Florida’s Board of Election banned critical race theory in public school classrooms in a unanimous vote on Thursday, despite a polarizing debate on the controversial topic.
A new amendment by the board blocks topics that “distort historical events,” naming CRT, the 1619 Project and lessons that minimize or deny the Holocaust.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s bashed CRT for months, opened the meeting and urged board members to pass the measure — which was expected but faced fierce opposition from some critics.
“Some of this stuff is, I think, really toxic,” DeSantis said in a virtual appearance.
“I think it’s going to cause a lot of divisions,” he added.
“I think it’ll cause people to think of themselves more as a member of particular race based on skin color, rather than based on the content of their character and based on their hard work and what they’re trying to accomplish in life.”
CRT views racism as systemic in societal structures, but critics say the concept forges a narrative that sows ethnic and racial divisions. DeSantis said the lessons would teach children “the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate” and that is not worth taxpayer money.
In a lengthy meeting in Jacksonville that included more than two dozen speakers, many voiced concerns about the ban – with members against the ban gathering outside the doors, according to First Coast News.
At one point, a chant broke out among pro-CRT people at the meeting.
“Allow teachers to tell the truth!” they repeated, prompting the board to take a break during a portion where members of the public were allowed to speak, First Coast News said.
The Florida Education Association union pushed back on the measure and called it politically rather than educationally motivated, WPTV reported.
“Students deserve the best education we can provide, and that means giving them a true picture of their world and our shared history as Americans,” union president Andrew Spar reportedly said.
“Hiding facts doesn’t change them. Give kids the whole truth and equip them to make up their own minds and think for themselves.”
The amendment says instruction “may not utilize material from the 1619 Project and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
The New York Times’ 1619 Project focused on teaching how slavery and the black experience was tied to the emergence of the United States. The project gets its name from the year believed to be when slaves were first brought to colonial America.
CRT continues to spark heated debate around the country, with many states imposing bans on the theory — and local schools seeing parents clash over the topic.
Loudoun County School District in Virginia has been at the center of the CRT storm, with parents against the teaching claiming they’ve been targeted for their opposition. Opponents of CRT have since called for a recall of local school board members and funded an ad against them.
Loudoun County Supervisor Juli Briskman called resistance to the CRT as “racism evolved,” in a letter obtained by FoxNews.com.
“Being on the right side of history isn’t always easy,” Briskman reportedly wrote.
Sarasota County school member Bridget Ziegler, a mother of three school-aged children, said in an appearance on Fox News after the vote that she believed CRT pits students against each other based on their race and skin color.
“I don’t want my children or their peers to learn to hate America through the anti-American curriculum that we continue to see,” she said.
With Post wires