For First Time, Oklahoma Education Officials Punish Two School Districts for Violating Gag Order on Teaching Race and Gender

PEN America Press Release

Excerpt: PEN America sent a letter to the Oklahoma State Board of Education (SBE) calling on the board to immediately reverse its decision to punish two school districts for alleged violations of HB 1775, an educational gag order law signed last year that unconstitutionally restricts the teaching of race and gender. The board’s decision represents the first time that school districts in Oklahoma have been punished for violating HB 1775.

Following complaints that certain school activities had run afoul of the law, the board recently voted to downgrade the accreditation statuses of Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) and Mustang Public Schools (MPS) to “accredited with warning” – a more serious punishment than either the law or the Oklahoma Department of Education called for. The demotions could incentivize teachers to avoid any topics that are considered even remotely controversial.