State board demotes Tulsa Public Schools accreditation for violation of critical race theory bill

The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted 4-2 Thursday to demote Tulsa Public Schools accreditation status.

The board voted on the penalty citing a violation of a law that resulted from House Bill 1775. The bill, also known as the critical race theory bill, prohibits the teachings of particular subjects on race and sex in Oklahoma classrooms.

The board voted to demote TPS to “accreditation with warning.” According to state standards, that means TPS “failed to meet one or more of the standards and the deficiency seriously detracts from the quality of the school’s educational program.”

If a school is placed on a warning, the school board and administration will meet with a committee to review their status.

The violation is in reference to a complaint by a teacher from Memorial High School who said statements in training videos she was required to watch “specifically shame white people for past offenses in history, and state that all are implicitly racially biased by nature.”

The ACLU tweeted out a response shortly after saying in part:

“Everyone deserves to learn an inclusive and complete history in school, free from censorship or discrimination, but, with the passing of HB1775, Oklahoma politicians endorsed classroom censorship. What we are seeing now are the real-life consequences of the approved promulgating rules by the Oklahoma Department of Education and the clear issues with the broad and vague language of the law itself. Make no mistake: Tulsa Public Schools is just the beginning. The longer HB1775 is allowed to be in effect, the more accusations we will see across all state public schools. The impact of this law is not only being felt by entire school districts, but also by the teachers who have dedicated their lives to the future of Oklahoma and by the students who are denied their right to receive an equitable education. The First Amendment protects the right to expression, including the right to receive information. We must protect this right to maintain the integrity of Oklahoma’s education system.”