75 Florida Teachers Sign Petition Vowing to Defy Critical Race Theory Ban

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As The Tennessee Star reported, the Zinn Education Project,  a nonprofit that pushes social justice curriculum in schools, released a petition signed by more than 5,000 teachers nationwide who vow to continue to teach Critical Race Theory, even if it’s banned in their schools.

“Lawmakers in at least 21 states are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history,” the petition says.

“From police violence, to the prison system, to the wealth gap, to maternal mortality rates, to housing, to education and beyond, the major institutions and systems of our country are deeply infected with anti-Blackness and its intersection with other forms of oppression,” it continues. “To not acknowledge this and help students understand the roots of U.S. racism is to deceive them — not educate them. This history helps students understand the roots of inequality today and gives them the tools to shape a just future. It is not just a history of oppression, but also a history of how people have organized and created coalitions across race, class, and gender.”

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectSeventy-six teachers in Florida have signed the petition, despite the state’s ban on teaching Critical Race Theory.

The official rule adopted by the Florida State Board of Education says:

“Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”

Below is a list of Florida’s signatories, who plan to continue teaching Critical Race Theory, and the comments they wrote on the petition, if any:

  • Eric Volat of West Palm Beach.
  • Stacy Daniels of New Smyrna Beach.
  • Dr. Julie Hood of Miami.
    • “As a trained scientist, I believe in truth over bs,” Hood said.
  • Laura Leigh Rampey of Miami.
    • “It is the right thing to do,” Rampey said.
  • Rubiana Perez of Lakeland.
    • “As a soon to be history teacher, I believe the students need to know the truth so as to learn from it,” Perez said.
  • Susanna Wingenroth of Fort Myers
    • “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Wingenworth said. “Banning the teaching of the truth about the wrongs of our nation’s history is wrong. Our nation has a complex history and our children deserve to know the truth, the parts that make us proud and the parts that are shameful. Truth is an important in healing the wrongs of the past.”
  • Amy Williams of Lehigh Acres.
    • “These new bills and laws are arbitrary, unenforceable, and attempt to either legislate a problem that doesn’t exist, or (worse) gloss over crucial aspects of American history to perpetuate the American exceptionalist [sic] agenda,” she said.
  • Karen Hemmerich of Tavares.
    • “The truth matters,” Hemmerich said. “No one is inherently bad but history will repeat itself if not taught.”
  • Sonja Franeta of Saint Petersburg.
    • “This is an attack on academic freedom and on the teaching of an important subject, especially today—critical race theory,” Franeta said.
  • Mary Spencer of Palm Harbor.
  • Maria Cole of North Palm Beach.
  • Virginia Teppner of Winter Haven.
    • “Education sometimes involves learning difficult content and being able to use critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate situations and fact based evidence. These skills are fundemental [sic] to maintaining Democracy,” Teppner said.
  • Cassie Howard of Orlando.
    • “To solve problems, we need to be able to name them,” Howard said.
  • Angela Russo of Tampa.
    • “We need to learn from the past, not cover it up,” Russo said.
  • Jacqueline Roller of Sarasota.
    • “History must be taught,” she said.
  • Nicole Weingart of Gainesville
    • “These laws and policies are restrictive to teachers and schools and discriminatory to people of color!” Weingart said. “This is racism and we cannot afford to have whole school systems lying to students about our country’s past, present, or future!”
  • Janice Law of Tampa.
    • “Only dictatorships and fascists deny truths,” Law said. “I will not be part of that and will always fight against efforts to limit truths in history and education. The easiest way to control a populace is to keep them from asking questions.”
  • Sheridan Lorraine of Merritt Island.
    • “Every U.S. citizen must know the truth about the way that minority groups had to struggle in order to achieve the rights that were included in ‘all men are created equal,'” Lorraine said. “They need to understand the causes of our policies and laws and the continuum we are on to ensure that everyone – regardless of gender identity, sexual identity, racial, ethnic, and language identity – is given their ‘inalienable rights.'”
  • Heather Epps of Lakeland.
    • “The truth needs to be told,” Epps said.
  • Kelly Benedetti of Tampa.
    • “Facing and grappling with the racism, sexism, and other oppressive worldviews [sic] that got baked into enduring policy outcomes is vital for the pursuit of the equality our country purports to bestow,” Benedetti said.
  • Cheryl Lindstrom of Ocala.
  • Rebecca Russell of New Port Richey.
    • “I pledge to teach the truth, regardless of what was passed on Friday by the Board of Education and signed into law by Givernor [sic] DeSantis. My students deserve nothing less,” Russell said.
