JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The State of Florida is catching heat for its decision to reject a proposed high school AP African American Studies class.
Florida House Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) argued in a virtual press conference Monday morning, the move sends a clear message.
“That Black Americans’ history does not count in Florida,” Driskell said.
But Governor Ron DeSantis fired back in his own press conference Monday, arguing it’s not Black history that was identified as problematic by the department.
“What’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now, who would say that an important part of Black history is Queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids,” DeSantis said.
The course syllabus does show a section focused on “Black Queer Studies”.
The Governor also pointed to another lesson focused on the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Movement for Black lives, a group which on its website advocates for polices like the abolition of prisons.
“It’s not fair to say that somehow abolishing prisons is somehow linked to like Black experience, that that’s what Black people want. I don’t think that’s true at all,” DeSantis said.
But UNF Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Angela Mann argued Black studies should include modern civil rights movements and reflect the diversity within the Black community.
“Whether we like it or not this is history that is occurring. It’s part of the African American experience and so, I’m not sure why there so much fear about talking about these events,” Mann said.
The Department of Education said its decision isn’t necessarily the end.
If the course is altered to reflect the concerns raised by the department, the course could still be approved down the line.
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