UPDATE: As of Thursday afternoon, 17 Republican senators had joined Sen. Bullard in urging the State Board of Education and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to fully implement provisions of House Bill 1775 at their special school board meeting Monday. The senators include Mark Allen, R-Spiro, Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, George Burns, R-Pollard, Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, Shane Jett, R-Shawnee, James Leewright, R-Bristow, Jake Merrick, R-Yukon, Casey Murdock, R-Felt, Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa, Frank Simpson, R-Springer, Rob Standridge, R-Norman, Blake Stephens, R-Tahlequah, Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, and Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.
OKLAHOMA CITY – On Wednesday, Sen. David Bullard released the following statement calling on State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister to take immediate action to fully implement House Bill 1775 at the July 12, 2021, State Board of Education meeting. During the 2021 legislative session, the state legislature passed HB 1775, for which Bullard served as the Senate principal author of, to stop race and sex discrimination in Oklahoma schools, and ensure that students are not characterized, classified, categorically assigned characteristics, or shamed based solely on their race or sex. While HB 1775 does not specifically reference “critical race theory,” the bill does prohibit the use of discriminatory tenets and practices being taught in classrooms around the state. HB 1775, which went into effect July 1, 2021, directs the Oklahoma State Board of Education to promulgate rules to ensure the expedient and appropriate implementation of the law.
“Throughout history, there are countless examples of brave Americans who fought against injustices and sought to ensure freedom and liberty for all people. There is no better example than that of Harriet Tubman. A former slave, she worked to escape bondage—only to return and commit her life to freeing slaves from captivity. She said, of her life’s work: ‘I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.’ Much like our nation’s past heroes, especially heroes like Harriet Tubman, we must challenge evil wherever it hides.
“There are many in the Oklahoma Legislature who believe that teaching 'truth' is freedom. So many, however, do not realize the trap, the indoctrination and lies perpetuated on students through the required acceptance of the principles of critical race theory.
“We call upon Superintendent Hofmeister and the State Board of Education to move without delay to adopt rules at Monday’s special State Board of Education meeting. Rules implementing HB 1775 are necessary to ensure that accuracy, transparency, and truthfulness are the foundational principles of Oklahoma’s education system—not indoctrination and discrimination.
“Even more importantly, Oklahoma teachers deserve to know how HB 1775 will be implemented for the 2021-22 school year; they need clarity on how the State Board of Education will enforce this law prior to the start of the school year. Likewise, parents and students have a right to know how this bill will be implemented in their child’s classroom.
“Oklahoma’s children are not defined by their sex or the color of their skin. HB 1775 ensures that every child has a right to attend school free from race or sex-based discrimination and the State Superintendent has a duty to ensure this law is implemented with fidelity.”
For more information, contact: Sen. Bullard: (405) 521-5586 or David.Bullard@oksenate.gov