TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 7 (HB 7), an education censorship bill, into law. The new law chills discussions of race, gender, national origin, and the impact of slavery and systemic oppression in workplaces and classrooms. It also prevents educators from discussing these topics in the classroom and allows employees to file discrimination claims against their employer should they host discussions on these topics in the workplace that employees are required to attend.
The law will go into effect starting July 1, 2022.
Amy Turkel, interim executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:
“This dangerous law is part of a nationwide trend to whitewash history and chill free speech in classrooms and workplaces. It will infringe on teachers’ and employers’ First Amendment rights and chill their ability to use concepts like systemic racism and gender discrimination to teach about and discuss important American history. It prevents students from exercising their right to learn about the history and lived experiences of Black people and other marginalized people in our country. It tells Black and Brown communities that their histories and stories don’t matter.
“Gov. DeSantis and his allies cannot stifle speech simply because it makes them uncomfortable. Yet, by signing this bill, that is the Governor’s message to Floridians. The First Amendment is clear: no politician holds more power than our Constitution. This blatant attempt to restrict free speech— including the right to share ideas and receive information in classrooms and workplaces— is dangerous for our democracy. The ACLU of Florida will not stop fighting for Floridians’ First Amendment rights.”