Ron DeSantis threatened legal action over AP African American Studies ban

Ron DeSantis threatened legal action over AP African American Studies ban

  • US News
  • January 25, 2023
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Three Florida high school students are threatening to sue Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida over a recently announced statewide ban on a new advanced placement course in African American history.

The threatened lawsuit was announced Wednesday on behalf of the AP, which honors students who accuse the state and its Republican governor of censoring public education while heavily favoring white history over black.

“Certainly there are other advanced internship stories like AP European History, AP US History, and AP World History, all designed primarily for white people,” high school junior Victoria McQueen, one of the potential plaintiffs, said at a news conference alongside civil attorney Ben Crump who would represent her.

Crump, left, stands next to the three Leon County high school students who are threatening to file a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and his government over Florida's ban on a proposed AP course in African American studies.Crump, left, stands next to the three Leon County high school students who are threatening to file a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and his government over Florida’s ban on a proposed AP course in African American studies.

Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via Associated Press

“Unless he negotiates with the College Board to allow African American studies to be taught in Florida state classrooms, these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit,” Crump said of DeSantis.

The African American studies pilot program was banned in Florida under DeSantis’ so-called “Stop WOKE Act,” which he signed last year. The legislation restricts how racism and other aspects of history can be taught in schools and in the workplace. It includes a ban on teaching “Critical Race Theory,” a college-level framework that argues that racism is embedded in legal systems and government policies.

The Florida Department of Education (DOE) said a number of subjects — including critical race theory, Black queer studies and intersectionality — must be removed for the course to be taught in state schools.

A "Stop Black's attack" Rally in Tallahassee, Fla. on Wednesday protesting recent state legislation and policies deemed racist.A “Stop the Black Attack” rally in Tallahassee, Fla. on Wednesday protests recent state legislation and policies deemed racist.

Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via Associated Press

“As Gov. DeSantis said, African American history is American history and we will not allow any organization to use an academic course as a gateway for indoctrination and political agenda,” Alex Lanfranconi, communications director for the Florida Department of Education, said in a statement Wednesday.

The College Board announced Tuesday that it will unveil its official framework for the course on February 1, after considering feedback from high schools and colleges that have already participated in the pilot program nationwide.

“This framework, which has been in development since March 2022, replaces the preliminary framework for pilot courses discussed so far,” the nonprofit said, without giving details on how the official course might differ from the pilot course.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis convened the AP course "Indoctrination, not education."Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the AP course “indoctrination, not education.”

The Florida DOE said in a letter to the college board last week that the AP course contains historically inaccurate content and “clearly lacks educational value.” It suggested changing course for future considerations.

The pilot course is “indoctrination, not education,” DeSantis said at a news conference Monday.

“Who would say that an important part of black history is queer theory?” he said. “That’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards. If you try to use black history in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use it for political purposes.

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