Federal judge blocks Florida's "positively dystopian" new school censorship law

The "Stop WOKE" act limited how schools in Florida taught slavery, racism, gender trouble and the rest of it. A Florida judge yesterday put the brakes on it, describing it as "positively dystopian" and comparing it from the outset to the pervasive censorship of the regime fictionalized in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Lawyers acting for Florida expressly claimed that teachers have no First Amendment rights and that schools are "mouthpieces of the state," reports the Miami New Times.

Critics have decried it as vague, hard to enforce, and destructive to bedrock educational principles. One of the country's foremost experts on McCarthyism told New Times early this month that the act and similar laws recently passed around the country are on par with the redbaiting and scare tactics employed in the "Second Red Scare" of the 1950s. The ruling was handed down today in a lawsuit (Pernell v. Florida Board of Governors) filed in August by a group of educators and students from Florida colleges and universities. … Florida is just one of more than a dozen states across the nation that have recently passed laws aimed at censoring race and gender discussions in the classroom. The laws were, in large part, a reaction to reports of critical race theory being taught in public school settings.