Florida race-related instruction bill goes to governor's desk

The Legislature on Friday formally sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis a controversial bill that would restrict the way race-related issues can be taught in schools and in workplace training. 

The measure (HB-7) was approved in party-line votes by the House and Senate during the legislative session that ended March 14. Under the bill, various race-related concepts would constitute discrimination if taught in classrooms or while training employees. 

Part of the bill dealing with schools would label instruction discriminatory if it led people to believe that they bear "responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past" by people of the same race or sex. 

Similarly, the measure targets workplace training that would "compel" people to believe that their "moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin." The bill was a top priority of DeSantis, who billed it as a way to prevent critical race theory in classrooms and businesses. 

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The governor dubbed it the "Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act," or Stop WOKE Act. 

The measure sparked lengthy legislative debates about whether it sought to protect "individual freedom" as its formal title suggests or is aimed at obscuring the uglier parts of American history.