TALLAHASSEE, FL – On Thursday, Gov. DeSantis’ administration blocked an Advanced Placement course focusing on African American studies from being taught in Florida high schools. The Florida Department of Education rejected the program, claiming the course is “contrary to Florida law” and “lacks educational value” without specifying what content in the course was objectionable.
Gov. DeSantis’ administration continues to find ways to attempt to stifle classroom speech despite the fact that, in November 2022, a federal court blocked the unconstitutional Stop W.O.K.E. Act (H.B. 7) from being enforced in higher education in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF), and Ballard Spahr on behalf of seven educators and one student. The order called the law “positively dystopian.”
Tiffani Lennon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to this decision with the following:
“Time and time again, the DeSantis administration continues to demonstrate its blatant disregard for the First Amendment. From championing an anti-protest law in 2021 to prohibiting educators from teaching or even expressing viewpoints around racism and sexism just last year, the DeSantis administration has persistently sought to chill and silence Floridians. The brunt of these efforts has unjustly discriminated against the millions of Black and brown people who live in this state—constituents whom the DeSantis administration has the duty to serve as well.
“The history of Black and brown people who have contributed to our country deserves to be heard and taught to future generations. From the brave heroes who challenged the cruel institution of slavery, like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, to the many civil rights heroes who fought for equality, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks—the history of Black and brown Americans exudes the true spirit of freedom and liberty that is the basis of our democracy. It is the lives of these invaluable historical figures and the history of Black and brown Americans that pushes our country to live up to the values enshrined in the Constitution. The reality is that the stories of the Black and brown people who have lived in this country for generations, and who are the founders of this nation as much as anyone else, is American history.
“Gov. DeSantis’ attacks against free speech are a dire threat to our democracy and to future generations of Americans. No politician should silence the stories of Black and brown people who helped create our country. Our democracy and constitutional values must transcend such hateful and callous political agendas if we do, indeed, seek to make a more perfect union.”