Florida Gov. Ron Desantis officially signed H.B. 7, or the “Stop Woke Act,” a bill aimed at limiting how schools, colleges, and businesses discuss issues of race into law, according to the Associated Press.
The law blocks any instruction that could hint at one race “feeling guilt” for past actions or that their race necessarily determines a person’s status as privileged or oppressed. This will also stop businesses from using diversity practices or training that could make employees feel guilty for similar reasons. H.B. 7 is set to go into effect on July 1st.
The legislation was immediately challenged in a federal lawsuit by two Florida teachers, filed on Friday, arguing that the law violates First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights and seeks an injunction to stop it.
“This legislation prohibits Florida’s K-12 schoolteachers, college and university professors, and employers from espousing, endorsing, or advancing a wide range of viewpoints on important issues about race in America, such as institutional racism and implicit bias,” in a news release shared with CNN on Friday.
H.B. 7 says schools can teach about slavery and the history of racial segregation and discrimination in an “age-appropriate manner.” Still, the instruction cannot “indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.” Some Florida reps have pointed out that Critical Race Theory is not taught in public schools, and while the law doesn’t explicitly state CRT, it’s aimed to distort Black history.
“It’s just illustrating Gov. DeSantis’ pattern of Black attack policies led by Republican legislators. He has taken a culture war to a classic Republican battleground, which is the public schools. It’s going to hurt our children’s futures,”’ said Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon, who is Black. “CRT is not taught in K-12 education here in our public schools.”
Gov. Desantis also signed bills approving new congressional maps that dilute African-American voting power in Florida, and do away with Disney’s special status to operate as an independent government around its Orlando-area theme parks.