Lawsuit challenges Oklahoma ban on teaching race theory

Oct 19, 2021, 4:29 PM | Updated: 4:34 pm
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, listens on the fl...

FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, listens on the floor of the Oklahoma House in Oklahoma City. On Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, a group of Oklahoma students and educators filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that bans the teaching of certain concepts of race and racism. Oklahoma's legislation was sponsored by West. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A group of Oklahoma students and educators on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that bans the teaching of certain concepts of race and racism.

The law, HB 1775, also prevents colleges and universities from requiring students to undergo gender or sexual diversity training.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others filed the lawsuit on behalf of the group that also includes the American Indian Movement and the Oklahoma State Conference of the NAACP.

“H.B. 1775 severely restricts discussions on race and gender in Oklahoma’s elementary, secondary, and higher education schools without any legitimate pedagogical justification, using language that is simultaneously sweeping and unclear,” according to the lawsuit.

The law is “a direct attack on the education experience of the Black community specifically, and marginalized communities at large on campus,” said Lilly Amechi, a member of the Black Emergency Response Team, a group of Black student leaders at the University of Oklahoma.

Plaintiff Regan Killacky is an English teacher in the Edmond school district in suburban Oklahoma City.

“H.B. 1775 limits my ability to teach an inclusive and complete history within the walls of my classroom, ultimately restricting the exact type of learning environment all young people deserve,” said Killacky, who is identified in the lawsuit as white.

The GOP-backed bill prohibits the teaching of “critical race theory” and was passed by the Republican majority Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt this year. The hard-to-define theory centers on the idea that racism is systemic in U.S. institutions, many of which function to maintain white dominance in society.

“It’s par for the course that when something goes against the left’s liberal agenda, activist groups attempt to come into Oklahoma and challenge our laws and our way of life,” Stitt spokesperson Carly Atchison said in a statement. “Governor Stitt stands by his decision to sign HB 1775.”

Republican-controlled legislatures in more than a dozen states have considered or signed into law bills that would limit the teaching of certain ideas linked to “critical race theory,” which seeks to reframe the narrative of American history.

Oklahoma’s legislation was sponsored by Republican Rep. Kevin West, who said the law is “common sense” and guarantees that history taught in schools does not shame children into taking the blame for past problems.

“It is unfortunate, but not surprising, to see radical leftist organizations supporting the racist indoctrination of our children that HB 1775 was written to stop,” West said in a statement.

The lawsuit asks the federal court in Oklahoma City for a temporary injunction and to declare the law unconstitutional.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Man can revive suit against New Orleans over police beating

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court says a Hispanic Iraq War veteran can revive his lawsuit over a beating by two New Orleans police officers who he said called him a “fake American.” The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jorge Gomez […]
17 hours ago
FILE - In this May 20, 2016, file photo, actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC ...
Associated Press

Trial set to start on charges Smollett faked racist attack

CHICAGO (AP) — A popular actor steps out onto the street and is brutally reminded that, despite his fame and wealth, places still exist where the color of his skin and sexual orientation put him in danger. That was the story that ricocheted around the world after Jussie Smollett, a Black and openly gay actor, […]
17 hours ago
Rep. Carrie Meek, D-Fla., smiles as she speaks during services at Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Chur...
Associated Press

Carrie Meek, pioneering Black former congresswoman, dies

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Carrie Meek, the grandchild of a slave and a sharecropper’s daughter who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction, died Sunday. She was 95. Meek died at her home in Miami after a long illness, family spokesperson Adam Sharon said in a statement. The family […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Body of missing 2-year-old girl found in Indiana river

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — A diver on Sunday found the body of a 2-year-old girl reported missing after her father was pulled from his partially submerged truck in a southern Indiana river. Her body was discovered in the White River more than 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) from where her father was pulled from the same […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Monarch butterflies cling to branches in their winter nesting grounds in El Rosario Sanctuar...
Associated Press

Mexicans hope for recovery of monarch butterflies

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Communal farmers and butterfly guides are hoping for a rebound in the number of monarch butterflies — and tourists — at their wintering grounds in central Mexico after a bad year for both last year. Experts say it is too early to calculate the number of monarchs, which migrate from the […]
17 hours ago
FILE - The Supreme Court is seen at dusk in Washington, Oct. 22, 2021. Both sides are telling the S...
Associated Press

Supreme Court set to take up all-or-nothing abortion fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Both sides are telling the Supreme Court there’s no middle ground in Wednesday’s showdown over abortion. The justices can either reaffirm the constitutional right to an abortion or wipe it away altogether. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that declared a nationwide right to abortion, is facing its most serious challenge […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Sweet James

Best fall road trips to take on a motorcycle

Autumn in Arizona brings the beauty of color-changing leaves and a relief from summer heat. It’s one of the most pleasant times to explore the outdoors, especially on a motorcycle.
Lawsuit challenges Oklahoma ban on teaching race theory