For the 2022-2023 school year, Studies Weekly, a publisher of education periodicals for Florida's K-6 grades, revised one of their lesson plans to remove race as the cause of Rosa Parks' arrest.
The original text, which said Parks “was told to move to a different seat because of the color of her skin,” was changed because “individuals in our curriculum team severely overreacted in their interpretation of HB 7 and made unapproved revisions,” according to a statement by Studies Weekly.
Students cannot be taught about certain topics, including race, under Florida's House Bill 7, which became law last July and requires schools to submit instructional material for review to the state's Department of Education.
There were errors in the quality assurance process that led to the revisions being missed, according to Studies Weekly, which has taken corrective action, as well as implemented safeguards to avoid a repeat of this incident.
“We find the omission or altering of historical facts to be abhorrent and do not defend it,” the publisher says in its statement. “Those unapproved changes have already been removed from our curriculum.”
It was, however, easy for Stephana Ferrell, a parent and activist with the Florida Freedom to Read Project, to access the Rosa Parks lesson plan and several other Black history lessons online even as late as the end of January when she was serving as a guest reviewer for the Florida Department of Education.
Ferrell said parents were welcome to become guest reviewers and see lesson plans submitted to the state for inclusion in the 2022-2023 curriculum.
It is impossible to divorce race from the history of civil rights and Rosa Parks' activism. The active choice to omit race from this historical narrative is an act of deliberate censorship.