- Florida lawmakers delivered a win to opponents of critical race theory on Thursday.
- The Stop WOKE Act heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk for signing and would take effect in July.
- The bill comes two days after the Florida legislature passed a similar bill on LGBTQ issues.
The Florida Senate passed a bill on Thursday that will limit race-related discussions in classrooms and workplaces, delivering a win to Republicans in the state who have supported legislation to oppose critical race theory in schools.
Known as the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, or Stop WOKE Act, the bill prohibits certain concepts about race from being discussed or taught.
One section of the bill reads: “A person should not be instructed that he or she must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”
The bill, which was passed by the Florida House last month, now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk for signing. DeSantis announced the bill in December, touting it as the “strongest legislation of its kind in the nation” and saying it “will take on both corporate wokeness and Critical Race Theory.”
“In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory,” DeSantis said. “We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other. We also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have the means to vindicate their rights when it comes to enforcing state standards.”
The bill was amended to include requirements about teaching Black history and about the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping.
Critics have said critical race theory, a decades-old academic concept and legal framework that examines America’s history of racism and how it continues to affect the US, is not currently taught in Florida schools. They’ve also said such bills could have a chilling effect on education.
“We don’t have CRT in our classrooms, but really what it is doing is silencing students, surveillancing teachers and creating an environment where any conversation on race and culture seems off the table,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani told WTVJ.
The bill, which would take effect in July, passed days after another bill concerning LGBTQ discussions in schools passed the Florida legislature on Tuesday. Referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the legislation bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in primary classrooms.