Florida School Board Nixes ‘Institutional Racism’ Policy After DeSantis Administration Says It Might Violate Law

A Florida school board voted Wednesday to remove its racial equity policy after the state Board of Education advised the school district to amend it in order to be in accordance with the law.

In an unanimous vote, Indian River County School Board removed its “racial equity policy” which addresses “institutional racism” and was adopted in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. In November 2022, the state Board of Education advised that the district’s policy needed to change to be in accordance with the law, which prohibits school districts from teaching that a person “by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive,” according to the TC Palm, a Florida-based outlet. (RELATED: ‘Have Our Voices Heard’: House Republicans Gather Florida Parents’ Input Ahead Of Education Bill Vote)

Board leaders will ensure that racial equity guides employees’ actions and leads to improved academic results by: A. recruiting, employing, supporting, retaining and continuously developing a workforce of racially conscious and culturally competent administrative, instructional and support personnel; B. modeling racial equity in business practices; replacing inequitable operational practices with systems that support implementation of this policy and focusing accountability systems and metrics on racially equitable results,” the former policy stated.

The Florida Board of Education advised the school board that the policy’s line mandating that the district understand and address “institutional racism” to increase students of color’s achievements was in potential violation of state law, the TC Palm reported. The school board replaced the policy with a “Safe, Respectful, and Inclusive Education” policy which removed any mention of “racism” and aims to reduce “barriers to a safe and rigorous learning environment.”

“We don’t have a social issue, a cultural issue or an educational level of racism (in the district),” Jennifer Pippin, president of the Indian River County chapter of Moms for Liberty, a coalition of parents fighting for transparency in the classroom, told the TC Palm. “We have an adult racist liberal assumption problem.”

Beginning in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, school districts throughout the country implemented equity initiatives; in Pennsylvania, a school district spent thousands of dollars in 2021 on an “equity audit,” conducted by an Ivy League graduate school program, that graded how the administration and educators created an inclusive environment for students on the basis of race.

“It’s putting things together what we already have, and it’s putting them all in one spot,” Teri Barenborg, the vice chair of the school board, told the outlet about the new policy.

Indian River County School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.