DeSantis Vows to "Stop WOKE" With New Law

WILDWOOD -- Continuing his administration’s campaign against critical race theory, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday teased legislation that he said would, in part, allow parents to sue schools that teach the theory.

Flanked by lawmakers, parents and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the governor announced what he called the “Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act,” or Stop W.O.K.E. Act. Also on hand, Christopher Rufo of the Manhattan Institute, widely attributed with bringing the issue to public attention.

The proposal would prohibit training for educators on teaching the theory.

“It violates Florida standards to scapegoat someone based on their race, to say that they’re inherently racist, to say that they’re an oppressor or oppressed or any of that,” DeSantis said.

The governor said the new proposal is intended to put a state rule into law, making enforcement easier.

Republicans throughout the country have rallied behind opposition to critical race theory. DeSantis said that under the proposal, parents would be able to recover attorney fees if they successfully sue schools that teach critical race theory in defiance of the state.

“A lot of the time these people will fear lawsuits more than a fine from the state Department of Education because when you do lawsuits, you get discovery, and you’re subject to that. And when they say they’re not doing CRT and then you have all this information showing that they are doing it, it really is an uncomfortable position for them,” DeSantis said.

In addition to public schools, DeSantis said the proposal would prohibit colleges and universities from hiring critical-race theory consultants, which the governor argued is a “cottage industry” designed to provide training to teachers and professors.

Democrats have largely criticized DeSantis, who is running for re-election in 2022, on the issue, with many arguing critical race theory is not taught in public schools.

“Let’s be clear, Gov. DeSantis and his administration know full well that CRT (critical race theory) is not taught in K-12 schools or workplaces,” Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s unfortunate that instead of running on forward-looking ideas to improve people’s daily lives, Republicans would rather manufacture a crisis out of a non-issue, all in the hopes of fanning the flames of a culture war for political gain.”

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Photo: Getty Images

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