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Oklahoma received only two unfounded allegations of violations of Critical Race Theory ban law

David Moruzzi

Oklahoma’s State Department of Education fielded a pair of allegations that schools violated the state’s so-called Critical Race Theory ban last fall.

Both of the unfounded allegations accused schools of violating the rules created under House Bill 1775.

The allegations first reported by The Oklahoman last month are outlined in a pair of documents obtained by StateImpact via a records request.

Names and schools where the complaints were filed are redacted, but ultimately both were unfounded, the department determined.

The first was about a geography quiz that a parent was concerned contained questions about how students felt about topics like Critical Race Theory, gay marriage and execution of “Afghan terrorists.”

State officials ruled the quiz - from a website that asks users their opinions on topics to determine their political leanings - didn’t violate the law.

The second complaint accused a school board of not adopting rules related to HB 1775. The state determined that wasn’t necessary.

Critics of the CRT ban have said that the complaint process was never the point. The ACLU is suing Oklahoma over HB 1775, saying the law is unconstitutional and has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech in the classroom.

HB 1775 and the rules Oklahoma's State Board of Education passed in July — and then later re-confirmed because of a scrivener’s error — do not specifically mention Critical Race Theory. Instead, they ban teaching any of the following:

  • One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
  • An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.
  • Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
  • An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex.
  • An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
  • Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.
  • Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.

Read the complaints and the State Department of Education's responses.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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