Florida has been unable to pass legislation, which has been dubbed “Stop-WOKE.” The law will determine how race can be taught in schools. The law bans the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned down a request from the DeSantis administration and higher education officials to block an injunction, which means that the Governor and state officials cannot enforce the law.
“Professors must be able to discuss subjects like race and gender without hesitation or fear of state reprisal,” said the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE, one group that sued over the legislation. “Any law that limits the free exchange of ideas in university classrooms should lose in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.”
Florida’s Republican-led Legislature approved the legislation, FL HB 7 (22R), or the Individual Freedom Act, in 2022 to expand anti-discrimination laws to ban schools and companies from burdening employees with guilt based on their gender or sex.
The legislation, which is being led by DeSantis, has blasted lessons which focus on issues such as “white privilege” by creating new protections for students and workers, stating that no-one should have to “feel guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” due to their race, color, sex or national origin.
The law has encountered several lawsuits, one of which was filed by FIRE and another by the ACLU, ACLU of Florida and Legal Defense Fund, both of the lawsuits sued the state on behalf of students and educators.
In spite of the legal challenges, DeSantis remains bullish on the legislation being deemed as lawful.
“The Court did not rule on the merits of our appeal,” Bryan Griffin, press secretary for DeSantis, said in a statement. “The appeal is ongoing, and we remain confident that the law is constitutional.”
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