Concealing CRT: The Individual Freedom Bill


Ren Lloyd

As of April 22, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the anti-critical race theory bill in Florida. Formerly known as the Individual Freedom bill, this legislation prohibits the teaching of critical race theory within Florida schools. The Florida Department of Education took extreme measures to ban math books reportedly containing race-related content.

Ren Lloyd, Reporter

Critical race theory continuously remains an issue within America’s school systems. In 2021 Governor Greg Abbott signed the critical race theory bill in Texas. This year, to carry on this trend, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that banned critical race theory in Florida schools, reworking the state’s curriculum within textbooks, lesson plans, and class discussions.

Critical race theory (CRT) refers to the idea that racism makes up a part of the legal system and history of the U.S, instead of reflecting personal bias and discrimination towards a certain race. It connects to the concept of color blindness as well. Color blindness means that people should disregard the skin color or nationality of a person, and instead view everyone as equal to prevent discrimination. Mentally, this affects Black people as well. CRT addresses, slavery, discrimination and segregation, and the removal of these topics in classrooms essentially blind children of color to the realities of their heritage. BIPOC children will never know the depth of their history and how much the Black and other communities fought for their rights and freedom. 

CS/HB 7, also known as the Individual Freedom Bill states that schools cannot subject students to learning about circumstances where a historical figure received discrimination based on their sex, nationality, race, or skin color. The bill also says that it will revise the requirements for teaching students about African American history. Additionally, it will require the Department of Education in Florida to review school districts to make sure that schools follow these rules. 

“We are not going to categorize you based on your race. We are not gonna tell some kindergarteners that they’re an oppressor based on their race and what may have happened 100 or 200 years ago. And we’re not gonna tell other kids that they’re oppressed based on their race,” Governor DeSantis said

Government officials instated the bill due to their belief that schools should not require a curriculum containing critical race theory, because kids should not feel shame or guilt when learning about historical events. To further carry out this action, the state of Florida banned 54 math books because they apparently contained substances of critical race theory. These books specifically contained Black children supplying students with creative problem-solving advice. The Florida Education Department then banned an additional 11 books for the same reason. 

However, not everyone supported this new legislation. Liberal officials as well as certain Black lawmakers feel that this bill will blind children to the inequality and discrimination that minorities face in America. Two Democratic officials running in the Florida gubernatorial election, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida Senator Annette Taddeo, both outwardly expressed their disapproval of the new bill. 

“This bill is a vile attempt to erase our country’s history, censor businesses and schools, and whitewash history. It’s unconstitutional and racist. This is just more state-sanctioned hatred and censorship coming from Governor DeSantis and Republicans in the Legislature” Fried said

Floridians as well as all Americans still debate whether students should learn about critical race theory and its significance. Regardless of the debate on critical race theory, politicians should not blind students to the realities of their country’s history.