Gov. DeSantis announces new legislation to combat ‘corporate wokeness’

WILDWOOD, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new legislation that aims at taking a stand against critical race theory in classrooms and in corporate settings.

Standing in front of a “stop woke act” sign in The Villages, the governor unveiled his proposed new legislation linked to critical race theory.

“We’re going to be making sure time in school is spent learning,” DeSantis said.

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The new legislation, dubbed the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act, gives “businesses, employees, children and families tools to fight back against woke indoctrination.”

In June, the state board of education banned “critical race theory” from Florida public schools, even though many districts have said the curriculum was never taught in classrooms.

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The governor says the legislation also applies to the workplace, providing “employees, parents and students a private right of action.”

“They get to recover attorneys’ fees when they prevail. which is very important,” DeSantis said.

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The governor’s plan, as he introduced on Wednesday, would allow people to file lawsuits against schools if they think the school is teaching critical race theory. In addition, schools could also lose funding.

The governor’s plan also prohibits schools, colleges, and universities from hiring CRT consultants.

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Channel 9 asked DeSantis’ office for any examples of this and were told to direct our questions to the department of education.

The department did not respond.

Critics, like Dr. Jeremy Levitt, of FAMU, say the bill is nothing more than political messaging.

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“It focuses attention on an oophorus legal regime that is not even taught in K-12 to begin with and it’s a way of chiseling out the civil rights history of this country,” Levitt said.

In June, the Florida Department of Education gave a loose definition of critical race theory as “the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.”

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Every school district in Central Florida said they abide by the Board of Education’s directives and do not teach critical race theory.

Plans are to introduce the legislation in the next legislative session in January.

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Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.