According to body-camera footage obtained by the Substack Popular Information, two members of the M4L group called the police to report alleged “pornography” in a book titled Storm and Fury by Jennifer L Armentrout.
“I’ve got some evidence a crime was committed,” M4L member Jennifer Tapley could be heard saying in the footage during a 25 October phone call to a local sheriff’s office.
Ms Tapley reportedly told police that a 17-year-old “minor” had checked out the book from Jay High School. “Pornography given to a minor in a school,” she said.
Another M4L member, Tom Gurski, could also be heard telling police: “The only reason we are here: A crime is being committed. It’s a third-degree felony. And we’ve got the evidence.” Mr Gurski added that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis “says this is child pornography. It’s a serious crime.”
“It’s just as serious as if I handed a Playboy to [my child] right now,” Ms Tapley added.
The case was referred to the Santa Rosa County Schools director of safety before it was closed.
The two school librarians have not been interviewed by the police, according to the public information officer for the district, Dr Tonya Shepherd, The Daily Beast reported.
The book, which is a young adult best-seller, focuses on an 18-year-old heroine who is losing her vision but can see and talk to ghosts and spirits. To keep her abilities hidden from demons and protect humankind, gargoyle shape-shifters guard her in an isolated compound.
The novel contains “sexual themes” and “a few makeout sessions”, the Substack reported.
The book’s author, Jennifer Armentrout, told Popular Information she was “stunned” by the incident, adding that she was shocked to learn that the country is still “living in an era where, apparently, some adults find it appropriate to contact the police over a fictional book involving gargoyles.”
Ms Armentrout added that the book “is very close to my heart, as the main character has the same degenerative eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, as I do”. She said she did not intend to “incite sexual excitement,” and rather, the book was written to “educate people on a little-known disease in a fun, suspenseful, and adventurous way.”
However, Ms Tapley disagreed, telling Popular Information that any book with a “sex scene” is not “appropriate for minors.”
Moms for Liberty was designated an “anti-government extremist” organisation by the Southern Poverty Law Center in June.
A report by the organisation found that M4L was one of dozens of groups leading efforts to gain power through local school boards to undermine public education and restrict access to books, classroom materials and honest discussions of race, racism, LGBT+ people and gender and sexuality.
Members of the group have previously reported library books to law enforcement. Mr Gurski reportedly filed a report with a Florida police department over Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, which has an LGBT+ character.
Meanwhile, a member of M4L’s North Carolina branch previously succeeded in getting a school board to remove A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas.
In a statement previously given to The Independent by Moms for Liberty co-founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich, they said the group is “devoted to empowering parents to be a part of their child’s public school education.”
Moms for Liberty has attracted support from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other Republican officials. The group claims to have a membership of 100,000 people in more than 250 chapters in 42 states.
The group has called teachers unions’ “terrorist organisations,” offered so-called bounties for reporting teachers who allegedly discuss “divisive topics” in schools, attacked The Trevor Project for supporting young LGBT+ people at risk of suicide, launched a barrage of book challenges, and is expanding its reach to state legislatures across the country.