The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The Effective Ban and Recent Allowance of AP Psychology

Joseph Abrahantes
AP Psychology books are slowly leaving Florida classrooms, as Gov. Ron DeSantis effectively banned the course throughout districts in the state.

Over the past few months, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has changed Florida schools and their education by effectively banning the Advanced Placement Psychology course in the state. In AP Psychology, students dive into the ideas and theories of human behavior. The course includes chapters on gender and sexual orientation, which had been part of the curriculum since it was first announced, 30 years ago. On Aug, 3, the Florida Department of Education legally prohibited the instruction of AP Psychology, claiming that teaching content on sexual orientation and gender identity is against state law. Consequently, students and staff have expressed their disapproval of the removal of the course. 

Having rejected AP courses before, this is not the first time schedules have changed around the state. DeSantis rejected the instruction of the AP African American Studies course back in January 2023, which had been taught for three decades to thousands of students each year. In the same vein, the governor first presented the “Don’t Say Gay” law in March of 2022, which prevents students, teachers and all staff in any Florida school environment from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“I still believe the inclusion of gender and sexuality in the course is important, but the topics seem to be pretty under the radar; I didn’t notice that many mentions of them in class. This also makes me feel as if the Florida government hasn’t actually read the course description, which angers me because it seems like they could be banning things that they are ignorant about,” senior Georgia Rau said.

After the banning of AP Psychology was passed, the College Board posted a statement lamenting this decision and expressing their inability to alter the course due to college guidelines. In the same announcement, the Developmental Committee of the College Board expressed their belief in the indispensability of gender and sexual orientation as “essential, longstanding, and foundational topics”. The FDE also stated that they stand behind the AP Program’s decision against modifying courses due to certain restrictions on essential topics.

“Having taken the course, I know that there is very little content that can be seen as controversial. Also, all of the course content is backed by facts and studies, so I was very confused as to why the Florida government was trying to stop the spread of factual information in classrooms,” senior Georgia Rau said.

After the FDE announced its final decision on the outlaw of AP Psychology in Florida schools, state Education Commissioner Manny Diaz responded to the College Board that the course could be taught “in its entirety“. In a letter addressed to the superintendents, he stated that the course was encouraged to be taught, so long as it was done in a way that was appropriate to students’ age and development. In Miami-Dade County, Superintendent Jose Dotres claimed the district still offers the full course to its students, while Broward County district officials said their call for parental consent so that students can take the class.

I was devastated when I heard Florida’s stance pertaining to the AP Psychology course. [The banning of the course] affects me because I have to go through my course and remove or alter content so that I do not get fired. Thankfully, the state of Florida retracted and allowed the class to be taught but under a fine line of what can be talked about by law,” Mrs. Noval said.

Careers like psychiatry, psychology and cognitive neuroscience require the full and complete curriculum and education of Psychology, which means being taught every chapter that the course offers. Consequently, the banning of the course has caused concern among many teachers, professors and students who teach and learn these topics at school. 

“Personally, I disagree with the banning simply because [I think that] learning about sensitive topics like gender and sexual orientation are an important part of psychology as a whole. It is part of how our brains function, and it would be unfair to leave that part of the subject out of the class for political reasons,” junior Caitlin Savage said.

Taking inspiration from Miami-Dade and Broward County, districts around Florida could start to demand similar action for their respective schools. From having the course banned completely to allowing it on some schedules, AP Psychology continues to be a controversial topic inside the state’s legislation and classrooms alike.

“I hope that this doesn’t get in the way of us taking the AP test at the end of the year because as students we deserve the right to take the classes we signed up for…[It] would negatively impact our college credit levels. Not to mention more issues may arise surrounding IB Psych and not just AP Psych which is scary to think about since it is such a big part of many kids’ schedules,” junior Caitlin Savage said.

AP Psychology Course Content
Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology

Learn the basis of psychological theory of the study of human and animal behavior along with mental processing. Students take a look into how psychologists design and conduct research

Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior

Study biological behavior and mental processing from biological perspective.

Unit 3: Sensation and Perception

Examine how humans process and perceive the world with their senses. Students will also learn how those perceptions influence thinking and behavior.

Unit 4: Learning

Learn about how humans and animals learn and how their learning develops over time.

Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology

Examine how memory and other mental processes such as memory and intelligence can affect human behavior.

Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

Study how physical and social changes can alter one's behavior and mental processes throughout an individual's lifetime.

Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion and Personality

Study human behavior and emotion to see how they make an individual's personality.

Unit 8: Clinical Psychology

Learn how psychologists evaluate, study and diagnose a variety of psychological disorders.

Unit 9: Social Psychology

Examine how humans interact with others, both in groups and social situations. They are taught how others can affect their own behavior and mental processes.

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About the Contributors
Elyse Harris
Elyse Harris, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Elyse Harris is currently a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. This is her first year in CavsConnect, and she is thrilled to start her journey in the publication, hoping to improve her writing skills. She enjoys writing poetry, going to the beach, hanging out with friends and you will always catch her listening to music. As someone who is very academically focused, she hopes to become a doctor and participate in medical research in the future. Still, Elyse tries to always keep a balance between school and her social life. During this school year, she is excited to learn new things and is prepared for anything she may encounter.
Joseph Abrahantes
Joseph Abrahantes, CavsConnect Business Manager
Joseph Abrahantes, a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program and second year member of CavsConnect, is excited to come back as the publication's Business Manager. Hoping to work in STEM in the future, Joseph plans to get more involved with the Science National Honor Society as well as Gables' Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics and Enrichment club to further his experience. Additionally, his love for biology has driven him to become a tutor with Gables’ Interact club. Joseph fuels his academic spirit with his 10 hour long playlist, ranging from Kendrick and Baby Keem to Doja Cat and SZA, whose songs he knows by heart.
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