Two Florida bills filed by State Rep. Alex Andrade, a Gov. Ron DeSantis ally, on the same day in late February represent “a full-fledged assault on the First Amendment,” says Bobby Block, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation.
A federal judge ruled Jan. 12 that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration did not violate an order blocking the academic provision of the “Stop WOKE” Act, which restricts race-based discussions in higher education classrooms.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked a key provision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE” Act, citing First Amendment violations of viewpoint discrimination after Florida claimed that public university professors were bound by state-sanctioned speech.
Florida’s “Stop WOKE” Act has ignited fear and outrage from public university educators as a federal judge decides whether to issue a preliminary injunction to block the law’s academic provision which would restrict gender and race-centric discussions and teachings in the classroom.
Dr. Nathaniel Hiers sued the university for infringing on his right to free speech by discriminating against his viewpoint, placing unconstitutional conditions on his employment, and attempting to compel and retaliate against his speech, according to the lawsuit filed April 2020 in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.
A professor at a public university in Michigan was suspended with pay after posting a profanity-laced video to his incoming students. Professor Barry Mehler, a history professor at Ferris State University, posted the 14-minute long video that begins with him wearing an astronaut helmet over a face mask, and tells his students they are “vectors of disease,” and that “it is dangerous to breathe the air.”
The ACLU and other civil rights organizations are suing the state of Oklahoma over a law that prohibits certain types of instruction around race and gender. Filed on October 19th in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the suit alleges that the law violates students’ and educators’ First and 14th Amendment rights.
Wisconsin became the latest state to introduce legislation aimed at preventing public schools from teaching “divisive” concepts around race and gender. On September 28th, the Wisconsin state assembly passed a Republican-backed bill to prevent “critical race theory” from being taught in the state’s public schools.