DeSantis bill would ban critical race theory from schools, workplaces

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DeSantis bill would ban critical race theory from schools, workplaces

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis took another swipe against critical race theory Wednesday, introducing a bill to ban the controversial curriculum from K-12 schools in the state.

The Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act would allow parents to file lawsuits against school districts they suspect of teaching critical race theory and recover attorney fees “when they prevail,” the governor said during a press conference. 

“Our legislation will defund any money for K-12 going to CRT consultants,” DeSantis said. “No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or hate each other.”

DeSantis – who has been touted as a potential 2024 GOP presidential front-runner if former President Donald Trump does not make another White House bid – said people often fear lawsuits more than a fine, as it puts them in an “uncomfortable position.” 

“I think that gives parents the ability to go in and ensure that our state standards are being followed,” he added. 

The bill, which will be formally introduced in the next legislative session, would also permit teachers to push back against what DeSantis called “unlawful mandates from their elected district leadership” and bar colleges and universities from hiring “woke” critical race theory consultants.

According to DeSantis, the bill would prevent schools from hiring "CRT consultants."
According to DeSantis, the bill would prevent schools from hiring “CRT consultants.”
Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

In addition, the proposal includes provisions for employees to protect themselves from incidents of “corporate wokeness,” such as critical race theory training. 

“[W]e must protect Florida workers against the hostile work environment that is created when large corporations force their employees to endure CRT-inspired ‘training’ and indoctrination,” said DeSantis in a statement from his office, which cited reports of such programs at Google, Bank of America and Raytheon.

“Think about what MLK stood for,” the governor said. “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.”

DeSantis' bill would also protect workers from CRT workplace training.
DeSantis’ bill would also protect workers from CRT workplace training.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones, the vice chair of the chamber’s education committee, accused DeSantis and Republicans of manufacturing “a crisis out of a non-issue,” adding that the governor and his team “know full well that CRT is not taught in K-12 schools or workplaces.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced the Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act that would allow parents to sue school districts that teach critical race theory.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced the Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act that would allow parents to sue school districts that teach critical race theory.
AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File

Over the summer, DeSantis called on Florida’s Department of Education to ban the critical race theory curriculum, which teaches the idea that racism is systemic in America’s legal societal structures.

Banning critical race theory has become a massive Republican talking point in recent months as the party looks to retake Congress in the 2022 midterms.

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