Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is attempting to shift the blame after backlash stemming from a school district’s removal of baseball star Roberto Clemente’s children’s book.
Clemente’s book references racism he dealt with as a Black Puerto Rican baseball player, and has been removed from the district’s libraries for months pending review, in compliance with the state’s newly passed “Stop WOKE Act,” according to Duval County Public Schools.
The governor, who’s made removing “critical race theory” from education a key component of his platform, is now accusing the school district of trying to get publicity from their “outlandish” stunt in removing the book, claiming it has nothing to do with new laws.
“They’re manufacturing that to try to create a narrative,” he said during a press conference Tuesday. DeSantis was backed by Florida’s Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, who called the controversial rules that have forced costly reviews and book removals “fake news.”
“Florida does not ban books, and this particular book on baseball legend Roberto Clemente is currently on school bookshelves across the state!” Diaz tweeted.
However, a spokesperson for the school district pointed out that Clemente’s book is one of 1.6 million titles under review following the state’s restrictive new laws, which have impacted teachers’ ability to teach about topics including race, gender and sexuality in Florida.