Oklahoma teacher resigns in protest against law restricting racial education


Summer Boasmier had only spent one day in her school year, but after her parents complained, administrators came to her high school classroom to investigate. Days later, she resigned in protest against new Oklahoma laws restricting education on race and gender.

Even before the start of the new semester at Norman High School, Boisemier suspected that her classroom library would violate its laws and embarrass her, so she covered her books with butcher’s paper. But she added a rebellious touch by scribbling messages on paper in permanent marker.

“A book the state doesn’t want you to read,” it said.

Boismier, 34, included a QR code that a second-grade English student could scan with a cell phone to access a card application for the Brooklyn Public Library. The site says teens living out of state can still access the materials as part of the library’s Books Unbanned project. ”

Hours later, parents complained about Boimier to school officials, accusing them of violating new state laws restricting public school teaching and materials, and accusing students of being “offensive” because of their race or race. , guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress”. sex. This complaint propelled Boismier into a debate about the role parents, teachers and administrators play in deciding what to teach children, especially when it comes to race and gender. State politicians are trying to or are restricting education on racism, prejudice, and related topics.

New critical racial theory laws scare, confuse and self-censor teachers

Oklahoma’s laws are particularly stringent, The Washington Post reported. Teachers found to have broken the law may lose their teaching license.

In the first half of last year, Boazmier and her colleagues closely monitored the bill’s passage through the Oklahoma legislature, saying, “Basically, what the bill is trying to do is enact sentiment and intent.” I was worried.

Despite the new law coming into force just months before Boasmier began her first year at Norman High School, she told the post she had largely ignored it and had been in the classroom for the previous seven years. One of the most important parts of his work, Boizemier said, is to explore the dark chapters of American history and how they shaped and continue to shape literature and identity. said to be frank about

“I think we need to have some difficult conversations,” she said. “It’s absolutely essential to what I do.”

But things changed late last month, Boismier said, when the state school board downgraded two school districts’ accreditation for violating new laws. , she said.

“A message was meant to be sent and a message was received,” she added.

On August 11th, Norman’s teachers returned to work from summer vacation, eight days before classes began. Due to the new law and “serious legal implications for teachers and school districts,” administrators have instructed teachers to inspect classroom libraries before the first day of school to “make sure they are age-appropriate.” , asked that the work be guaranteed or “provided in”. At least he has two expert sources that prove relevant,” a spokesperson for the district told his The Post in a statement.

“We are not banning books or instructing teachers to remove books from classrooms,” spokesperson Wes Moody said in a statement. “The classroom library enriches our school. We want the classroom to be a place where literacy grows.”

Boismier said he was one of the teachers who asked for guidance on private classroom libraries. She used her own money to create her collection of over 500 books. Many of the texts selected to extend lessons beyond her official reading list, she says, are often works written by “mostly dead old white men.”

“It’s how I supplement it, adding more inclusive and multicultural texts that aren’t allowed in curricula or official reading lists,” said Boisemier, adding: . List of books, I worked hard to get it.

Referring to the bill that would eventually become a new law restricting classroom discussions about race and gender, she called her library a “physical manifestation of HB 1775 violations.”

Teachers were asked to put books that might cause complaints into the box, turn them so their spines were facing inward, or cover the books, she said. Boasmier chose the latter option. took out a butcher’s paper to hide the book from the students he would have lent it to years ago.

She included a QR code along with the caption. “NEVER SCAN THIS!”

Boismier told CNN that school district officials felt the QR code label was prohibited and said they didn’t want to encourage students to do anything illegal. She told the Post that her officials put her on leave. In her statement, the school district refuted her claims, saying Boismier was never on her leave or suspension.

But they punished her, said a district spokesperson. At Tuesday’s meeting, administrators told Boismier they were being warned “for making personal and political statements during class and using classrooms for political displays to voice those opinions.” rice field.

“Like many educators, this teacher is concerned about censorship and book removal by the Oklahoma Legislature,” Moody wrote in a statement to the Post. “But our goal as educators is not to teach students what to think, but to teach them to think critically.”

The administrator asked Boismier to return to her classroom on Wednesday morning to report. Instead, she resigned. Boismier told The Post that she feared she would be hit with an escalating series of punishments if she ever taught as she did.

So, Boismier said, speeding things up, losing her job, wishing she was still teaching in the classroom, she wasn’t sure what she would do next. She recognizes that the school district is in trouble, and that Republicans in Oklahoma believe that there is a growing culture of fear, confusion, and uncertainty in schools. said she took most of the blame for promoting what she described.

In that climate, Boismier said he didn’t feel like he had a place in the Oklahoma classroom.

Boismier said he could get a job coaching teachers on how to coach students more effectively. Alternatively, she can participate in educational advocacy. Whatever she does, she intends to continue her education in Oklahoma.

“That’s the message I want to send to people at the top of the food chain as a state leader,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

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