VIDEO: Leaders from New Hampshire & Florida Virtual Press Conference Ahead of DeSantis Visit

On Thursday, April 13th, New Hampshire and Florida community leaders held a virtual press call to speak out against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ policies attacking an honest, inclusive education for all. DeSantis will attend the NH GOP’s Amos Tuck Dinner on Friday at 5 PM at the Doubletree by Hilton Manchester.

The press call can be viewed in its entirety here.

Nikki Fried, Chairwoman, Florida Democratic Party
“DeSantis is attacking our education system in the state of Florida. We’ve watched as DeSantis has gone after our school libraries and pushed his book bans on Floridians while the real challenges our students face is one of the worst teacher shortages in the entire country. It has been reported that more than 100,000 students in the state of Florida are without a full-time teacher. Florida ranks 48th in the country for the average public teacher pay. DeSantis recently signed a school choice bill that gives school voucher handouts up to $8,000 to millionaires and billionaires in our state, and he’s stripping public schools of their resources to pay for it.” 

Andrew Gothard, President, United Faculty of Florida
“Right now, Florida’s colleges and universities are absolutely under assault, in one of the most anti-democratic ways that you could imagine. Governor Desantis and his supporters in the legislature want to control what the free citizens of Florida get to think, what they get to learn, what they get to read, what subject matter gets to be offered, and they’re trying to do it through state-sponsored indoctrination of students. The last time I checked, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, these are fundamental principles to our Republic, and we don’t say that individuals only get their constitutional rights as long as they agree with the Governor, that’s not going to fly in Florida.” 

Deb Howes, President American Federation of Teachers-NH
“In the Granite State we stand up for our students’ Right to Learn an honest history. We oppose attempts to curtail that like the ban of teaching so-called divisive concepts because we know that when students do not learn about history, warts and all in school, they can’t do any better in the world. Here in the Granite State we focus on creating trusting classroom communities that focus on student learning and well being. We reject any attempt to turn us into a surveillance tool used to crush students who are different from their parents.”

Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director, Granite State Progress
“Over the past year, parents, students, educators, and community leaders united to protect their communities and organize proactive efforts. From recruiting strong candidates to showing up at school board meetings to demand the best for all students, these community leaders are building a future we can all be proud of. Headlines last year and this year proclaim how New Hampshire is battling the culture wars – and winning! Public education is the bedrock of our democracy, and the politicians trying to drive a wedge between parents and their local public schools by targeting queer youth, or censoring the experience of BlPOC Americans, or simply attacking public education and all that it provides are being rightly rejected.” 

NH State Representative Maria Perez
“Parents and students are getting involved in these issues. I see this happening in my town of Milford, where some of the school board members tried to ban trans students from using the bathroom. Our community came together, and I was so excited to see Milford elect new school board members who fight for the rights of all students.”

Sebastian Fuentes, Movement Politics Director, Rights and Democracy New Hampshire
“Governor DeSantis’s message to ban ¨woke books¨, control what topics are divisive or not, and harm LGBTQ youth in Florida is literally the exact failed model that Republican legislators here in NH are following. As an advocate myself I heard numerous testimonies from folks advocating to have simple educational books that celebrate one’s identity removed from school libraries. Legislators are trying to introduce bills to make sure we introduce civics and also the teachings of communism and its dangers to our school curriculum for the sole purpose to alienate communities on a deeper level and create more division.” 

JB Brackett, Deputy Communications Director, New Hampshire Youth Movement
“This session there are a number of bills attempting to further monitor trans students. One example of this is the so-called parental bill of rights, SB 272, which will be up for a hearing in front of the House Education Committee this coming Tuesday. This bill undermines student privacy and creates potentially dangerous situations for kids by requiring schools to notify parents whenever their child joins a club, or requests a different name or pronouns than those they were enrolled under. This is a clear attempt to target LGBTQ+ children and erase them from our state. Instead of attempting to divide us through the fear of the unknown, our elected officials should be fully funding public schools, making housing affordable, and investing in keeping young people, BIPOC, and LGBTQ people in New Hampshire. In community after community vote, and in testimony at the State House, Granite Staters overwhelmingly support our BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students.”

Bobbi Boudman, Wolfeboro parent who worked to pass a local pro-book warrant resolution in opposition to HB 514, a book banning bill that was tabled in the New Hampshire House
“When my Representative Glenn Cordelli tried to pass a book banning bill, targeting our BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, we knew we needed to be proactive here and let him know this does not represent our community or school district. We put forth two warrant articles in Wolfeboro and Governor Wentworth Regional School District to say that we will not be distributing any funds to remove or ban any books from our libraries. Wolfeboro voted overwhelmingly – 72.2% – to say we do believe in giving children a mirror with our books, and giving some of us a window into other people’s lives. Governor Wentworth Regional school district– in Glenn Cordelli’s hometown— voted 70% against these book bans. Book bans are not representative of who we are.” 

Sam Sharf, trans rights activist and student leader at New College of Florida
“My school is a predominantly LGBTQ liberal arts college. DeSantis and his friends did a conservative hostile takeover of our college. They will start purging fields of study this summer. They’ve already said they’re going to abolish Gender Studies and start firing professors. When people talk about DeSantis it needs to be heard that he is going to radically turn your educational experience into one of conservative nationalistic dogma. I’ve been protesting all the anti-trans bills and it is a radical attempt to undermine bodily autonomy. They want to deny young people the opportunity I had to transition. I’m looking forward to speaking at the protest on Friday, and I hope to tell the story of Florida trans people and New College there.”