DeSantis' new anti-woke law survives legal challenge

The Individual Freedom Act prevents the teaching of content that could be deemed as racially divisive, or teaches that specific attributes compel discrimination at the K-12 and collegiate levels.

DeSantis' Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told Campus Reform that the administration was confident the bill would 'withstand' legal pressure.

Florida’s controversial education bill that allegedly counters Critical Race Theory in schools will be enacted on July 1 after surviving legal challenges.

Opponents attempted to block the “Stop WOKE Act” from being enacted last Tuesday. However, a federal judge denied a preliminary injunction on Monday and stunted the request from stopping the bill.

The law’s formal name is the Individual Freedom Act. 

DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told Campus Reform that the administration was confident the bill would “withstand” legal pressure.

The law protects students and workers from discriminatory indoctrination,” she said. “Nobody should be compelled to undergo trainings or lectures that stereotype individuals based on race or other innate characteristics.”

The Individual Freedom Act prevents the teaching of content that could be deemed as racially divisive, or teaches that specific attributes compel discrimination at the K-12 and collegiate levels. 

Instead, the new law prompts American history to be taught on the foundation of individual freedom and choice.

[RELATED: DeSantis to sign new bill that introduces legal, finding repercussions for teaching CRT]

”Students shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms, and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purpose of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,” the bill reads.

Opponents, however, argue that the bill restricts educators’ ability to teach in the classroom.

United Faculty of Florida President Anthony Gothard accused the law of censoring professors to avoid offending conservative students, and warned that its enactment could have a “chilling” effect on speech.

The nature of this law is designed to stop students and stop faculty from talking about subjects that conservative politicians dislike,” he stated, according to WUFT

The union represents 25,000 faculty members at 12 state-wide public schools. While the union hasn’t imposed any legal action, Gothard stated that it is not beyond consideration. 

[RELATED: Governor bans Critical Race Theory in schools, says it ‘threatens the integrity of education.’]

Schools that violate the bill and endorse CRT-confirmed content may lose state funding. 

The University of Florida attempted to better faculty understanding of the law by publishing a 20-slide presentation that breaks down the tenants of the bill. 

The slides address the “core message” of the bill is to prevent professors from imposing biased content in lectures and highlights objectivity. The slides also walk through content that “instructors may not suggest or assert” as fact, nor provide endorsement of the criteria. 

”Instructors are encouraged to facilitate free, vigorous, and open discussion, which enable students to reach their own conclusions without instructor bias,” one slide reads. 

”This means not imposing personal views about controversial topics,” the presentation continues. “This means effectively managing classroom discussion that can become heated.”

UF declined the opportunity to comment.

Governor Ron DeSantis stamped his approval for the bill in April after a controversial battle in the Sunshine statehouse. He accused the “far-left” of indoctrinating students and workers through progressive instruction in a press released explaining his decision to back the bill.

“No one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race,” he said. “In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida.”

Campus Reform contacted UFF and DeSantis for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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