Civil rights attorney threatens lawsuit against Florida, DeSantis over AP African American Studies course

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

A group is planning a legal shot at Florida for rejecting an advanced placement African American studies course in high schools.

They’re targeting Governor Ron DeSantis directly, even though the Department of Education (DOE) struck down the College Board course in its current form. The state found a chapter on black queer studies inappropriate.

Despite the decision coming from the state, civil rights leaders blame one person.

“Ron DeSantis has clearly demonstrated that he wants to dictate who story does and doesn’t belong,” said Representative Fentrice Driskell.

DeSantis did not hide the fact he supports the DOE’s decision. When asked, he blasted the proposed curriculum that he said includes both critical race theory and queer theory.

“When you try to use black history to shoehorn in queer theory. You are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” said DeSantis.

In a letter to the College Board, which created the curriculum, The DOE said the course “Lacks educational value and historical accuracy,” and “As submitted… Is a vehicle for a political agenda that leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow.”

Thursday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, known for his role in the Trayvon Martin case, called the governor’s actions “Censorship.” He said it’s not for DeSantis to decide whose history matters.

“You have a right to have your culture, your history, respected and taught to the children of America,” said Crump.

Crump and others say they plan to file a lawsuit against the governor and the state of Florida for rejecting the proposed course.

The plaintiffs are three AP honors high school students. Victoria McQueen-Servingas is one of them. “Because even as it is terrible history, it is the American history of African Americans.”

The College Board says it spent 10 years developing the course, which is now being taught in 60 high schools across the country.

Crump said he hopes the governor and the Department of Education will negotiate to allow the course to be taught. If the state refuses, then he’ll file the lawsuit.

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