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OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, filed two bills Thursday addressing an issue of growing concern for Oklahoma parents – the indoctrination of their children in school classrooms and on college campuses. The first deals with sexually-graphic books in public schools, public charter schools, and school libraries while the second tackles diversity course requirements in colleges and universities.
“We are blessed in America that every citizen has access to free public education, and then has the freedom to pursue a higher education if they choose. The purpose of our common education system is to teach students about math, history, science and other core areas of learning—all of which are further expanded on in college as students pursue their fields of interest,” Standridge said. “Our education system is not the place to teach moral lessons that should instead be left up to parents and families. Unfortunately, however, more and more schools are trying to indoctrinate students by exposing them to gender, sexual and racial identity curriculums and courses. My bills will ensure these types of lessons stay at home and out of the classroom.”
Senate Bill 1142 prohibits public school districts, public charter schools, and public school libraries from having or promoting books that address the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, gender identity, or books that contain content of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know about or approve of before their child was exposed to it. The bill allows a student’s parent or legal guardian who believes a book violates this bill to submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to remove it within 30 days. If not removed during that time, the employee tasked with the book’s removal would be dismissed or not reemployed, subject to due process provisions, and he or she could not be employed by a public school district or public charter school for two years. The measure further creates a cause of action for a parent or legal guardian against a public school district or public charter school that violates the bill’s provisions, allowing the individual to seek monetary damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
Senate Bill 1141 prohibits institutions within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education from requiring students to enroll in a course that is not a core requirement of their chosen curriculum addressing any form of gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion curriculum beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. Students could not be financially penalized for choosing not to enroll in such courses. It also prohibits institutions from including or making part of a course that is a core requirement for a degree program certain concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion. The bill clarifies that its provisions do not prohibit concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion that align to a degree program focused on gender, sexual, or racial studies.
Both measures can be considered when the legislative session begins in February.
Sen. Standridge: (405) 521-5535 or Rob.Standridge@oksenate.gov