TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — A bill pushed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel “discomfort” when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation’s past received its first approval.
It takes aim at critical race theory though it doesn’t mention it explicitly. Florida’s Senate Education Committee approved the bill on party lines Tuesday, with Republicans in favor and Democrats arguing the bill isn’t needed.
DeSantis called critical race theory “crap” last month and said he would seek legislation that would let parents sue schools and employees sue employers if they were subject to its teachings.
“We are going to be including in this legislation giving parents a private right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT, and they get to recover attorney’s fees when they prevail, which is very important,” DeSantis said. “A lot of times these people will fear lawsuits more than a fine from the State Department of Education.”
DeSantis said the legislation would also prevent teachers and school staff from being subject to “anti-racist therapy” or CRT training. Districts would also be barred from paying CRT consultants with school funds.
According to Merriam-Webster, by definition, critical race theory is “a group of concepts (such as the idea that race is a sociological rather than biological designation, and that racism pervades society and is fostered and perpetuated by the legal system) used for examining the relationship between race and the laws and legal institutions of a country and especially the United States.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.