Students Will Sue Florida Over Rejection Of AP African American Studies

By Jovonne Ledet

January 25, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

High school students and elected officials are planning to sue Florida after its Department of Education declined to implement an Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course.

On Wednesday (January 25), civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced at a Tallahassee press conference that he will work with AP students in Florida to file a historic lawsuit against the state and Governor Ron DeSantis, WESH 2 News reports.

"Are we going to allow Gov. DeSantis or anybody exterminate Black history from the classrooms in Florida?" Crump asked at Wednesday's news conference to which the crowd responded "no!"

"Black history is American history," he added.

The move to take legal action against the state comes after the Florida Department of Education blocked the implementation of an AP African American Studies course in public high schools, citing that it "lacked educational value" in a letter to College Board.

DeSantis later defended the department's decision, suggesting the course was designed for "political purposes."

Amid the fallout, College Board announced Tuesday (January 24) that it would release the official framework for the AP course next week. Changes are expected to be made to the "pilot framework," which was used to test the course in several schools across the nation, including the removal of curriculum on Critical Race Theory, College Board said.

But outrage still remains over the state's initial decision to reject the course.

Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said Wednesday that DeSantis is violating the First Amendment by pushing to ban an AP African American Studies course.

"By rejecting the program, DeSantis has made it clear he wants to dictate whose story does and doesn't belong," Driskell said. "Accurately teaching our history is not political until others make it so."

Rep. Michele Rayner pledged to hold DeSantis and Florida accountable for the "audacious" attack on Black children.

"You cannot say on a Monday that your support Dr. King and then on Wednesday refuse to tell his story," Rayner said.

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