Tuesday 21 February 2023

Florida Teacher Behind Misleading Viral Video is Fired


Brian Covey, a substitute teacher at Mandarin Middle School in Florida shared a video in January displaying rows of empty bookshelves in the school’s library.  The video has garnered over 13 million views.

“They removed every single book from my children’s classrooms… I read books about the consequences of this when I was in school…”

“Nah. Not only that they removed the media/resource elective from their schedule and telling the kids that the librarian has to review every single book…”

“Not only did they have all the teachers remove the books from their classrooms they took any library book the kids were reading and didn’t let them finish. All in a week where they are having a book fair fundraiser.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded to the viral video saying, “Actually, that video, that’s a fake narrative. That was not true, and our press guys where….is Brian back there? He can get you the details on that. This is trying to create some narrative as if… They hadn’t even put the books out to begin wit.”

“So there’s no need for all of that stuff. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to act like somehow, you know, we don’t want books. And some of the narrative you hear, you hear people talk about felony charges.  Understand, nothing that I’ve done since we’ve done since I’ve been governor has done anything (like that)….now there is longstanding Florida law that prohibits an adult from giving a school child  pornography….but don’t we think that that’s inappropriate to do? But that’s been the law for a long time.”

Covey told First Coast News that he has since been fired.

First Coast News reports:

On Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the video was posted, Covey said he was fired.

Duval County Public Schools gave First Coast News the following statement regarding Covey’s termination:

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 cell phone policies of his employer. Therefore, ESS determined these policy violations made it necessary to part ways with this individual.

ESS is the organization the district contracts with to hire substitute teachers.

During the last month, the state has instructed school districts to “err on the side of caution” to make sure they’re complying with new Florida laws regarding books and materials available to children in school libraries and classrooms.

As Duval County school leaders urged its educators to comply with the new law, this resulted in teachers removing and covering books in classrooms to make sure all books and literature are approved by the state.

“We did direct teachers to temporarily reduce their classroom library collections to titles that were previously approved while waiting for media specialists to curate a more expansive list of approved titles,” DCPS Superintendent Diana Greene stated Thursday in a letter to district employees. “However, at no time should a classroom have been without reading resources.”

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