Students Threaten to Sue After DeSantis Blocks AP Course

3 honors high schoolers want African-American studies class taught in Florida
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2023 8:12 AM CST
DeSantis Blocked This AP Class. Now, a Lawsuit Looms
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Nov. 19 in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Earlier this month, Ron DeSantis' administration blocked an Advanced Placement African-American studies class from being taught in high schools around Florida, claiming the course managed by the College Board is "historically inaccurate" and "contrary" to state law. Now, a group of honors students is threatening to sue the governor and the state if the class isn't allowed, reports the Washington Post. News of the possible complaint came via a Wednesday press conference in Tallahassee in which civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who will be representing the three high schoolers, said DeSantis' move was unconstitutional, both on a state and national level.

"If [DeSantis] does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African-American Studies to be taught in classrooms across the state of Florida, these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit," Crump announced, adding the governor "cannot exterminate our culture." DeSantis has said he's not against a Black history course in theory, as long as it complies with a new state law mandating courses be taught in an "objective manner" and "not used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view." Critics, however, say he's simply targeting Black history. "I realized that I have not learned much about the history or culture of my people outside of my parents and close relatives," one of the students who may be suing said at the presser, per ABC News.

By rebuffing the course, DeSantis "has clearly demonstrated that he wants to dictate whose history does—and doesn't—belong," added Florida Democratic Rep. Fentrice Driskell, who also appeared at the news conference, per NPR. The Florida Board of Education—which has expressed "concerns" on certain topics in the course, including Black queer studies and reparations—signaled in a letter seen by ABC that it's willing to OK the class if it "comes into compliance and incorporates historically accurate content." The College Board notes that the class, currently appearing as a pilot program in a small number of high schools across the US, will be rolled out nationwide starting in 2024. It says the course's official framework will be released on Wednesday, after being revised with "feedback from high schools and colleges." It's not clear if any changes are in the works due to DeSantis' pushback. (More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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