(LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge sided with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in a legal claim stemming from his efforts to combat “woke” indoctrination in classrooms and workplaces, finding that his administration has not violated the law.
DeSantis’ Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act, which forbids students and employees from being forcibly subjected to racially discriminatory doctrines such as Critical Race Theory, has been temporarily blocked since August, when U.S. District Judge Mark Walker claimed it “discriminates on the basis of viewpoint in violation of the First Amendment.”
DeSantis’ office has challenged the decision, but in the meantime, opponents have since accused the administration of violating the injunction when Office of Policy and Budget head Chris Spencer directed Sunshine State colleges and universities to “provide a comprehensive list of all staff, programs and campus activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported, however, that Walker rejected the latest claim, writing that “[a]lthough this court would not hesitate to compel compliance with its preliminary injunction, this court finds there has been no violation of the injunction at this time,” siding with the state’s argument that the information request was an appropriate part of the annual state budgeting process.
As for the Stop WOKE Act itself, the case remains pending before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The implications of Walker’s August decision “are startling,” the state said at the time, “for it anoints individual professors as universities unto themselves, at liberty under the First Amendment to indoctrinate college students in whatever views they please, no matter how contrary to the university’s curriculum or how noxious to the people of Florida.”
DeSantis has made combating “wokeness” a cornerstone of his governorship, particularly in education. He has taken numerous actions to prohibit critical race theory and age-inappropriate sexual discussions from classrooms and help elect like-minded conservatives to local school boards, as well as force compliance with state standards such as keeping restrooms sex-specific. This record has contributed to his popularity as a potential contender for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination.