TALLAHASSEE — Critical race theory shouldn’t be taught to Florida’s children or workers, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday, and he’ll seek legislation next month to ban a practice that is stirring debate nationwide.
The Republican governor al- so wants parents to be able to sue schools suspected of teaching the theory and receive attorney’s fees.
“In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory,” DeSantis said at an event before cheering supporters in Wildwood. “We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.”
The Florida Board of Education in June passed a rule to ban in K-12 schools the teaching of critical race theory, which holds that America’s history of slavery and racism carry on and have effects on current-day laws and practices.
As defined, it’s largely taught in law schools, and public-school officials say they don’t teach it.
The governor cited examples of what he called critical race theory from Arizona, California and Pennsylvania, saying he didn’t want that to happen in Florida.
DeSantis wants the Legislature to codify that rule into state law when lawmakers convene their 60-day regular session starting Jan. 11. But he also wants them to go further and ban CRT from being used in seminars and training sessions for K-12 school employees and in all workplaces in the state.
He is proposing the lawsuit provision because “we also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have the means to vindicate their rights when it comes to enforcing state standards,” he said.
Democrats, especially Black Democrats, reacted with consternation and anger at DeSantis’ latest plan.
“The fact that Republicans have made the argument that CRT is dividing our nation, when they led a whole insurrection on Jan 6th is baffling to me,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-Miami, vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee, posted on Twitter.
“I refuse to sit and watch people who haven’t had a lived experience in my skin to use US as their political scapegoat. Naw, I’m good.”
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