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The Pandemic of Educational Censorship

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The Riverside Press-Enterprise Via Getty Images


As of 2022, the HB 7 bill was signed into effect by Florida Governor Ron De Santis. This bill, known as the “Stop WOKE Act” bill, puts the integrity of the education of our nation into question. As America’s political landscape increasingly becomes more competitive and unstable, politicians are beginning to use the education system as a political strategy, negatively affecting the education of future generations. 

What does this bill do? Essentially, HB 7(or “Stop WOKE Act ”) prohibits education relating to critical race theory, such as race relations, diversity, and the effects of oppression and race privilege. Desantis has commented that the introduction of this bill will protect Florida students from having oppressive ideologies taught to them. Yet, the very thing he hopes to “protect” will be negatively affected by this bill. With the introduction of HB 7, the Florida Board of Education has begun to enforce standards that attempt to completely white-wash African American history. Examples, such as requirements of teachers teaching students slavery benefited enslaved African Americans and to paint slaves as violent during massacres. These teachings will leave African-American students vulnerable to discrimination from other students and will misinform all Florida students of history, effectively changing it.

 The First Amendment protects citizens’ right to exercise religion, speech, press, and assembly. Prohibiting the discussion of controversial topics like race limits academic discussion of race theories and weakens Florida students’ rights to exercise their freedom of assembly and speech. Banning such discourse also limits the discussions of racism prevalent in the country. Racism people like Martin Luther King and Malcolm “X” fought to eradicate. After being arrested for peaceful protests, Martin Luther wrote a letter from Birmingham Jail. He wrote, “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.” Teaching students about historical issues such as the civil rights movement forces us to acknowledge the tragedies of our past, ensuring such things do not happen again. Ignoring the discrimination towards African Americans in the teachings of our youth presents an opportunity for discrimination such as black codes and segregation to happen again due to ignorance. 

Florida isn’t the only state censoring history in classrooms. Forty-five states have introduced bills that attempt to censor education about race, sex, and gender. Iowa has introduced the bill SF 496. SF 496 prohibits schools from offering any services to teach students gender identity and sexual activity in grades K-6. The reasons for book banning have also changed with the influx of censorship in schools. According to The American Library Association, the top 13 most challenged books of 2022 have one concept in common for the reason of being banned. Titles such as All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky have been banned under claims of being sexually explicit because of discussions of LGBTQIA+ content. This enormous wave of banning books discussing critical race theory and LGBTQIA+ content has successfully created hysteria over these books’ morals. Creating a culture of fear around discussion of such topics in the classroom and literature.

So why does this matter to you? Well, teachings on controversial topics such as race, sex, and gender in schools protect children from possible misinformation presented through the internet, pornography, and propaganda. According to a study done by Nicholas D. E. Mark and Lawrence L. Wu of the National Library of Medicine sex education has led to an overall reduction in the teen pregnancy rate by over 3%. A study authored by Diana Tordoff, published by JAMA Network Open showed, “The study — led by senior authors Drs. Kym Ahrens and David Inwards-Breland at Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic — found that having access to hormones and puberty blockers for youth ages 13 to 20 was associated with a 60% lower odds of moderate to severe depression and a 73% lower odds of self-harm or suicidal thoughts compared to youth who did not receive these medications over 12 months.” With such impressive results from teaching controversial topics, how could censoring such information be of any benefit to our youth? Prohibiting resources that educate kids about their identity and sex puts the quality of life and mental health of future generations in jeopardy. 

Unlike what Ron De Santis claims, censoring information like sex, race, and sexual identity does not equate to keeping children blissfully ignorant. Instead, it makes children unprepared for life’s hardships, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. Censorship also creates a culture of silence in America, effectively silencing the voices of minorities and our youth. Going directly against what our founding fathers fought for. A school that creates a hostile environment for children of different races, sex, and sexual identities is not an institution of learning but an institution of fear and conformism.

                                                                                 Sources Cited

  • Guy, M., & Moore, K. (2023). Chilling Speech in the Name of “Woke”: A Critique of the Stop W.O.K.E. Act. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved October 10, 2023,  Scholarly Commons
  • Johnson, M. (2019). THE DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCES OF FLORIDA’S “DON’T SAY GAY” BILL ON LGBTQ+ YOUTH IN FLORIDA. Georgetown Law. Retrieved October 10, 2023,
  • Diaz, J. (2022, March 28). Florida’s governor signs controversial law opponents dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.” NPR. Florida-De Santis
  • Mark, Nicholas D E, and Lawrence L Wu. “More comprehensive sex education reduce teen births: Quasi-experimental evidence.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 119,8 (2022)
  • “Stop W.O.K.E Act (Florida) (2022) – the Free Speech Center.” The Free Speech Center, 22 Nov. 2022, https://firstamendment. Accessed 10 Oct. 2023.
  • “The Benefits of Gender-affirming Care.” UW School of Public Health, 31 Mar. 2023, Accessed 10 Oct. 2023.
  • Watson, Leah. “What the Fight Against Classroom Censorship Is Really About | ACLU.” American Civil Liberties Union, 7 Sept. 2023,
  • “Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022”, American Library Association, April 21, 2023. (Accessed October 11, 2023) 
  • “Censorship Is Ruining America’s Education.” Institute for Youth in Policy, 26 Feb. 2023 ,
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    River AitkenDec 16, 2023 at 3:53 am

    I agree with you that everyone should be able to learn about these topics without it being censored. It’s really cool that you wrote about the important topic of censorship in talking about things such as gender and race in schools.