Florida Signs The Stop WOKE Act Into Law

In another historic move, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill taking aim at critical race theory into law.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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On Friday, April 22nd, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed another historic education bill into law. Known as the Stop Woke Act, the piece of legislation established new guidelines for race-based discussions in both businesses and schools as part of the Republican governor’s battle to reform the state’s education department. While his moves are praised by Republicans, it’s another measure that has outraged liberals, as they fear that the ambiguous legislation will have lasting effects on the state’s students and teachers. 

DeSantis signed the law in front of supporters at a press conference in the city of Hialeah Gardens. House Bill 7, known as the Stop Woke Act, takes targets barring critical race theory (CRT) ideologies inside classrooms. Critical race theory studies systemic racism in the United States, and how it has shaped the nation. CRT was banned from public schools in Florida last year, but DeSantis and its other opponents claim it has weaseled its way into classrooms. Supporters of the Stop Woke Act see the new legislation as a way to further stop racial indoctrination from happening inside schools.

“We believe in education, not indoctrination,” DeSantis said while signing the bill. Going on, the governor said, “We will not use your tax dollars to teach your kids to hate this country or hate each other.” DeSantis is alluding to what many believe is wrong with critical race theory teachings. The Stop Woke Act bars instructions that could suggest that members of one race are inherently racist and that because of this, they should feel guilty for the past actions committed by their ancestors. Similarly, the legislation bans the notion that political orientation can be racist, or anything that suggests any form of discrimination is acceptable as a means to achieve diversity. 

The sweeping legislation was met with support from many Republicans and crusaders looking to rid schools of what they deemed to be indoctrination. Popular conservative activist Christopher Rufo was in attendance with Governor DeSantis and spoke of his approval. Rufo has been diligently working to rid CRT from the government for years. He said, “I don’t want my kids to feel guilt or shame because of their skin color” referring to parents that might be outraged with how their children are allegedly taught to feel about their race in classrooms.

Those opposed to DeSantis’ signing of the bill fear that it will have more crippling effects on teachers in Florida, and what they can teach about racism in history. Adversaries feel that the governor and other legislators pushing the bill have taken critical race theory fundamentals and spun an obscure narrative around it, especially considering the controversial education topic has already been banned from Florida’s schools. Instead, opponents fear it is a blatant attack on education and democrats.

Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon, a Black legislator spoke via the Associated Press for her disdain towards DeSantis and his party for pushing the bill through. “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. CRT is not taught in K-12 education here in our public schools,” Nixon said. Nixon, and many other Florida teachers, fear that the new law will prohibit teachers from teaching African American history, especially that of slavery, segregation, and lynchings throughout America’s history. 

Just in the past 2 months, DeSantis has signed a slew of historic bills into law taking aim at Florida’s education. Helping fuel the culture war, DeSantis now has taken aim at Disney, the company that openly opposed Florida’s controversial laws and vowed to pull funding away from politicians and parties that approved of it. Regardless of where you stand on the issues, it’s undeniable that DeSantis has made plenty of waves, and his actions are further cementing his possible move toward the 2024 Presidential election run.