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Northwest Florida superintendents react to ban of 'Critical Race Theory' in classrooms

WEAR – Mobile-Pensacola logo WEAR – Mobile-Pensacola 6 days ago Tanner Stewart
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The decision to ban critical race theory in Florida public schools was favored by Governor Ron DeSantis and members of the public during Thursday’s board meeting in Jacksonville.

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But the amendment was also met with heavy opposition; one speaker causing the hearing to go into recess.

School officials in Northwest Florida say ultimately, it’s the board’s decision that they, as districts, must abide by.

But one superintendent Channel 3 spoke with was outspoken in favor of the new rule.

Santa Rosa County Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Barber says the decision to ban critical race theory provides a clear understanding of our nation’s history in curriculum.

Dr. Barber adds the rule prevents teaching that’s unfactual and subjective.

"Well I thought you saw the state board members sincerely demonstrate their desire to make sure that the instruction in our classrooms is standards based, based on our Florida standards," said Barber. That it's high quality instruction and provides clarification to our teachers and administrators about what that curriculum should be and should not be."

Escambia County School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith says the mixed reaction at Thursday’s meeting is parallel to his district’s element.

Dr. Smith tells Channel 3 he doesn’t have an opinion on the matter but will continue to honor standards set by the board.

"I would think we have a number of people who are for it and a number of people who are against it and I think significant numbers on both sides of the issues," Dr. Smith said.

“Now that critical race theory is banned in public schools, the teachings of the theory, will you allow your teachers and students to discuss what critical race theory is in class?” Channel 3 asked the superintendent.

He responds, "If I’m correct, my understanding from the ruling today would preclude us from teaching that theory in totality."

Okaloosa County Superintendent Marcus Chambers was unavailable for an interview on Thursday but shared the following statement with Channel 3:

Okaloosa County schools will continue adhere to State Statute and State Board of Education Rule with respect to the teaching of educational standards in our classrooms. As sworn, elected officials, our Superintendent and School Board are bound to uphold that standard.
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