Lawsuit challenges Oklahoma’s ban on teaching racial theory | Education


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A group of Oklahoma students and educators filed a federal lawsuit on Oct. 19 challenging the constitutionality of a law banning the teaching of certain concepts of race and racism.

The law, HB 1775, also prevents colleges and universities from requiring students to take gender or gender diversity training.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the group which also includes the American Indian Movement and the Oklahoma State Conference of the NAACP.

“HB 1775 severely restricts discussions of race and gender in Oklahoma elementary, secondary and graduate schools without any legitimate educational justification, using language that is both broad and unclear,” according to the lawsuit.

The law is “a direct attack on the educational experience of the black community in particular and marginalized communities in general on campus,” said Lilly Amechi, member of the Black Emergency Response Team, a group of black student leaders from the ‘University of Oklahoma. .

Plaintiff Regan Killacky is an English teacher in the Edmond School District, on the outskirts of Oklahoma City.

“HB 1775 limits my ability to teach inclusive and comprehensive history within the walls of my classroom, ultimately limiting the exact type of learning environment that all young people deserve,” said Killacky, identified in the lawsuit as white.

The GOP-backed bill bans the teaching of “critical race theory” and was passed by the Republican-majority legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt this year. The hard-to-define theory centers on the idea that racism is systemic in American institutions, many of which function to maintain white domination in society.

“It is normal that when something goes against the liberal agenda of the left, activist groups try to enter Oklahoma and challenge our laws and our way of life,” the door said. – Stitt’s speech, Carly Atchison, in a statement. “Governor Stitt stands by his decision to sign HB 1775.”

Republican-controlled legislatures in more than a dozen states have considered or signed bills that would limit the teaching of certain ideas related to “critical race theory,” which seeks to reframe the narrative of the race. American history.

Oklahoma’s legislation was sponsored by Republican Representative Kevin West, who said the law is “common sense” and ensures that history taught in schools does not shame children for taking the blame for them. past problems.

“It is unfortunate, but not surprising, to see radical left organizations supporting the racist indoctrination of our children that HB 1775 was written to stop,” West said in a statement.

The lawsuit asks Oklahoma City federal court for a temporary injunction and to declare the law unconstitutional.

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