OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new legal fund was created to support teachers that may not be represented by Oklahoma teacher’s associations.
The Freedom to Teach Fund claims it will protect teachers against violations to their first amendment rights to free speech and their due process rights.
Mary Boren, state senator from Norman, is on the board for the new fund.
“We’ve seen situations where teachers have been accused by the public, by local officials and state officials in a slanderous, defamatory way,” said Boren, referring to an incident with a former Norman teacher.
In August, Summer Boismier was a teacher in Norman Public Schools. She provided her students with a QR code to the Brooklyn Public Library. Boismier resigned days after the situation was made public.
About a week after the teacher resigned, Secretary of Education Ryan Walters posted a letter to Twitter asking the State Board of Education to revoke Boismier’s certificate.
In part of his statement, Walters said the teacher “providing access to banned and pornographic material to students is unacceptable.”
Boismier and NPS stated that students were not forced to download any books with the QR code. The former teacher faced hundreds of vulgar messages and threats.
“We’ve seen stories of teachers being threatened to have their teaching certificates revoked by the state secretary of education before a complaint was filed,” said Boren. “Before any due process or equal protections were initiated.”
On Tuesday, Walters defended his previous statements.
“We have a woke mob that is pushing radical indoctrination, pornography in schools, critical race theory which divides our students and then they try to act like they somehow are the victims in all of this when they’re the ones breaking state law,” said Walters.
The secretary was elected to become the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction and said he will defend legislation like House Bill 1775, a law that limits what history can be taught in the classroom.
“One of our top goals is to get the radical left indoctrination out of our schools,” said the next state superintendent. “We’re going to continue to do that.”
The Oklahoma Education Association weighed into the conversation by reminding teachers that with their OEA membership, they are afforded the protections that are discussed under the Freedom to Teach Fund.
Katherine Bishop, OEA president, said that members will be protected from:
- A violation of due process rights
- A violation of first amendment rights
- A violation of any Constitutional rights
- Certification revocations
“As an OEA member, you do not need any other representation for these issues,” continued Bishop. “No other organization in the state comes close to OEA’s expertise and our members receive the best representation possible. “
The Freedom to Teach Fund is under the non-profit Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.
Leaders of the non-profit said they are overlooking politics in education and ensuring that fundamental laws are upheld.
“I have concerns around the First Amendment, around free speech,” acknowledged Colleen McCarty, executive director of OK Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. “We have procedural due process. That’s one of the fundamental rights we have as Americans.”