- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign two education bills: one targeting “woke ideology” on college campuses and the other banning social media use on school devices and during class time for K-12 students.
- Critics of SB 266 argue that the bill threatens Florida’s higher education reputation and may cause top faculty and students to leave. Supporters claim that diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have been hijacked to bully and shut down debate.
- HB 379 requires public schools to teach students about internet safety and block social media access on school-provided Wi-Fi. Students can still access social media on personal devices but cannot use them during class time, except for educational purposes.
- The Department of Education will create a new curriculum on social media safety for grades 6-12, covering its social, emotional, and physical impacts, and potential dangers. The bill also prohibits the use of TikTok or any successor application or service on school devices.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is set to receive a pair of education related bills, one targeting so-called “woke” ideology on college campuses; the other banning social media access on school devices, as well as smartphone use by K-12 students during class time.
“Woke ideology” targeted
The Florida House gave final approval to SB 266 on Wednesday, aiming to prevent colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Critics argue that the bill threatens Florida’s higher education reputation and may lead to the departure of top faculty members and students. However, supporters claim that these initiatives have been hijacked by those who wish to use them to bully and shut down debate.
The bill includes several higher-education changes, such as requiring the State Board of Education and the state university system’s Board of Governors to appoint faculty committees to review general-education core courses. Courses that “distort significant historical events” or teach identity politics based on theories of systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are disallowed.
Smartphones, social media banned in grades K-12
Florida lawmakers have also banned the use of social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter on public school devices. HB 379, which is now awaiting Gov. DeSantis’ signature, requires schools to teach students about the potential dangers of the internet. The bill mandates public school districts to block access to social media on school-provided Wi-Fi and develop new curricula on social media safety for grades 6-12.
Under the bill, students can still access social media sites using their personal devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops, and mobile plans. However, the legislation forbids device usage during class time, except for educational purposes under a teacher’s guidance.
Once signed into law, the Department of Education will be required to create a new curriculum on social media safety for grades 6-12, covering its social, emotional, and physical impacts, as well as potential dangers. The materials will be made available to the public and parents.
The bill specifically prohibits the use of TikTok or any successor application or service on school devices or as a means to communicate or promote school-sponsored events, clubs, or sports teams.