Federal lawsuit filed against Oklahoma critical race theory ban

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma law that bans critical race theory from being taught in Oklahoma schools is now being challenged in federal court.

“We are hoping a federal judge will find the law unconstitutional,” said Megan Lambert with the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘

With the help of the ACLU of Oklahoma and other organizations, a group of Oklahoma students and teachers filed a lawsuit against a law that bans critical race theory from being taught in classrooms Tuesday afternoon. 

Lambert told KFOR the lawsuit was filed to protect the first amendment rights of Oklahoma students. 

“We have seen some pretty awful and egregious and blatantly unconstitutional effects and implementations of 1775,” said Lambert. 

“We sued to stop those harms as soon as possible and make sure our students are receiving a comprehensive education that includes the entirety of our history.” 

In a press release sent by the  Lawyers Committee, it claims as a result of the bill’s passage, school districts have told teachers to no longer use certain terms, including “diversity” and “white privilege. It also claims works of literature such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Raisin in the Sun” have been removed from Oklahoma classrooms.

However, the bill’s original author told KFOR the law was not created to stop teachers from teaching history. Instead, it was created to tell students the color of their skin doesn’t make them an oppressor or oppressed.

“Critical race theory is quite literally designed to teach children that they could look in the mirror and determine if they are a racist or a victim. This isn’t America,” said Senator Shane Jett. “Public schools are paid for by taxpayers of Oklahoma, and they elected a school board to hold the superintendent accountable to make sure that the most precious thing in their lives… their children are safe and protected and prepared for the future.” 

Senator Jett was one of the first lawmakers to introduce this type of legislation in Oklahoma. The senator told KFOR public schools are paid for by taxpayers of Oklahoma, and schools should not brainwash children to believe they are evil or victims because of their skin color.

“Edmond School District… we have videos from Edmond School District,” said Jett. 

Edmond schools told KFOR it has not seen the videos Senator Jett alleges exist.

The bill’s author, representative Kevin West, released this statement in response to the lawsuit:

“It is unfortunate, but not surprising, to see radical leftist organizations supporting the racist indoctrination of our children that HB 1775 was written to stop. The law ensures that all history is taught in schools without shaming the children of today into blaming themselves for problems of the past, as radical leftists would prefer. The legal complaint is full of half-truths, and in some cases, blatant lies, meant to generate sensationalist media coverage that, once again, distorts a common-sense bill the vast majority of Oklahomans support.”

The ACLU told KFOR the bill is too broad and vague to understand.

the organization claimed teachers are choosing to stay away from all issues surrounding race and gender issues because of it.

“We sued to stop those harms as soon as possible and make sure our students are receiving a comprehensive education that includes the entirety of our history,” said Lambert. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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