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Gov. DeSantis signs 'Stop WOKE Act' into law

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HIALEAH GARDENS, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning Critical Race Theory in all public schools Friday.

House Bill 7, officially named Individual Freedom, but also known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” codified an executive order previous signed by DeSantis that prohibited schools from teaching critical race theory in Florida.

“We believe in education, not indoctrination,” DeSantis said. “We believe an important component of freedom in the state of Florida is the freedom from having oppressive ideologies imposed upon you without your consent, whether it be in the classroom, or whether it be in the workplace.”

The text and supporters of the bill said it was designed to expand Florida’s Civil Rights laws and protections. Critics have said the bill prevents pieces of history from being included in Florida’s curriculum.

“We are not going to use your tax dollars to teach your kids to hate this country or to hate each other,” DeSantis said. “We’re not going to tell a kindergartener that they’re an oppressor based on their race and what may have happened 100 or 200 years ago. And we’re not going to tell other kids that they’re oppressed based on their race.”

DeSantis pushed back on the criticisms of the bill, maintaining it doesn’t remove parts of history from Florida’s curriculum.

He mentioned the Holocaust, the slave trade and abolition of it and the Civil Rights Movement all as “important” and “real history.”

“It is required in Florida statutes to teach about all segments of American history,” DeSantis said. “What we will not do is let people distort history to try to serve their current ideological goals.”

The bill passed both the Florida House and Florida Senate on a party-line basis.

The bill doesn’t just affect schools, but businesses as well. Part of the bill defines discrimination against individuals as trainings or lessons “as a condition of employment, membership, certification, licensing, credentialing, or passing an examination” or that “espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individual to believe any of the following concepts”:

  1. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another
  2. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
  3. An individual’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin
  4. People cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race, color, sex, or national origin
  5. An individual bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin
  6. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion
  7. An individual bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin
  8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another

The bill doesn’t outright ban those topics from being included in trainings, but says those concepts must be “given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.”

Disney was brought up several time for their “Reimagine Tomorrow” program, which is the company’s diversity, equity & inclusion program.

One speaker brought up DeSantis threatened Disney with “consequences” if the program isn’t changed by Monday.

The governor signed two other bills into law during the press conference.

One was the bill passed at this week’s special legislative session to terminate special districts in Florida. The other was a bill to remove a theme park carve-out in Florida’s Senate Bill 7072, which is a big tech censorship bill.

Both bills seemed to be aimed at Disney, as the governor only talked about them throughout his explanation of the bills.

Prior to the event where DeSantis signed the bill, he recommended Diaz to be Florida’s next education commissioner Friday after once Commissioner Richard Corcoran steps down from the role.

“Manny Diaz has done a great job in the Legislature on education issues ranging from teacher pay to parental rights and choice,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I am confident that he will serve our state well as the Commissioner of Education.”

In addition to serving in the Florida Legislature, Diaz worked as a teacher, coach, and school administrator.

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