Students Plan to Sue DeSantis for Rejecting AP African American Studies Course

Three highschool college students represented by legal professional Benjamin Crump are planning to sue Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for rejecting a brand new highschool Superior Placement African-American research course, the outstanding civil rights lawyer mentioned Wednesday.

As Widespread Desires reported final week, DeSantis rejected the pilot course in AP African-American studies being examined by the Faculty Board—the group behind the SAT examination — as he believes it “lacks instructional worth” and violates the state’s Stop WOKE Act by selling crucial race idea (CRT). There may be little to no proof that CRT — a graduate-level educational self-discipline analyzing systemic racism — is being taught in any Okay-12 faculty in Florida, or anyplace in the US.

“We’re right here to provide discover to Gov. DeSantis that if he doesn’t negotiate with the Faculty Board to permit AP African-American research to be taught within the school rooms throughout the state of Florida, that these three younger individuals would be the lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit,” Crump mentioned throughout a Wednesday press conference on the state Capitol in Tallahassee, referring to college students Elijah Edwards, Victoria McQueen, and Juliette Heckman.

Victoria McQueen, a junior at Leon Excessive Faculty in Tallahassee, mentioned that “there are lots of gaps in American historical past concerning the African-American inhabitants. The implementation of an AP African-American historical past class will fill in these gaps.”

“Stealing the best for college students to collect data on a historical past that many wish to find out about as a result of it’s a political agenda goes to point out that some don’t need… the horrors this nation has executed to African-Individuals to lastly come to gentle,” she added.

In Florida, these “horrors” embody the centuries-long experiences of slavery and Jim Crow, together with Twentieth-century atrocities just like the Ocoee and Rosewood massacres and lynchings just like the Newberry Six — occasions that formed the state’s fashionable historical past.

One other one of many college students, highschool sophomore Elijah Edwards, mentioned that “Gov. DeSantis determined to disclaim the doubtless life-changing class and successfully censor the liberty of our schooling and protect us from the truths of our ancestors.”

“I assumed right here on this nation, we imagine within the free trade of concepts, not the suppression of it,” he added.

Additionally current on the press convention have been Florida Home Minority Chief Fentrice Driskell (D-63), Florida Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Dianne Hart (D-61), state Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-35), American Federation of Academics secretary-treasurer Fedrick Ingram, and Nationwide Black Justice Coalition govt director David Johns.

“By rejecting the African-American historical past pilot program, Ron DeSantis clearly demonstrated he desires to dictate whose story does and doesn’t belong,” mentioned Driskell.

She continued:

He desires to regulate what our children can be taught based mostly on politics, not on sound coverage. He repeatedly assaults the First Modification rights of Floridians with books being banned from libraries and school rooms and now throwing his weight in opposition to this AP African-American historical past course. He’s undermining the rights of oldsters and college students to make the very best choices for themselves. He desires to say that I don’t belong. He desires to say you don’t belong… However we’re right here to inform him, we’re America. Governor, Black historical past is American historical past and you’re on the improper facet of historical past.

Acknowledging that the course “might be altered and resubmitted and most probably they’ll be capable to make sufficient modifications for the governor to approve it,” Driskell requested, “however at what price? Are we actually okay with Ron DeSantis deciding what’s acceptable for America’s college students throughout the nation about Black historical past?”

“Precisely educating our historical past will not be political till others make it so,” Driskell asserted. “How is political to speak concerning the struggles we’ve endured? How is political to speak about and to recollect our historical past?”

“The reality is the reality; you’ll be able to’t change it, it merely is,” she added. “However in case you attempt to sugarcoat it, in case you refuse to show it precisely, then the reality might be suppressed, it may be diminished, and if we’re not vigilant, it could possibly even be erased.”

DeSantis, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, has backed dozens of right-wing faculty board candidates whereas purging schooling officers who promote or implement Covid-19 mandates. Final yr, he outraged LGBTQ+ advocates by signing into law the so-called “Don’t Say Homosexual or Trans” invoice, falsely claiming that colleges have been selling “pornographic” materials whereas perpetuating homophobic and transphobic tropes.

The governor additionally signed a legislation requiring “media consultants” to make sure that all books in Florida school rooms are “freed from pornography,” are “applicable for the age stage and group,” and include no “unsolicited theories that will result in pupil indoctrination.” Violators face felony expenses, main some lecturers to cover or remove books from their classroom libraries for worry of operating afoul of the legislation.

DeSantis stridently touts himself as a champion of “freedom.”

“Collectively now we have made Florida the freest state in these United States,” he said throughout his 2022 State of the State deal with. “Whereas so many across the nation have consigned the individuals’s rights to the graveyard, Florida has stood as freedom’s vanguard.”