Oklahoma official wants license to teach banned books

  • The Oklahoma Secretary of Education wants to revoke a high school’s license to teach English.
  • The teacher said she received a lot of support for giving students access to banned books.
  • The secretary said, “There is no place for a teacher with a liberal political agenda in the classroom.”

The Oklahoma Secretary of Education wants to revoke the license of a high school English teacher who gave her students access to banned books.

Education Secretary Ryan Walters on Thursday asked the Oklahoma state board of education to revoke Summer Boismier’s teaching license in a letter to the school board.

Boismier is a former English teacher at Norman High School who quit last month after the school suspended her for telling her students about UnBanned, a Brooklyn Public Library program that provides access to free e-books of banned literature .

“There is no place for a teacher with a liberal political agenda in the classroom,” Walters said in the letter.

Walter accused Boismier of giving her students access to “prohibited and pornographic” material, saying, “We have to make sure she doesn’t go to another county and do the same thing.”

The Board of Education did not immediately respond to Insider’s request Friday.

Insider first reported that Norman Bosmier’s public schools placed them on administrative leave after a parent reported to the district that they had violated state statute HB 1775. The district allowed her to return to work a day later, but she resigned.

Boismier told Insider that Oklahoma’s latest law is pushing back the state and making it harder for teachers to teach honestly.

Norman Public School library, book ban

A covered class library covered by a teacher who fears a backlash over recent legislation restricting what schools teach.

Provided by a teacher from Norman Public School

The law bans eight concepts from K-12 classrooms, including that one race or gender is superior to another, a person is inherently racist, and that people should feel uncomfortable because of their race or gender. Anyone who believes that a school or teacher is breaking the law because of the subject they teach or the materials they provide may file a complaint.

To protect themselves and the school district, some teachers at Norman Public Schools have removed their classroom libraries or covered books with paper, the former teacher said.

A representative from Norman Public Schools first told Insider that Boismier made personal, political statements and politically displayed those opinions in her classroom.

The Brooklyn Public Library, which oversees the UnBanned program, released a statement condemning efforts to ban books.

“The Brooklyn Public Library stands firmly against censorship and for the principles of freedom of thought — the right of everyone to freely seek and receive information from all angles,” Fritzi Bodenheimer, a spokeswoman for the library, told Insider. “Access restrictions or biased information are a threat to democracy, and we cannot stand by and watch as books rejected by a few are removed from library shelves for everyone.”

Bosmier told Insiders on Wednesday that she’s had a lot of support since stepping down.

“Yes, I resigned,” she said. “And yes, I received some hate, but overall the support far outweighed any negative comment.”

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