DeSantis introduces ‘Stop Woke Act’

Governor Ron DeSantis is targeting the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in Florida by introducing the ‘Stop Woke Act,’ which will give parents the right to sue educators. Teaching CRT is already barred in the state.

Speaking at a press conference in Sumter County on Wednesday, the governor blasted what he called growing “woke ideology” and called the Stop WOKE (Wrongs to our Kids and Education) Act the “first of its kind in the nation.” He added that he views “wokeness as a form of cultural Marxism.” 

In June, the Florida Department of Education prohibited the teaching of critical race theory. Opponents of CRT have blasted it as racist and anti-American, while supporters claim it adds an essential element of context to racial inequality in American history. 

The Stop WOKE Act allows parents to sue educators if their kids are being taught critical race theory in school. Teaching critical race theory will be considered an “unlawful employment practice.” This, the governor said, makes it “clear that corporations and public sector employers violate the Florida Civil Rights Act when they subject their employees to training that espouses race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating including critical race theory.”

During his announcement, DeSantis took to quoting civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. to defend the harsh stance against critical race theory. 

“You think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn't want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don't talk about that,” the governor said, adding that critical race theory is an attempt to “denigrate” the US Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. 

The governor was surrounded by supporters during his Wednesday speech, some of whom held anti-critical race theory signs and spoke in support of the bill, including City Journal reporter Christopher F. Rufo, who specializes in covering ‘woke’ teachings at schools and universities. All of these teachings, Rufo said, “relate back to critical race theory.”

The bill is modeled after a controversial Texas abortion law that allows private citizens to sue doctors who provide abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which is typically about six weeks into pregnancy. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom similarly used the Texas law and it being upheld in the Supreme Court to announce legislation that will allow citizens to sue “assault weapon” manufacturers across the state. 

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