EXCLUSIVE: Driving force behind Florida Republican education plans linked to violent right-wing extremists
A Florida Republican censorship charity that has been a key partner in Governor Ron DeSantis’s draconian education policy has been caught working with a seditious extremist group. The Florida Citizens Alliance — the organization at the heart of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ banning of books and an inclusive curriculum in Florida public schools — counts far-right white nationalist group the Florida Oath Keepers as one of its “strategic” partners.
This shocking news was brought to light in a tweet Sunday morning by Florida resident and attorney Daniel Uhlfelder, a native of Walton County, Florida where 58 books have been banned by the DeSantis administration.
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) April 24, 2022
On their website, the FLCA lists “aggressive” support for Florida’s 2020 Parental Rights Bill which states:
“Provides parental rights relating to a minor child’s education, upbringing, & health care; provides school district, health care practitioner, hospital requirements & specified penalties.”
A pre-cursor to the Parental Rights in Education Bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, was recently signed into law by Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis. It has been widely criticized by LGBTQ rights advocates and led to the Governor’s “war on Disney,” which saw the company stripped of its charter to operate the Reedy Creek special district.
The Florida Oath Keepers, headed by convicted January 6th insurrectionist, Kelly Meggs, is known for its White nationalist and anti-government rhetoric, allegedly forming an alliance with fellow far-right supremacist groups, the Proud Boys, and the 3 Percenters. Out of the 20 Oath Keepers charged by the federal government for their roles in an attempt to overthrow the government, nine were Florida residents.
Brevard County Viera High School teacher, Kenneth Reda was one of them. According to Florida Today, Reda was originally charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds, parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. Reda pled guilty to a lesser charge and received 60 days of home detention, community service, probation, and a $500 fine.
After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead, Oath Keeper founder, Stewart Rhodes, called for militia members to patrol schools while armed.
This aligns with the FCLA’s pro-gun stance. In a script, part of their legislative agenda, they advocate for the arming of school teachers and an end to gun-free zones. Here is what Script #8 says:
- Every person has a God-given right to self-protection.
- We must end gun free zones that are magnets for violence.
- We support allowing qualified teachers and administrators to carry a concealed weapon as part of the Guardian program.
Alamo Gun Range, located in Naples, FL, and Kissimmee, FL’s, Spirit of 76 Gun Club, are also listed as strategic partners.
Florida’s citizens deserve to know that their Republican governor is in cahoots with dangerous extremist groups that are closely tied to charges of sedition against a lawfully elected federal government.
That DeSantis allows groups like Florida Citizens Alliance help determine educational policy in his state is reason enough to ensure that he is defeated in the next election and replaced with someone with a commitment to democracy and equality for all of Florida’s citizens, not just the ones in this sedition-friendly alliance.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
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