In an effort to “teach students how to think instead of what to think,” a school in Florida has taken bans on progressive subjects to a whole new level, barring classroom discussion of not just critical race theory but also gender fluidity and even the science behind how COVID-19 is spread.
Brooke Migdon of The Hill reported that Florida’s Centner Academy, a wealthy private school in Miami, has become one of the most restrictive in the nation regarding what its teachers are and are not allowed to discuss in the classroom.
In an official directive recently posted on the school’s website, Centner Academy officials wrote: “As our world continues to shift rapidly, we have now found ourselves in a time of more controlled messaging from the media and unprecedented censorship in the United States. The repeated messaging from the media shapes cultural norms and the way we view social and cultural issues. Rather than jump on board with the mass media’s storyline, we challenge our students to question, research, analyze and consider issues from multiple perspectives before coming to their own conclusions.”
The statement goes on to say: “For this reason, as a school, we do not subscribe to or promote Critical Race Theory, Gender Fluidity, or the mainstream narrative surrounding COVID-19, all hot topics that many schools are now choosing to teach as factual rather than as the theories they are.”
The move from the school puts it firmly on-trend with a number of other conservative institutions across the country that have recently banned books, censored teachers and lesson plans and restricted the rights of students — all in an effort to fight ideas that administrators disagree with, such as racial equality, gender identity and even freedom of speech itself for staff and students.
According to Migdon, COVID-19 disinformation is so prevalent at the school that administrators have even made anti-vaxxing part of its official school policy.
“Centner Academy, which boasts a price tag of just under $30,000 per year for middle school students, believes in ‘health freedom’ and has encouraged parents to obtain a medical or religious exemption to opt out of the school vaccination program,” she said. “The school has [also] falsely linked vaccines in general to increased rates of learning disabilities, asthma and autism in children.”
In spring 2021, the school made national headlines when it prevented vaccinated staff members from returning to work “until after clinical trials were complete” to prove the vaccine was completely safe.
“We cannot allow recently vaccinated people to be near our students until more information is known,” the school’s CEO and co-founder Leila Centner said at the time.
In October 2021, the school also attempted to enact a policy that would have forced parents to quarantine vaccinated students at home for 30 days before they could return to the classroom for fear the virus could be “shedded” to the uninfected. However, it was quickly terminated when the Florida Department of Education threatened to withhold state funding for the Center if the policy continued.