A federal judge on Monday rejected claims from attorneys for teachers, a student, and a diversity consultant that he should stop the contentious ‘Stop WOKE Act’ that limits how race-related topics can be taught in classrooms and job training sites.
In a 23-page ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker denied a preliminary injunction against the law, which is set to go into effect on Friday. Walker ordered counsel to submit further documents but did not reach a decision on a professor from the University of Central Florida’s request for an injunction.
House Bill 7 (HB 7), The ‘Stop Wrong Against Our Kids and Employees Act,’ stylized as “Stop WOKE Act,” would prevent state funding from going to public schools that enact a CRT learning plan, also preventing staff from being subject to what DeSantis called ‘anti-racist therapy.’
The bill would also grant parents the ability to legally challenge Critical Race Theory (CRT) teachings in schools while being reimbursed by the state for attorney fees throughout the process.
“I think what you see now with the rise of this ‘woke’ ideology is an attempt to really delegitimize our history and delegitimize our institutions,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “They want to tear the fabric of our society, and our culture, and a lot of things we’ve taken for granted, like the ability of parents to raise their children.”
Supporters of the bill claim the measure would ensure that children and employees aren’t made to feel guilty for historical events they weren’t personally involved in and that all races are viewed equally. Detractors, like Rep. Angela Nixon, claim that the passage of HB 7 could prove to be imposing on teachers, further straining the ongoing teacher shortage the state is facing.
“Many of us know that teachers in our local schools do their best to ensure our children thrive. They’ve been on the front lines of the pandemic showing that they’ll do all they can to keep our kids healthy and safe,” said Nixon. “Sadly, Ron DeSantis and Republicans want to convince us that somehow our schools, full of teachers that care and want the best for our kids, are actually factories programming students to be racist. Once again, our children are being used to play divisive political games that appeal to his far-right extremist base.”
Following Monday’s ruling, the ‘Stop WOKE Act’ is set to go into effect on July 1.