OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State Senator Shane Jett, R-Shawnee has filed Senate Bill 1442, which would prohibit public school districts or charter schools from using federal, state or private funds to promote, purchase or utilize social-emotional learning (SEL) concepts.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education defines SEL as, “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. SEL and Prevention are proactive approaches for ALL students that are designed to promote positive behavior and school climate.”
Sen. Jett stated that SEL is pushed by, “leftist groups,” in an effort to, “psychologically manipulate children and surveil Oklahoma families under the guise of addressing trauma.”
“The SEL platform sounds admirable, with goals of addressing the social and emotional development needs of children, but the motives of these programs are actually much more sinister,” said Sen. Jett. “SEL’s actual objective is to condition children to prescribed behaviors and ‘anti-racist’ training, social justice posturing and the sexualization of minors, all under the guise of affirming feelings. SEL seeks to find ‘traumas’ in our children as a pretext to push anti-family, anti-logic and anti-reason philosophies and leftist political ideologies.”
If passed, a parent or legal guardian of a public or charter school student who believes there is a violation of SB1442 can submit a report to the county’s district attorney for consideration. The report should include any written documentation of the potential violation. The DA would then notify the Senate and House Education Committee chairs, who will investigate. If they believe a violation has occurred, they would notify the State Department of Education, which would assess a financial penalty against the charter school or district in an amount equal to 5% of the State Aid allocation received by the charter school or district.
Retired teacher of 20 years, John Thompson, called the bill frustrating.
“They’re not only attacking the greatest breakthrough in public education in the last decade or so, but they’re also attacking what made education great,” said Thompson. “We need to fight off attacks like this bill… But we need candid and constructive conversations.”
“SEL apologists have been instituting scare tactics and social media campaigns since I filed this measure, spreading falsehoods about extracurricular activities that would be illegal and other lies to incite anger among teachers and parents,” said Sen. Jett. “This measure has nothing to do with stripping our kids’ ability to participate in student organizations, or our teachers’ ability to be there for their students. It is strictly about ensuring radical organizations stay out of our classrooms and curriculum.”
SB1442 has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee and Appropriations Committee.