Media Contact

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

March 6, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL –  Today, the Florida Legislature voted to pass House Bill 1291 (HB 1291), a government censorship bill prohibiting discussions of institutional racism, oppression, and identity politics in teacher training programs. It seeks to expand the same unconstitutional Stop WOKE prohibitions to teacher preparation courses.

The bill next heads to the governor for his signature.

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:

“HB 1291 is a permutation of the Stop WOKE Act. It extends the same unconstitutional censorship to teacher preparation courses by banning the discussion of systemic and institutional racism, sexism, and oppression.

“Since it passed in 2022, the Stop WOKE Act has been challenged in the courts and has since been blocked from enforcement – not once, but twice – for its blatant content and viewpoint discrimination.

“Just this week a federal judge wrote, ‘By limiting its restrictions to a list of ideas designated as offensive, the Act targets speech based on its content. And by barring only speech that endorses any of those ideas, it penalizes certain viewpoints — ‘the greatest First Amendment sin.’

“HB 1291 will infringe upon freedom of speech and continue to keep Floridians uneducated and keep them from having honest discussions about our country’s past. This is a blatant effort by certain lawmakers to limit discussions and censor viewpoints that they do not agree with. Florida already has a teacher shortage crisis, and this legislation will only make it worse.

“If improving our education system was truly the focus, legislators would be working to raise teacher pay, provide more resources in the classroom, and ensure equal access to educational opportunities for all students. Instead, they are stifling free speech across Florida’s education system, as part of a broader trend to impose censorship in public schools.”