TALLAHASSEE, FL – Some students, parents and educators plan to rally to send a message to Gov. Ron DeSantis on April Fools’ Day. The group of unions, parents and community leaders are planning a Miami rally using the hashtag #NotFoolingUs. It’s all in protest of what they see as DeSantis’ “extreme” agenda, on issues from health care to education.
Touri White, a parent leader at P.S. 305 with two kids in high school and elementary school, said his biggest concerns are censorship and what he sees as attacks against marginalized groups. White said he’s a big proponent of getting parents to volunteer and read to students in schools, but lately that’s been restricted.
“Parents can no longer bring in books from home – from a home library, children’s book – they have to be pre-approved books,” he said. “That was mandated by the governor’s office, to be able to read to the students. And I have a big problem with that.”
The governor has rebutted claims of book bans, stating it’s “a false narrative in terms of using schools for indoctrination, rather than education.” However, he continues to back proposals and laws against teaching about race, sexual orientation and gender, which has led to book bans in some districts.
The #NotFoolingUs rally is to kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in Miami.
Organizers have said they’re struggling to keep politics out of the classroom, and to focus on teaching math, science, reading and honest history – but they say the governor is only pretending to be in support of those issues, while attacking teachers and passing laws to criminalize them. White said he’d like to see fairness.
“You know, I firmly believe that we all have a right to exist and coexist, and be treated fairly and equitably,” he said, “and that’s definitely not happening in this current administration with the governor.“
The groups are encouraging people to speak up across the state on issues that concern them regarding actions in the Florida Legislature – from abortion bans and permitless guns to what they see as attempts to silence teachers.