Media Contact

ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2717

June 15, 2021

MIAMI, FL – On June 10, the Florida State Board of Education adopted a Department of Education rule that mandates censoring discussions involving gender and race in K-12 classrooms in Florida. The rule, pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, broadly bans instruction regarding racism being ‘embedded in American society and its legal systems.’

The new rules from the State Board of Education follow a nationwide pattern from state lawmakers who use bills and rules such as these to suppress ideas about racial equity and the issue of systemic racism.

Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to the Florida State Board of Education’s new rules with the following statement:

“The Black Lives Matter movement has shown that people across the country fully acknowledge the realities of systemic racism. The need to dismantle oppressive systems and pursue change is more important than ever.

“However, rather than engage with these conversations across the country, Gov. DeSantis and lawmakers in Florida are following a troubling trend to silence educators and young people by imposing an alternate version of American history that erases the lived experiences of Black and Brown people, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals, and denies the discrimination they have faced in this country.

“We must be able to teach and talk about these concepts in our classrooms. It is impossible to fully teach topics related to slavery, Jim Crow, the LGBTQ+ movement, or women’s suffrage, without examining the laws put into place to oppress, segregate, enslave, and discriminate against people in this country. Using these new rules to prevent talking about racism undercuts free speech. The First Amendment protects the right to share ideas, including the right of listeners to receive information and knowledge. We cannot be free if we cannot think about hard truths.

“This is a blatant attempt to suppress speech about systemic racism that Gov. DeSantis and his allies don’t like. The Florida State Board of Education needs to reverse this rule immediately.”