is made the ring bearer." DiBias says while that wedding is celebrated, other weddings "are looked down on by the narrator in the tone and expression."

DiBias concludes that the book should be rejected because it violates Florida's pornography statutes. She writes that the book "is portraying sexual excitement and is damaging to students." That means DiBias believes that, based on the book's content, a teacher or librarian that made The Best Man available to students could be charged with a third-degree felony. She finds that the book "is not appropriate for any group of students" and must be removed "from all schools."

The review conducted by DiBias is completely inconsistent with other reviews of the book. Common Sense Media, an independent non-profit that evaluates books and other entertainment for parents and schools, gives The Best Man its lowest rating for "Sex, Romance, & Nudity," meaning that reviewers found nothing objectionable:

Some talk among the kids about dating, but nothing serious or sexually charged. A gay relationship between two adults figures into the plot. Archer makes a few references to his pregnant teacher and her sonograms. Archer's mom jokes with him about finding him in a cabbage patch, but they skirt the talk of where babies really come from.

Overall, Common Sense Media found that Best Man stood out for "positive messages" and "positive role models." Moreover, the "content is tame overall."


Jud Legum, has been pretty spot on, so I asked people in the district familiar with DiBias, who is the Supervisor of Instructional Materials and Media Services for Duval County Public Schools, about her book reviewing justifications, and they revealed some pretty troubling information.


At a meeting, someone brought up teaching the topic of slavery in elementary schools with the new statute. DiBias said that we should look for material that showed both sides of the issue. I believe her exact words were the "positive side" of slavery. The meeting came to a grinding halt & you could've heard a pin drop. We were all shocked. Someone in the meeting said "it was slavery....there were no positive aspects.


Another person told me, We would like to say we were shocked but we have heard she has a similar feeling about having LGBTQ+ books in K5. Her husband is a pastor too...

Positive side of slavery? Anti-LGBTQ? Sounds like she will fit in nicely with the Greene administration.

Here are some facts you should know. I wasn’t at the meeting where she supposedly said the “positive side of slavery.” I couldn’t pick DiBias out of a lineup, I had never heard of her until a few months ago, and most importantly, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the book review job with all the contrary and often confusing guidance the state has put out. For all I know, she is just a hard-working administrator trying to do an impossible job.

That being said, I do know DCPS; I know when put in a hole by the state and friends, we are in a deep hole; DCPS likes to keep digging, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was district policy to try and teach both sides of slavery, to try and find the “positive aspects” of it.     

The thing is, there are no “positive aspects” to any of this, and the professionals in charge should know that, and they shouldn’t pretend they are.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to go broke buying all the DCPS banned books to see if DCPS made the right decision. I'm thinking about applying for the reconsideration committee to keep up the good fight and hey, let the district buy me the book. The one condition for membership is to agree to read the entire work.