Civil rights attorney Ben Crump at an event in New York City last June. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Netflix
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, along with the Florida students, announced Wednesday that they would sue the state and its Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis if they don’t reinstate African-American studies in the advanced curriculum.
Driving the news: Outrage is growing over the Florida Department of Education’s decision to block the course. The department last week told the College Board, the nonprofit group that oversees the AP program, that it “violates Florida law and is materially lacking in educational value.”
- Crump, who represents the three AP Honors high school students along with attorney Craig Whisenhunt, said at a news conference Wednesday that the blocking of the class violated federal and state constitutions.
What you say: “If the governor allows the college board to present AP studies on African Americans in classrooms across the state of Florida, then we see no need to file this historic lawsuit,” Crump said.
- “However, if he rejects the free flow of ideas and suppresses African-American studies, then we are prepared to take this controversy all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
Context: The Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment in 2021 banning critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation’s foundations and legal system, in a move supported by DeSantis.
- The state education commissioner tied the AP course to CRT last week, tweet that the department had “rejected an AP course containing critical race theory and other apparent violations of Florida law”.
The big picture: Community leaders and state lawmakers have criticized the decision to scrap the curriculum.
- Some speakers at a “Stop the Black Attack” voting rights rally in the state capital of Tallahassee on Wednesday accused DeSantis of trying to further marginalize Florida’s black community, according to the Washington Post.
- State Senator Shevrin Jones (D) said DeSantis should fix issues like Florida’s “crumbling schools” but these are “ignored because we have to deal with promoting Jim Crow 3.0 by people who don’t know and don’t care about it.” what is happening in black communities, but they want to judge how you teach our history.
- Rep. Michele Rayner (D) said DeSantis is on a political “witch hunt” and “there are 2.8 million students in Florida public schools right now who know their governor doesn’t want them to know anything about the history of the… experience blacks,” reports WashPost.
What we observe: The Florida Department of Education said earlier this month it was “ready to resume discussion” if the College Board develops a curriculum with “lawful, historically accurate content.”
What he says: DeSantis officials did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment, but the Florida governor did said in 2021: “Critical Race Theory teaches kids to hate our country and hate each other. It’s state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida’s schools.”
go deeper: The next critical race theory struggles