Florida Senate passes GOP-backed ban on teaching students to ‘feel guilty’ over history

The bill, which passed the GOP-controlled state Senate by a vote of 24-15, would also ban the directive stating that certain races or genders are privileged or oppressed. The law previously passed the state House of Representatives 74-41 and has now moved to DeSantis’ desk, where he is expected to sign it.

The suppression of certain doctrines about race in Florida is part of a Republican national effort to remove the critical theory of race from school curricula, even if it doesn’t exist. . The movement has mobilized conservative parents and voters, and turned schools into the front lines of a national culture war that runs until mid-term 2022.

DeSantis, who faces re-election this year and is a potential future presidential candidate, led that charge. Last year, his administration Important racial theory is forbidden from K-12 schools. And in December, he called on lawmakers to extend the ban to all public schools, including colleges and workplaces, in a proposal he dubbed the Stop Mistakes Act. to our children and employees (WOKE).

DeSantis said at the time: “We must protect Florida workers from the hostile work environment that is created when large corporations force their employees to endure ‘training’ and instruction. inspired by CRT.

LGBTQ Floridians had hoped DeSantis could be an ally.  No more

The law does not specifically address critical racial theory, which acknowledges that racism is systemic and institutional in American society and has benefited whites and black Americans and oppressed brown skin. However, an analysis of the bill by state Senate staff highlighted the importance of teaching race theory as something that would be prohibited by law.

Senator Audrey Gibson, a Black Democrat from Jacksonville, said during the debate Thursday: “Nobody teaches the theory of race that matters. “This is a bill that looks for a problem we don’t have.”

“This is politically motivated,” she added. “This is designed to create division.”

On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers spent hours questioning the bill’s Republican sponsor, State Senator Manny Díaz Jr., about what directives would be allowed. They repeatedly asked Díaz for real-life examples in Florida where teachers or employers were educators; he has very little to offer.

The bill had previously said the guidance could not make people feel “uncomfortable” about their race or gender, which had raised widespread concern that it could lead to schools reducing educational attainment. sensitivity of historical events such as Jim Crow, the Japanese-American internment during World War II, or the Stonewall Riots. However, that language has been changed to now prohibit the indication that someone “must feel guilty, distressed, or other forms of psychological distress” about their race or gender.

The DeSantis Towards Act tries to make it clear that schools can teach about slavery and the history of racism and discrimination in an “age-appropriate manner,” but the guidance cannot. indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”

“If you tell a student in your class that because he’s male, he’s responsible for any sexist laws or actions that have been made in the past, that’s a violation of this bill. “, Díaz said Wednesday when asked about the bill. “If you tell a white student that they are responsible for slavery, that’s a violation of this bill. It doesn’t stop you from bringing up the subject, making your point, doing it. everything it takes to educate these students, but it’s being a teacher that doesn’t give you the right to impose that on students. Parents shouldn’t accept that and neither should we.”

DeSantis has urged lawmakers to empower parents to sue school districts for violations of this policy. However, that was not included in the bill.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

Amy Simonson contributed to this report.

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