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Palm Coast Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 8 months ago

It was not a crime, Flagler sheriff says, to add 'All Boys Aren't Blue' to school media centers

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'This matter should have been addressed by the School Board and its district leadership before being submitted to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office as a criminal complaint,' Staly said.
by: Melissa Morreale Public Affairs Officer, Flagler County Sheriff's Office

Flagler Schools employees committed no crime by allowing "All Boys Aren't Blue" in media centers, and no crimes were committed during the subsequent protests, a Flagler County Sheriff's Office investigation found.

On Nov. 9, the FCSO received a complaint by Flagler County School Board member Jill Woolbright, about a book titled “All Boys Aren’t Blue” being available in some Flagler County school media centers alleging the book was pornography under Florida law.

Woolbright alleged that two chapters of the book contain sexually explicit material and making it available to children in school media centers was a violation of Florida law. She believed that Flagler Schools media centers or employees should be held criminally accountable.

The FCSO Investigative Services Division conducted a review of the complaint. In consultation with FCSO’s general counsel’s legal opinion, it was determined there was no evidence suggesting the book was purchased outside of the normal procedures or procurement processes established by the Flagler County School Board, nor did a review of the facts, in this case, meet the elements of a crime under Florida law.

“As indicated by our investigators’ review of this particular case, this complaint does not rise to the level of criminal activity,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “The Sheriff’s Office does not determine what material is appropriate for the students of Flagler County. The Flagler County School Board has the constitutional duty and responsibility to determine the content of all materials used in the classroom and made available in the school library. The board is responsible for developing proper policies and procedures to evaluate and purchase these materials. The board’s policies and practices permitted the purchase and circulation of the book in question.

"The determination of whether the book is appropriate for school libraries rests on the shoulders of the Flagler County school district leadership," Staly continued. "This matter should have been addressed by the School Board and its district leadership before being submitted to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office as a criminal complaint. Our review concluded the allegations did not meet the threshold of a criminal offense and therefore are not a matter to be investigated by the Sheriff’s Office. While I have my personal opinion on this issue, I am sworn to uphold Florida law and not my personal opinion.”

FCSO also reviewed allegations of “threats” made during various protests, counter-protests, and on social media platforms. While the behavior and language of some individuals was discourteous, there were no comments made that rose to the level of a threat under Florida law. The comments and the manner they were made were protected by First Amendment speech, regardless of how disgusting they may have been or perceived by others.

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