According to former and current students, the Florida high school English teacher on a crusade to ban more than a hundred books by LGTBQ and Black authors has a yearslong history of making racist, sexist, and homophobic comments in her classroom.
Vicki Baggett teaches at Northview High School in the Escambia County School District. According to Popular Information, Baggett has 150 books in her crosshairs—books she wants out of libraries because she believes they violate Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Stop WOKE Act, a law that makes it illegal to teach topics DeSantis says make students “hate our country or hate each other.” The law specifically bans “critical race theory,” or CRT, a college-level legal concept that describes the way America’s institutional structures perpetuate their racist origins. CRT has never been taught in K-12 schools.
Baggett’s former students tell Popular Information that she’s the one who should be banned after telling her class, among other things, that “race mixing” is wrong because “she wants to preserve cultures” and doesn’t “want everyone to turn the same color.”
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Page Sunday, a 2021 Northview graduate, says Baggett was clearly opposed to interracial marriage. “[Baggett] said in the Bible somewhere it says that it is a sin for races to mix together and that whites are meant to be with whites and blacks are meant to be with blacks,” Sunday said, along with several other students, who confirmed that Baggett made the comments.
Sunday says Baggett is known in the community as “openly racist,” citing an incident at the local pool, where Baggett asked Sunday about “the Black-to-white” mix of kids, then asked two Black students if they “knew how to swim,” adding, “most black people don’t know how to swim.”
But it’s not all hearsay. Baggett’s own social media tells the story of a woman with deeply racist views. Popular Information reported that in 2015, Baggett posted a photo of a Confederate flag on her Facebook page. She gave an interview in December 2022 defending the image, saying, “Everyone in my clan fought in the Civil War,” adding that it wasn’t something she was “ashamed” of. She continued that she was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, a woman-led arm of the Neo-Confederate movement.
Baggett’s students say it’s not only students of color who are under attack in her classroom, but also LGBTQ students. Michael Sherril, a Northview parent, sent an email to the school’s principal complaining that Baggett was overheard by students saying gay people were “dumb/stupid for wearing the rainbow and pink colors because that is the way that Hitler marked homosexual males during the Holocaust.”
Many of the books Baggett is seeking to have banned have LGBTQ themes. One book, titled And Tango Makes Three, tells the story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who build a nest together and raise an adopted penguin chick named Tango. Baggett alleges the book promotes an “LGBTQ agenda” and fulfills DeSantis’ bogus anti-CRT criteria of “indoctrination” of students.
In an interview, Baggett said that if elementary-age students were to read the book, the “idea would pop into the second grader's mind […] that these are two people of the same sex that love each other."
Baggett is also trying to ban the book When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball, the story of the famed Black sprinter who grew up in the deep South and, despite racial discrimination, became an Olympic champion. Baggett claims the book could make white students feel “white shamed” and “uncomfortable” and called the book “race-baiting.”
Baggett has also gone after a slew of high school-level books she deems “pornographic” and has said that the American Library Associate is “pushing porn in public education institutions.”
Baggett has managed to restrict 125 book titles, and her list continues to grow.
Popular Information reports that the teacher is also looking to hold her colleagues legally responsible for putting books she deems inappropriate back on library shelves. She is hoping librarians will “be prosecuted” for felonies under Florida child pornography laws.