  • Erica Rodriguez of New Port Richey.
    • “Facts matter. Our history is not up for grabs to the highest bidder of democratic destruction!” Rodriguez said.
  • Cedrita Demus of Tallahassee.
    • “All children deserve to learn the truth about the country and the world they live in,” Demus said. “The truth should not be hidden to appease the feelings of a certain group. The atrocities that were committed against the First Peoples and the Africans needs to be rectified. We will continue to stay stagnant and be at odds in this country if the truth is never exposed. Learning the truth will provide an opportunity for healing, growth and real partnership amongst citizens.”
  • Christopher Peraza of Hollywood.
    • “To understand the full breadth of what makes this country great, we must understand where we came from, what we’ve done wrong, and what we must still overcome,” Peraza said. “Young people must be presented with the truth of our history, that slaves have been here since the 1620s, that compromises by the government had to be cajoled, because so many were unwilling to grant native born people their rights, and finally that America still does not offer the promise that all men are created equal to all of its citizens.”
  • Matthew Gross of Coral Springs.
    • “We, the undersigned educators, refuse to lie to young people about U.S. history and current events — regardless of the law,” Gross said.
  • Warren Buck of Jacksonville.
    • “All of our students deserve to know the whole truth and teachers need to be trusted to best know the needs of their classes,” Buck said.
  • Cyndi Stone of Fort Walton Beach.
    • “My students deserve to know the truth,” Stone said. “All my students are known and valued and need to know the truth.”
  • Caroline Gannon of Rotonda West.
    • “I neither wish to hide behind the truth nor lie to future generations,” Gannon said.
  • Carol LaVallee of Sarasota.
    • “I teach only the truth!” LaVallee said.
  • Melinda Wimbish of Altamonte Springs.
    • “We can only fully appreciate our present and plan for our future if we have a real perspective of our past,” Wimbish said.
  • Kevin Smith of Jacksonville.
    • “My students are capable of learning and thinking critically about a diverse range of subjects,” Smith said. “I will not lower my expectations of them or the quality of my instruction in order to appease the fickle winds of political favor.”
  • Debra Marshall of Melbourne.
    • “I am concerned that my state’s recent legislation will stifle my ability to teach students about how they fit into our histories and why they fit where they fit in society today,” Marshall said. “Being white is not mutually exclusive to the goals of contextually teaching the reality of various American histories and the roles of various groups within that history. Young people understand this, and it is our job to be both thoughtful and critical when we have discussions about race, gender, class and other methods of social classification. Having the state legislate teaching by eradicating the voices of minorities is scary, and while it might just be happening in the social sciences today, the path is now open for this kind of regulation to happen in all disciplines.”
  • Aimee Trier of West Palm Beach.
    • “I believe we need to teach the whole truth – no matter how uncomfortable- so that we don’t make the same mistakes again!!!!!” Trier said.
  • MR Russo of Pompano Beach.
    • “Pushing back on fascism, and promoting truth to students!” Russo said.
  • Amy Spies of Port Orange.
    • “Our nation’s true story must be told,” Spies said. “We cannot hide from the truth. We can only heal and move forward when ALL voices have been heard and stories shared.”
  • Heather Williams of Fort Myers.
    • “Teaching the truth is paramount to preserving democracy,” Williams said. “The way to a more just society is through education. Ignorance ultimately leads to corruption in government and violence in it’s people.”
  • Maria Niforos of Pompano Beach.
    • “I will continue to teach truth and not lies to all my students,” Niforos said. “Nothing and no one will change that.”
  • Gregory Esteve of Lake Wales.
    • “The truth matters!” Esteve said.
  • Lance Duff of Jacksonville.
    • “We can’t let propaganda ruin our country,” Duff said.
  • Gloria Custodio of Bradenton.
    • “The hard truths of history should be faced, not ignored or whitewashed,” Custodio said. “Classrooms are places for open and honest discussion, not censorship.”
  • Robert Wilkison of Jacksonville.
  • Jo Carlisle of Jacksonville.
  • Tim Gilmore of Jacksonville.
    • “I will not stop teaching the facts,” Gilmore said.
  • Jennifer Franke of Key West.
    • “It is important for us to know history and the mistakes that were made so they are not repeated,” Franke said. “It is also important to know the truth so we can grow.”
  • Jennifer Robinson of Tampa.
    • “My students deserve the truth,” Robinson said.
  • Shelley Park of Orlando.
    • “In a democracy, politicians don’t interfere with educational curricula,” Park said. “Students deserve real education and not censored versions of a people’s history.”
  • Benita Gordon of Miami.
