In anticipation of the new school year, language teachers in Hillsborough County schools have been instructed that they will not be allowed to read in class more than certain excerpts from plays such as "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet."
Those fragments will be chosen for not having sexual or racial content. In this way, the complete reading of these great works of universal literature is reserved exclusively for outside of school in the event that students have access to Shakespeare's books.
This is happening because of the "Parental Rights in Education Act," which is actively promoted by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
Popularly known as the "Don't Say Gay Act," this law prohibits educational content related to gender identity and similar topics. This law punishes teachers who violate its provisions with disciplinary measures and allows parents to sue teachers.
"Teachers are scared... They don't know what they can and cannot do. They walk on a thin layer of ice... Currently, this is a huge challenge for all of us in public education," said Rob Kriete, president of the Hillsborough County Teachers Association.
Shakespare, however, is not the first classic of universal culture to be censored in Florida. In March, Hope Carrasquilla, the principal of a school in Tallahassee, had to resign for having shown her 11 and 12-year-old students images of "David," a sculpture created by Renaissance artist Michelangelo that some parents considered "inappropriate."
Currently, a single complaint from a parent can lead to a book being withdrawn from Florida school libraries. One of these books is Amanda Gorman's "The Hill We Climb," which was recited by the black poet at Joe Biden's inauguration in 2021.