School district in Oklahoma downgraded after teacher complains materials ‘shame white people’

For the record, critical race theory is a legal concept that contextualizes the law and American history to reveal the inherent racism of many American legal structures. It is taught only in graduate-level courses and has not ever, in all of American history, been taught to K-12 students. However, the right has adopted the phrase to encompass any teachings of race or bias, which eliminates honest curricula covering most of American history and almost all civil rights movements.

The Post reports that Tulsa isn’t the only district to get downgraded:

The board also demoted another district, Mustang Public Schools near Oklahoma City, to “accredited with warning” after it was self-reported that a teacher had violated House Bill 1775 by using an exercise that made students uncomfortable on account of their race or sex.

All four board members who voted to downgrade were appointed by Stitt.

According to the Oklahoman, school board member Estela Hernandez said, “‘Accredited with warning’ is sufficient in this case because we need to send a message.”

A report from Mustang Middle School reads:

“The intent of the lesson from the teacher was to show that each student has different experiences in life… It was also discussed how important it is to treat others with kindness and respect since people never really know what other people are going through.”

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The Tulsa Public Schools demotion came amid a 20-minute implicit bias training.

According to Public Radio Tulsa, a teacher identified as Amy Cook was in the training and afterward complained that the materials “specifically shame white people for past offenses in history, and state that all are implicitly racially biased by nature.”

Cook is a Republican candidate for the state’s 34th District.

On Cook’s website, she describes herself as a parent, teacher, and Christian. She says that it’s when she began teaching that she started to see “the spiritually damaging programs, liberal brainwashing, and political indoctrination being slipped” into schools. And as a Christian, she “could not remain silent. … When the LGBTQ national mandate was forced on my students under the guise of SeXXX Education in a 2-week class, I boycotted it and alerted all my students’ parents. It was successfully taken away from most of the students’ young eyes,” she writes.

“I continue to model my Faith in God openly in my classroom, because amidst all the confusion I know where they will find true wisdom, strength, and love. Although I strictly teach science lessons and not indoctrination of unrelated subjects, it is easy for my students to see where I stand, by the love I show them every day.”

In October 2021, the ACLU, ACLU of Oklahoma, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and several other student-led and educational organizations filed a lawsuit challenging HB 1775.

The state is one of eight others in the nation that have passed similar laws, censoring classroom conversations around race and gender.

“All young people deserve to learn an inclusive and accurate history in schools, free from censorship or discrimination,” said Emerson Sykes, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “HB 1775 is so poorly drafted—in places, it is literally indecipherable—that districts and teachers have no way of knowing what concepts and ideas are prohibited. The bill was intended to inflame a political reaction, not further a legitimate educational interest. These infirmities in the law are all the more troubling because the bill applies to public colleges and universities, where the First Amendment is especially protective of academic freedom.”

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