A professor is outraged after a Florida school district canceled his lecture over concerns of Critical Race Theory.
History professor J. Michael Butler was scheduled to give a presentation on Saturday to Osceola County School District teachers called “The Long Civil Rights Movement.” The lecture was going to highlight how the civil rights movement was present before and after Martin Luther King Jr. was alive. However, on Wednesday, the professor learned that the district was canceling the presentation over fears that he would be speaking on Critical Race Theory. Butler says he’s not surprised since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has continuously slammed the theory and made steps to strip it from classrooms completely.
“The victims of this censorship are history and the truth,” Butler said. “The end game is they’re going to make teaching civil rights into ‘Critical Race Theory,’ and it’s not,” Butler explained, reiterating that his speech was not about CRT.
Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, says the Governor had nothing to do with what happened in Osceola County but did call CRT a way to gaslight Americans by “conflating” Critical Race Theory and “factual history.”
School board member Terry Castillo said she was originally told that the lecture was canceled due to COVID-19. However, she learned that the district’s superintendent, Debra Pace grew concerned about what Butler would say in his speech. On Wednesday, she sent an email to the educators who were attending the presentation stating that the district wanted a committee to review the lecture first.
Butler provided a copy of his lecture to NBC News. In the speech, he did not mention the theory, anti-racism, or structural racism.