Florida substitute teacher fired after pulling a viral ‘false narrative’ against DeSantis

A substitute teacher in Florida who reportedly tried to smear Gov. Ron DeSantis has instead found himself without a job.

The drama started to unfold last month when then-Mandarin Middle School substitute teacher Brian Covey posted a video to social media showing what appeared to be rows of empty bookshelves in the school’s library.

The video quickly went viral, attracting millions of views.

Below is a copy of the video:

Fast-forward to this Tuesday, when First Coast News asked Gov. DeSantis for his thoughts on the video.

In response, he called the video a “fake narrative” and claimed that the library simply hadn’t put its books out yet.

“That was a fake narrative. That was not true. … This is trying to create some narrative. They hadn’t even put the books out yet to begin with, 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,” he said.

He continued by stressing that his policies aren’t about banning all books — they’re about only banning books that contain inappropriate content for children.

As previously reported, Republican governors like DeSantis have been banning books in schools that contain explicit sexual content or that promote racial essentialism.

Note that these bans only pertain to schools and school-related activities, meaning parents can still buy their children the banned books in their personal time.


A day after the press conference above, Covey was fired.

In a statement to First Coast News, the school district attributed his termination to his violation of the district’s social media policy.

“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,” they said.

ESS is reportedly the company that the district contracts with to hire substitute teachers.

In a separate statement, Duval County Public Schools spokesperson Tracy Pierce appeared to confirm the governor’s narrative about the books just not having been laid out yet.

“It may be jarring to see empty bookshelves, people can apply their own judgement, but it’s a false accusation given the fact that more than half of the books, probably two thirds or more, are completely available to kids,” she said.

DCPS Superintendent Diana Greene also issued a statement stressing that no school and classroom is without books.

“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. However, at no time should a classroom have been without reading resources,” she said.

Despite all this, Covey doubled down in an interview with First Coast News, defending the video:

“I walked in and saw shelves that were empty. That’s exactly what people were saying wasn’t happening, so I just wanted to share into the abyss of social media what was the reality that I could see with my own two eyes,” he said.

“Obviously, I knew the risk that I was taking going into this by leaving the video up and continuing to talk about it. But at the same time, my children’s education, my children’s understanding of the world and seeing that their father’s willing to go out to bat for them, is more important to me,” he added.

He evidently believed he performed a great, noble service by posting the deceptive video to social media. And indeed, the video is very deceptive.

Confronted by the claim that his video was a “misrepresentation” of reality and that there had been other shelves at the library that were full,  he claimed the other shelves had been inaccessible to the kids.

“They say it’s a misrepresentation, but on the other side of the library they literally had tables, whiteboards, TVs, everything stacked in front of the other books. That’s storage to me. When you have empty shelves all over the library and you have books stacked in front of each other, that’s storage,” he said.

Amazingly, Covey has a lot of supporters, particularly on Twitter, which is a veritable leftist echo chamber.



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