OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma state senator filed legislation Thursday to prohibit schools in the state from making books about sexual behavior available to students, and prohibiting colleges from requiring students to enroll in courses focused on diversity.
Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, filed Senate Bill 1141 and Senate Bill 1142.
SB 1141 prohibits universities and colleges throughout Oklahoma from requiring a student to enroll in a course that addresses any form of gender, sexual or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion curriculum, if the course is not a core requirement within the student’s curriculum.
The legislation also states that a student cannot be financially penalized for not enrolling in such a course.
Universities and colleges would also be prohibited from including certain concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality or inclusion in a course that is a core requirement for a degree program. The bill’s provisions do not prohibit the teaching of concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion within a degree program focused on gender, sexual or racial studies.
The bill, if passed, would go into effect for the 2022-23 academic year.
Under SB 1142, public school districts, public charter schools and public school libraries are not allowed to have or promote books addressing the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity or gender identity, as well as books that contain sexual content “that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know about or approve of before their child was exposed to it,” a State Senate email states.
SB 1142 also allows parents and legal guardians to submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to remove a book within 30 days if the parent believes the book violates the bill.
“If not removed during that time, the employee tasked with the book’s removal would be dismissed or not reemployed, subject to due process provisions, and he or she could not be employed by a public school district or public charter school for two years,” the Senate email states.
The bill also allows parents and guardians to take legal action against a public school district or public charter school that violates the bill’s provisions, allowing them to seek monetary damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Standridge claims his two bills protect freedom, and that the subject matter prohibited in each bill should be taught at home, not in schools.
“We are blessed in America that every citizen has access to free public education, and then has the freedom to pursue a higher education if they choose. The purpose of our common education system is to teach students about math, history, science and other core areas of learning—all of which are further expanded on in college as students pursue their fields of interest,” Standridge said. “Our education system is not the place to teach moral lessons that should instead be left up to parents and families. Unfortunately, however, more and more schools are trying to indoctrinate students by exposing them to gender, sexual and racial identity curriculums and courses. My bills will ensure these types of lessons stay at home and out of the classroom.”