Friday's letters: Not all parents in thrall to DeSantis, no religion in education

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd of supporters during an October 2022 event held at the Sahib Shriner Event Center in Sarasota as part of his Education Agenda Tour.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd of supporters during an October 2022 event held at the Sahib Shriner Event Center in Sarasota as part of his Education Agenda Tour.

Many parents oppose DeSantis’ culture war

Many of us parents of school-aged kids are unhappy with the right-wing policy changes sweeping the state in the field of public education. Not everyone in this tolerant and intellectually-diverse Sarasota community supports Gov. Ron DeSantis’ culture war, book banning and efforts to marginalize LGBTQ students and educators.

Many of us are strongly opposed, understanding that these are typically the first steps taken by aspiring authoritarian leaders.

Other red flags: his constant demonizing of the free press in order to silence his critics and his brazen efforts to “de-woke” New College, one of the most vibrant liberal arts colleges in the country and a gem of our local community.

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Not every parent in Sarasota was swimming in the murky red tide of alarmism and manufactured outrage over critical race theory during the School Board elections. What should continue to be taught is America’s story, all of it, including the difficult and unpleasant history of racial repression and inequality.

Most of us believe we live in the greatest country in the world, but also know it hasn’t been all roses. We are confident our kids can handle these realities and don’t need DeSantis’ whitewashing of the past to make them feel better.

Seth Stottlemyer, Sarasota

Don’t stifle conservative voices

I was glad to see you finally printing an opinion letter in support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (“Floridians voted for, support DeSantis,” Jan. 24).

Your negative coverage of him and lopsided number of negative opinion letters are very unsettling, and only show your liberal bias. Many of us out here support the governor and think he’s doing a great job, as evidenced by his landslide victory in November!

Bob Bolier, Sarasota

Gruters: Listen up or get booted out

Thank you for your editorial, “In Sarasota County, ‘no’ still doesn’t mean ‘no.’”I was at the meeting Jan. 12 when state Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, decided to end constituent comment early to bring up the mentioned proposal. I, along with many others, had been waiting to address him about New College’s new board appointees.

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I was so determined to get an opportunity to speak to the senator that I had my two sick young boys in tow. So you can imagine my disappointment when the comment period was ended for the senator to bring up a proposal to reinstate countywide voting districts in County Commission elections.

I would like Gruters to hear me loud and clear. We will organize to make sure we hold you accountable. Your constituents clearly don’t want countywide voting or New College’s new conservative board members approved.

If you can’t understand that and do what’s best for your constituents, then we will make sure next election cycle we vote for someone who does.Julie Forestier, Sarasota

Keep religion out of education

When government meddles in school curricula, its agenda can easily get in the way of educating.

A bona-fide education starts with teaching about the real world. By Gov. Ron DeSantis inserting religion into education, we have the opposite.

More: New College rejects prayer at board meetings

Religion is based on faith, which, by definition, is not about the real world.

Believe it if it gives you comfort, but do not try to force it on the rest of us.

I am grateful that I was a student at two Florida universities – the University of South Florida and University of Florida – that focused on educating their students and exposing them to a diversity of people and thought, just as one encounters in the real world.

DeSantis should keep himself and his arrogant, unenlightened prejudices out of our public education system. If he takes over, New College will no longer provide an education but instead an indoctrination by wannabe theocrats, something deeply un-American.

The founders of our country went to great lengths to try to keep religion out of government.

Peter Burkard, Sarasota

VP should defend all human rights

Has Vice President Kamala Harris been demoted to “abortion czar” from her last post as “border czar”?

I find it interesting that she visited Tallahassee while finding it difficult to spend time on our southern border during her lackluster tenure.

In a perfect world, Harris would champion all human rights, be it U.S. citizens living on our southern border, those who are most vulnerable, including migrants escaping tyranny, or unborn babies who were “inconveniently” conceived.

Melissa Morrill, Sarasota

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Opposition to governor's authoritarian moves, VP 'abortion czar'