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Both Sides Spar Over “Indoctrination” After Proposed Constitutional Amendment

As Republicans seek to demolish the “woke” indoctrination they say is driven by the Left, Democrats view partisan school board races as a risk of indoctrination from the Right.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — The second week of session continues to prove that this year’s is among the most incendiary, with a contentious Amendment to the Florida Constitution on the agenda.

Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) proposes in SJR 94 that school board elections be a partisan event, despite the Florida Constitution saying otherwise.

“It’s gamesmanship, it’s trickery, and it’s not fair to the voter,” Sen Gruters stated, explaining that school board elections have always had under-the-table partisan influences. Gruters argues that his bill would help transparency issues between candidates and voters.


As former Chair of the Florida Republican Party, Sen. Gruters is not alone in his desire to change the Florida Constitution. Along with the companion bill in the House, HJR 31, SJR 94 has the backing of Governor Ron DeSantis:

"What we are looking to do is really help candidates who are walking the walk, who have strong values who are going to be there for parents and put the students first, and shine a light on that," DeSantis said.

During the Committee on Ethics and Elections, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) similarly agreed, saying that if he could, he would make every race a partisan race.


The amendment does not stand uncontested, with Senators Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton) and Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) standing in firm dissent:

“Governor DeSantis, Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz and numerous high-powered Republican political consultants sat in a room and plotted to take out Democratic-leaning school board members in the next election. That is what we are dealing with,” Sen. Polsky asserted, referencing DeSantis’ endorsement of candidates for local school board elections.

Sen. Powell agreed: “I have not heard anyone talk about the children. Today we consistently say ‘we don’t want to indoctrinate people’ but we are indoctrinating children with school board races,” Powell contended, citing the argument that partisan school board elections would result in a political injection into students, teachers, and schools.

In his closing statement, Sen. Gruters disagreed: “This is about the children, and it’s about who's taking care of them. This is not about politics in the classroom.”

To become an Amendment to the Florida Constitution, SJR 94 must receive 60 percent favorability in both the House and Senate, and then it is put on the ballot for at least 60 percent of voters to accept.  

The legislation passed the committee, as did its counterpart in the House. Next, it will move to the Committee on Education Pre-K-12.