In a news release Friday afternoon, a group of state representatives and senators called on the State Department of Education and State Board of Education to investigate whether House Bill 1775 was violated by a teacher who claims she willingly broke the law and would do it again.
The group of lawmakers pointed out that if it is determined that HB 1775 was indeed violated, the SBE’s rules state they “shall initiate proceedings to revoke the license or certificate of any school employee for ‘willful violation of” House Bill 1775.”
A Norman Public School teacher resigned recently after saying she intentionally skirted the law regarding House Bill 1775 and would do it again. While it is unclear whether HB1775 itself was violated, the school district did determine the teacher violated district policy and used her classroom to make personal political statements and displays. The district began an investigation after a parent complained the teacher encouraged her students to visit a website featuring books depicting what the parent described as “pornographic material,” – an issue not addressed by HB1775.
“We have a teacher who in her own words said she violated the law and claimed to be a ‘walking HB 1775 violation’ and ‘would do it again in a heartbeat. No regrets. Would do it again. Will do it again,'” said the group of lawmakers. “It is incumbent upon the State Department of Education to place this matter on the State Board of Education’s agenda to determine whether any violations of law actually occurred, and if they did, discuss whether this teacher’s certification should be revoked.
“Oklahoma parents are not interested in having teachers’ personal political beliefs forced upon their children,” the group continued. “They simply want their children to receive a quality education and to keep politics out of the classroom. Teachers who willingly and repeatedly break the law have no place in our schools.”
The group of lawmakers calling for action by the State Department of Education include: Reps. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid; Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle; Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont; Tom Gann, R-Inola; Jim Grego, R-Wilburton; Jim Olsen, R-Roland; Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany; Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville; Kevin West, R-Moore; Rick West, R-Heavener; Danny Williams, R-Seminole; Sens. George Burns, R-Pollard; Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain; Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa.