A textbook publisher found in over 40,000 Florida schools removed references to the race of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in a draft lesson made to comply with the state's STOP WOKE Act.
Studies Weekly, a science and social studies textbook publisher, reportedly create a version of its lesson on Parks for first-grade students to submit for state review that failed to explicitly mention she was Black, per the New York Times. In one version of the lesson, the publisher wrote that Parks was told to move from her bus seat "because of the color of her skin."
A second version of the Parks lesson declined to mention that race was involved at all.
"She was told to move to a different seat. She did not. She did what she believed was right," the textbook passage read, according to the Times.
In a separate instance by the same publisher, a draft lesson for fourth-graders on the Civil War failed to include language of Black people being discriminated against under "Black codes." The Civil War lesson instead opted for wording like "certain groups."
According to the Times, current lessons found in Florida schools do include segregation and references to race. It's unclear whether the versions created to comply with the STOP WOKE Act were submitted to the state for review.
Following the Times' report, the textbook publisher said in a statement that the state gave no guidance on how they should interpret the law. However, "individuals in our curriculum team severely overreacted in their interpretation of HB 7 and made unapproved revisions," the statement read.
The Florida Department of Education told Insider that the state encourages instruction on Parks and other tops related to the civil rights movement.
"It would be impossible to teach about the significance of Rosa Parks without discussing her race," the education department said. "Any publisher who attempts to avoid the topic of race when discussing Rosa Parks or topics such as the Civil Rights Movement, slavery, segregation, etc. would not be adhering to Florida law."