Federal judge blocks 'Stop Woke Act,' again

ACLU calls ruling 'victory' for higher education in Florida
Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 10:54:30-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A federal judge on Thursday denied the state of Florida's attempt to block an injunction on the Individual Freedom Act, also known as the "Stop Woke Act."

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 7, or the "Stop Woke Act," last year. The bill uses broad rules to restrict the teaching of critical race theory in Florida's public education institutions.

The battle surrounding the bill continued Thursday in what American Civil Liberties Union Senior staff attorney Leah Watson called a win for colleges and universities.

"The Stop Woke Act requires discriminatory censorship of ideas in Florida's classrooms and workplaces," Watson said. "Today's order by the 11th Circuit protects students and educators pursuing their right to learn in classrooms."

The bill was almost immediately challenged after it was signed into law last year.

A judge first issued a preliminary injunction in favor of the ACLU, which said that the state could not enforce the higher education provisions of the Stop Woke Act.

The state of Florida appealed the preliminary injunction issued by the 11th Circuit. The state also requested a "stay," allowing the state to continue enforcing the law until the appeal was resolved. But the 11th Circuit denied that request Thursday.

"It is a victory for the months it takes until the 11th Circuit decides the appeal, students and educators in higher ed will be safe from the discriminatory provisions," Watson said.

The law also bans educators from teaching certain race-related subjects in the workplace and schools, but this lawsuit pertains specifically to higher education.

WPTV contacted Republican representatives Thursday, but they have yet to comment.