Up until now, Florida First Lady Ann Scott has flown largely under the radar; her biggest faux pas has been being married to Rick Scott, the much-disliked governor of the worst state in America. But that changed on Thursday when she decided to read a classroom of Hillsborough County fifth-graders a classic novel featuring a scene about Miami prostitutes.
Scott, the Miami New Times reports, read a few passages from Patrick D. Smith’s A Land Remembered. Smith’s book, a fictional account of Florida’s history, is largely considered a classic and has regularly been assigned in Florida’s schools since it was published in 1984 (I had to read it in fifth grade, too). But the version assigned to 10-year-olds is a heavily edited, condensed version of Smith’s often profane novel. Scott, apparently, didn’t get that message and read from the original, not-so-kid-friendly version. Via MNT:
The two characters [of Smith’s book] discuss Miami history, including a quick telling of the story of Julia Tuttle, the mother of Miami, as they drive off the causeway that bears her name.
“I’ll bet ole Julia Tuttle would throw a tissy fit if she could see what this causeway leads to now,” one of the characters quips. “She’d probably want her name off of it.”
But the conversation is also peppered with words like “bastard,” “damnit,” and “son-of-a-bitch.”
The scene then goes on to describe the “porno movies,” “adult books stores,” “prostitutes,” “junkies,” and “professional muggers,” that used to call Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard its home. It’s not particularly scandalous stuff, but it’s hard to imagine Scott continuing to read the passage without a nagging feeling that maybe something just wasn’t right.
Needless to say, somebody complained about Scott’s dramatic reading. In an apology letter, Scott wrote: “As the mother and grandmother of two wonderful daughters and four grandsons, I would never want to cause any offense or concern for students or parents.” Whether or not Scott offended any students is hard to say; prostitutes, professional criminals, and synthetic drug dealers are pretty standard knowledge for most Florida fifth graders.
Image via AP.