‘Nothing Short of Racism,’ One of Them Declares
The school board voted unanimously to condemn the passage of and signing into law by the governor a bill that bans teaching of what is being called the “critically race theory” being taught in the state’s public schools.
State House Bill 1775 easily passed both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Friday.
The eight-member school board voted 8-0 to blast the law during its Monday night meeting.
Board Member Ruth Veales (District 5), one of two Blacks on the board, said supporters want to quiet conversations race “in order to protect white fragility.”
“As a district that’s over 80 percent students of color, this is definitely an insult,” she said. “It is a situation that is so egregious to me.”
Board Member Meg McElhaney (District 7) called the bill “nothing short of racism” and said it micromanages schools.
Her husband, State Rep. Forrest Bennett (Dem., Oklahoma City), voted against the bill.
The bill bans the teaching of “the critical race theory,” which allows for the examination of systemic racism and how race influences American politics, legal systems and society.
The bill also prohibits public schools and universities from teaching that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another,” and that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.”
Utah and Arkansas have enacted similar bills.
The Oklahoma Republican Party lobbied Gov. Stitt to sign the bill “to ensure that children are not indoctrinated by dangerous leftist ideologies,” a statement said.
The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University said in separate statements tht their student diversity trainings can no longer remain mandatory under the new law.
Other members of the Oklahoma City Board of Education other than Board Member Veales said they fear the bill will prevent accurate teaching of history and complex discussion on race.
But Gov. Stitt said those conversations still should take place.
“We can and should teach this history without labeling a young child as an oppressor or requiring he or she to feel guilt or shame based on their race or sex,” the governor commented in an Internet post.
“I refuse to tolerate otherwise.”
Supt. Sean McDaniel had urged the governor to veto the bill, calling it a “solution looking for a problem which does not exist.”
Joining Supt. McDaniel in calling for the governor to veto the bill were Supt. Cecilia Robinson Woods of the Millwood Public School District and Supt. Rick Cobb of Midwest City.