A teacher explained to students how to access banned books. Her state’s education minister wants her license revoked. – Mother Jones

A collection of banned books at the Central Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system. (AP Photo/)Ted Shaffrey/AP

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Last month, A 10th grade English teacher in Oklahoma committed a cardinal sin for the modern American right: he encouraged students to read banned books. Now State Secretary of Education Ryan Walters is calling for it Revocation of license to teach.

The saga began on the first day of school when 34-year-old teacher Summer Boismier covered her class library in red paper and captioned the collection “Books The State Doesn’t Want You To Read.” Boismier added a QR code directing students to the Brooklyn Library’s Books Unbanned initiative, which allows teens across the country to access e-books that may have been removed from their school library shelves. Boismier said she hid her book collection because her school district had asked teachers to individually review — or cover up — books that might violate a new state law restricting the way race and gender is taught in schools can become.

A parent complained. Boismier resigned. And that was the end of the story — until the Oklahoma Secretary of Education, running for the position of state superintendent for public schools, decided to take the assault on teachers’ freedom to a whole new level.

In a letter released Wednesday, Walters accused Boismier of “giving students access to prohibited and pornographic material.” He also inaccurately described her as fired; she resigned voluntarily. Most brazenly, he urged the state school board to revoke Boismier’s teaching license – a punishment normally reserved for teachers who have committed crimes.

The current head of the state school board does not know whether he will heed Walters’ call. Still, the announcement is a chilling reminder of the ongoing attacks on our nation’s already overworked, underpaid, and much-needed teachers.

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