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‘Giving Me Dictator Vibes’: Ron DeSantis’ Administration Removes Copy About George Floyd and Colin Kaepernick from Textbooks to Stop the ‘Indoctrination of Children’

Textbook publishers are under scrutiny in the Sunshine State of Florida. Under its “Stop W.O.K.E. Act,” certain topics dealing with civil unrest are not allowed to be printed in social studies textbooks taught in public schools.

The Florida Department of Education determines what lessons in history are either a) inaccurate, b) considered an “unsolicited topic, or c) not aligned with the law.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is under scrutiny again for removing copy from history books. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

For the upcoming school year, school books aimed to teach civics and social studies will steer clear of topics like the murder of George Floyd, the 2020 summer of civil unrest, Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, and the Black Lives Matter movement. New laws like the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” have given those in charge of public education more leverage to censor history that highlights abuse to Black and Brown people.

Bryan Griffin, press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted to his constituency that his administration was on the job, shutting down what they consider is the “indoctrination” of Florida’s youth.

“The political indoctrination of children through the K-12 public education system is a very real and prolific problem in this country. All CAUGHT & all FIXED under @GovRonDeSantis’ watch,” he tweeted.

The Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act is believed to be an effort to protect teachers and students by codifying “the Florida Department of Education’s prohibition on teaching critical race theory in K-23 schools” and ensuring school districts, colleges, and universities from hiring CRT consultants.

This is accomplished, according to the Individual Freedoms Act (IFA) passed in Congress in 2022, by “revising requirements for required instruction on the history of African Americans; requiring the department to prepare and offer certain standards and curriculum; authorizing the department to seek input from a specified organization for certain purposes; [and prohibiting] instructional materials reviewers from recommending instructional materials that contain any matter that contradicts certain principles.”

Against the IFA political backdrop, the state made textbook publishers remove certain material from the books like paragraphs slated to appear in a middle school textbook under the heading, ‘New Calls For Social Justice” that talked about the rise of BLM in 2013, the death of Floyd and the demonstrations that popped up across the country in response to his death.

The state called this section an “unsolicited topic.”

“To uphold our exceptional standards, we must ensure our students and teachers have the highest quality materials available – materials that focus on historical facts and are free from inaccuracies or ideological rhetoric,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz said in a written statement according to WPTV.

Hillsborough School Board member Jessica Vaughn responded that she had “many emotions” about the intervention, but chief among them is “fear,” Tampa Bay Times reports.

“I’m afraid of the pattern of erasing or trying to rewrite history because to me this is right out of the playbook of fascism,” she said.

One critic of Desantis took to social media and said it is “giving me dictator vibes. I would never step foot in Florida. The whole state gives me the creeps.”

NovaSky wrote, “They are afraid of an educated public and have actively been working to undermine the education system for decades. This is typical of Desantis and their ilk. Rewriting history is just one part of their agenda. Anything but actual governance and solutions that will make the country better. Evil.”

One example of copy pulled from an elementary school textbook lesson dealt with symbols that represent the United States and asked parents/guardians to “talk to your child about the National Anthem,” and “use this as an opportunity to talk about why some citizens are choosing to ‘Take a Knee’ to protest police brutality and racism.”

Also removed were lessons on socialism that spoke about the societal type in positive terms like this form of government “keeps things nice and even and without unnecessary waste,” and it “may promote greater equality among people while still providing a fully functioning government-supervised economy.”

Stephana Farrell, the director of research and insight at Florida Freedom to Read Project, believes this rejection of history could have a larger impact on the nation.

“Florida has five of the top 10 school districts in the country. What happens in Florida — and the adjustments large textbook companies make at the state’s request — could have impacts on what’s adopted in other states, too,” she said according to the Miami Herald, warning to the public, “This is the chilling effect at work.”

What people are saying

10 thoughts on “‘Giving Me Dictator Vibes’: Ron DeSantis’ Administration Removes Copy About George Floyd and Colin Kaepernick from Textbooks to Stop the ‘Indoctrination of Children’

  1. Butch says:

    Neither Trump nor DeSantis should be allowed to govern or democracy, because it will not be a democracy when they are finished

  2. Carl Woodard says:

    Funny how DeKkklantis doesn’t have any issues with indoctrinating kids with anti-Black racism, though

  3. Glen Higgins says:

    And, oh how the Americans condemned the Japanese for denying the 1927 Shanghai massacre and the existence of the Korean “Comfort Women” during WW II. Are we not supposed to learn from history, in the hope of becoming and doing better? Apparently not in Florida.

  4. Rich says:

    I’m confused as to why black folks have no problem with career criminals like Floyd, who was in and out of jail his whole life, who put a pistol into the belly of a pregnant woman while robbing her, who routinely fought with the police and resisted arrest, who was behind the wheel of a vehicle while heavily under the influence of fentanyl, being held up as examples of black people.

    Is this who black people are? Do people like this exemplify black people?

    Sounds awfully racist to me. To take guys like this, and Jacob Blake, and Michael Brown, and say they are examples of black Americans sounds horribly racist. No, they were not just regular black people walking down the street minding their own business; to act like they were is a disgusting portrayal of black people.

    Most black folks out there aren’t doing those things. People who do those things black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever, tend to ultimately meet the same kind of fates one way or another.

  5. Keith says:

    What did Colin do that was so bad? The national anthem is a racist anthem if you read the lyrics. The unjustified murder of anyone by the police is what is being protested.

  6. Idk says:

    DeSantis is a fucking racist, straight facts

  7. Realsure says:

    The racist WS will support a satanic racist every time. That evil little trump wannabe will not win the presidency.

  8. T says:

    Black people brown people white people have to wake up this is about control and the more control they get the strong and able to come they’re sick money has destroyed these people’s mind we have to stop them as people

  9. Ty smith says:

    If republicans win the ‘24 election, this country will turn into a dictatorship!!!

  10. Robb H says:

    “Florida has five of the top 10 school districts in the country.”

    A) This isn’t remotely true now. While there are a variety of groups that release rankings (US News & World Report, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal), at best 1 district (Tampa) appears. At worst, a Florida school district doesn’t crack the top 20. IL, TX, NJ, CA dominate the top in most rankings.

    B) It won’t be true in the future as Florida turns out HS graduates with a general lack of knowledge of basic history and low critical thinking skills.

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