OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is speaking out after a group of teachers was fired by Oklahoma City Public Schools for allegedly violating the district’s masking policy.
Oklahoma City Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel implemented Administrative Regulation C-26-R2 on Aug. 13, requiring face masks be worn on school property, in school vehicles and during school functions to protect students and staff from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fall term had just started, and several COVID-19 cases were being reported in OKCPS schools, as well as other schools across Central Oklahoma.
McDaniel enacted the policy despite Senate Bill 658, an Oklahoma law signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt last May, prohibiting school boards from implementing face mask mandates.
OKCPS’ face mask requirement was not in violation of SB 658 because it was implemented by McDaniel, the superintendent, not the school board.
School district officials announced on Aug. 17 that six employees were placed on administrative leave for refusing to comply with the face mask requirement.
“On August 26, 2021, six OKCPS educators were notified of the Superintendent’s recommendation for termination to the Board of Education following their refusal to comply with our mask requirement regulation. On September 24, 2021, the Court denied a request filed on behalf of the teachers and ruled that OKCPS can continue to require our staff to wear face coverings. Today, the Board of Education conducted due process hearings for the six OKCPS educators. Since these employees continue to refuse to follow a reasonable directive over a law that is unsettled, OKCPS board members voted unanimously to move forward with termination of these six teachers.”OKLAHOMA CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
On Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to terminate the teachers.
Now, Gov. Kevin Stitt is speaking out about the case.
On Friday, Stitt posted a video on Twitter, saying the mask mandate was ‘illegal’ and that Oklahoma City Public Schools was not following state law.
“In the middle of a teacher shortage, Oklahoma City Public schools fired six talented teachers because they wouldn’t follow an illegal order. These are the types of misguided decisions that are leaving many parents across the country so frustrated with their local schools!” Stitt posted.
In the video, Stitt called on other districts in the state to hire the teachers that were terminated.
The group has already filed a lawsuit to prevent the teachers from being fired.