    • “We must teach the truth. We can’t afford to repeat history,” Gordon said.
  • Thomas Fiori of Miami Beach.
  • Maki Scott of Haines City.
    • “Teaching lies shouldn’t be tolerated in education,” Scott said.
  • Jaclyn DuBois of Bradenton.
    • “Our children deserve to know the truth so that we can honor past generations and make our country a safer space for current and future generations,” DuBois said.
  • Laura Markley of Orlando.
    • “Kids deserve to know that part of loving America is learning about the uncomfortable and sad parts of her history. When we give students historically accurate facts and allow them to look critically at where we could have done better, it creates civics-minded and socially-just students who want to create a more fair and just America for all,” Markley said.
  • Adriana Robledo of Sarasota.
  • Angela Taflampas of Lutz.
    • “Children must be able to trust the adults in their lives if they are to develop into well-adjusted adults,” Taflampas said. “If we are silent or walk away from certain topics, we tell our students that we are not the ones to trust or worse, that their feelings and experiences are not valid or worthy of discussion.”
  • Myra Mendible of Fort Myers.
    • “I live in a democracy not in the former Soviet Union,” Mendible said. “What does it mean to teach history ‘objectively’? To sugar coat it? Should we teach the Holocaust ‘objectively’? Genocide? Slavery? Nazism? There are ‘good people on both sides’?”
  • Kristen Kimball of Jacksonville.
    • “I will always teach the truth of our nation’s history,” Kimball said.
  • Jason Motta of Jupiter.
    • “We must create the opportunity and structure for our students to become critical thinkers,” Motta said. “We absolutely have to provide them with a variety of viewpoints and experiences from our storied past. Only with this added perspective do we truly have a chance to continue to build to a more perfect and inclusive ideal. How can we truly solve a problem without looking at all the factors in a critical way? We need to continue to build a shared lexicon that allows for thoughtful and nuanced discussions on how to mitigate our past and the best way to build our future.”
  • Barbara Paulin of Tallahassee.
    • “As an educator, I have an obligation to speak truth to all students seeking knowledge and the legislation being sought by the Republican Party means allowing the corruption of truth by boot-stepping racists,” Paulin said.
  • Leah Huber of Largo.
    • “It’s the right thing to do!” Huber said.
  • Joanna Hirsch of Clearwater.
    • “History should be taught through the full scope of its facts,” Hirsch said. “Albeit unflattering to some ethnic groups, the complete and honest stories of the American past should be taught so society and our growing youth have a clear and honest understanding of this nations history.”
  • Cecilia Campbell of Dania.
    • “’The truth will set us free,'” Campbell said. “It has been proved that there must be truth telling in order for there to be justice, peace, and reconciliation.”
  • Paul Scott of Clermont.
    • “Teaching ‘American Exceptionalism’ and ignoring race in U. S. History is indoctrination,” Scott said.
  • Alba Lamar of Tampa.
    • “History and social studies and epistemology is [sic] so much more than colonial school models let us learn about,” Lamar said.
  • Shauna Jackson of Orlando.
    • “Teachers are supposed to educate,” Jackson said. “We are supposed to be trusted and looked to for guidance. I will not teach white painted history that is smothered in lies.”
  • Kelly Bayes of Largo.
  • Donnella Quartrman of Jacksonville.
    • “For to [sic] long have Blacks been denied the truth of their ancestry and brainwashed to believe that we did not have a vibrant, brilliant ancestral history,” Quartrman said.
  • Lisa Montgomery of Jacksonville.
    • “I teach adult literacy, and I refuse to lie to my students about American history and the roles of slavery, racism, and sexism in the formation of our culture, our government, and our cities,” Montgomery said.
  • Maria Torres of Homestead.
    • “Children need to know the truth to break this cycle!” Torres said. “They need to be able to distinguish between the right way and wrong way to treat others!”
  • Patricia Mitchell of Stuart.
    • “Only through truth comes change,” Mitchell said.
  • Elizabeth Richert of Fort Walton Beach.
  • Amy Callaghan of Safety Harbor.
  • Kathryn Curry of Safety Harbor.
  • Annette Wylie of Saint Petersburg.
    • “Truth must be told,” Wylie said.
  • Veronica Foley of Largo.
  • Jessica Vaughn-Clark of Gulf Breeze.
    • “Historical context is necessary for the critical thought needed to make America reach its potential as the world’s oldest democracy,” Vaughn-Clark said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office did not immediately return a comment request.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Thought to “75 Florida Teachers Sign Petition Vowing to Defy Critical Race Theory Ban”

  1. Russ Crouch

    If it were up to me, they would need 75 new teachers. Teachers, Police, Military cannot be allowed to just follow the laws that they want. ANY private company, would let these teachers go.

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