Block on Ron Desantis ‘Stop WOKE act’ to remain in place

A federal appeals court has ruled to keep in place a temporary block of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop Woke Act” limiting conversations surrounding race in schools and the workplace.

The DeSantis administration and state university system were seeking to lift the block until the appeal case concludes.

But on Thursday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request – leaving a lower court ruling untouched that stopped the law from taking effect, according to a report by CNN.

“The court did not rule on the merits of our appeal,” DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin said in a statement. “The appeal is ongoing, and we remain confident that the law is constitutional.”

In April 2022, DeSantis signed the Individual Freedom Act – aka the “Stop WOKE Act” – into law, which took effect July 1. But the state administration has been fighting several legal challenges to it since.

The rule would force districts to remove books on the critical race theory but critics say it would effectively force them to pull all literature that touches on race issues.

In August, lower court federal Judge Mark Walker barred the law and compared it to the nightmarish “upside down” from hit Netflix sci-fi show “Stranger Things.”

An appeals court has kept in place a temporary block of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Individual Freedom Act.

Florida federal Judge Mark Walker is pictured in court.
Florida federal Judge Mark Walker put the temporary block in place last year, comparing the law to the “upside down” on “Stranger Things.”

Plaintiff lawyer Alexsis Johnson – of the Legal Defense Fund – lauded the appeals court ruling, saying free speech is critical to a good education.

“Institutions of higher education in Florida should have the ability to provide a quality education, which simply cannot happen when students and educators, including Black students and educators, feel they cannot speak freely about their lived experiences, or when they feel that they may incur a politician’s wrath for engaging in a fact-based discussion of our history,” Johnson told CNN.

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