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Moms for Liberty and Florida Teacher Schemed to Manipulate Student Book Controversy

Moms for Liberty Sceme
Image: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

An Escambia County teacher reportedly collaborated with Moms for Liberty to get a student to check out a book the group called pornographic.


The actions of the Southern Poverty Law Center-described anti-government extremist group Moms for Liberty and a Florida English teacher are attracting scrutiny after it was revealed that the teacher allegedly tricked a student into checking out a book that she felt was inappropriate for young people.

On October 25, two members of Moms for Liberty, Tom Gurski and Jennifer Tapley, accused Florida public school librarians of distributing pornography to minors, focusing their allegations on the young adult novel Storm and Fury. This novel, they claimed, was checked out by a 17-year-old student from Jay High School.

A teacher was apparently behind getting the student to go for the book in the first place.

Vicki Baggett, an English teacher in Escambia County, is described by Popular Information as being notorious for challenging books, especially those discussing racial discrimination or featuring LGBTQ+ characters. She was revealed to be the teacher who facilitated the book’s checkout.

The situation became more complicated when the student’s mother expressed anger in a news segment by Pensacola’s ABC affiliate WEAR.

The student’s mother said, “I’m very angry because my daughter was used to doing somebody else’s dirty work.” She emphasized that her daughter had never read the book and was unwittingly used in this scheme without her or her mother’s permission.

Baggett’s actions extend beyond this single incident. She has been instrumental in having books she considers “pornographic” removed from Escambia County schools, leading to a federal lawsuit alleging constitutional violations. Moreover, she has been aggressively campaigning to have Santa Rosa County schools follow suit, engaging in frequent hostile interactions and direct coordination with members of Moms for Liberty.

Last week, a Popular Information video taken from a police officer's body cam shows what went down, highlighting the group’s aggressive stance against any educational materials they find objectionable.

Jennifer Tapley, a member of the Santa Rosa County chapter of Moms for Liberty, called the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, saying a crime was being done at a local school.

“I’ve got some evidence a crime was committed,” she told authorities in the video when they arrived.

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a young adult novel that contains some make-out scenes and some sexually-themed content within a fantastical context, according to Popular Information. Despite the objections raised by Moms for Liberty, the book has been endorsed by educational bodies. It's not pornographic.

“It’s just as serious as if I handed a Playboy to [my child] right now,” Tapley told police in the video.

This controversy occurs in the backdrop of significant electoral developments. Last Tuesday’s school board elections across the United States saw a sweeping rejection of candidates endorsed by Moms for Liberty. The losses in school board races, such as in Pennsylvania’s Central Bucks, Pennridge School Districts, and Virginia’s Loudoun County, signify a shift towards more inclusive and equitable educational policies.

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