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Oklahoma teacher resigns after sharing a QR code for an online library of banned books with students – blames ‘Governor Stitt and Republican state leadership’

An Oklahoma English teacher, Summer Boismier, resigned after sharing a QR code link for an online library of banned e-books with her classroom.

The former Norman High School teacher told KOKH that she was initially placed on leave by the school for providing her students with a link to the Brooklyn Library’s free banned e-books.

“In response to unfounded calls from state leadership for widespread censorship, I did share a library-linked QR code with my students. Immediately after this, I was removed from my position and placed on leave,” Boismier said to the new organization.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 1775 last spring, which prevents schools from teaching critical race theory.

The bill states that teachers cannot require any curriculum that teaches students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” or “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” It also prevents any curriculum that teaches “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

KOKH reported that several state school districts required that schools review their classroom libraries and discard books that do not align with HB 1775.

“Teachers across the district have been told by administration to either remove or restrict student access to classroom library texts for fear of a potential accreditation downgrade associated with any perceived violations of HB 1775,” Boismier stated.

In July, two Oklahoma schools had their accreditation demoted for violating HB 1775.

The English teacher told the news organization that she was required to sign a signature sheet regarding the school’s updated policy on literature in the classroom just one day before school began.

“Given the serious legal consequences for teachers and districts regarding HB 1775, NPS has placed a renewed emphasis on ensuring our teachers and staff have reviewed their classroom resources to ensure all materials are age and content appropriate. We’ve asked that teachers have either personally read the titles in their classrooms or can provide at least two professional sources verifying their appropriateness,” NPS public information officer Wes Moody told KOKH.

Moody told the news outlet that Boismier was not telling the truth about being removed from her position for sharing the QR code link but that the district would be meeting with the teacher on Tuesday.

After speaking with district officials, Boismier said that she resigned because “there were some fundamental ideological differences between myself and district representatives that I just couldn’t get past.” The teacher accused HB 1775 of making her job impossible and blamed “Governor Stitt and Republican state leadership.”

That same day, NPS released a statement expressing sympathy for Boismier’s concern regarding censorship but stated, “It is our goal to teach students to think critically, not to tell them what to think.” NPS said that it had expected the teacher to return to work on Wednesday. “At no point was the teacher ever terminated, suspended, or placed on administrative leave but, unfortunately, we understand the teacher has publicly expressed their intent to resign.”

Boismier conducted a follow-up interview with KOKH Wednesday. When asked if she thought sharing the QR code link would cause a critical race theory complaint, she replied, “I think every educator in Oklahoma, you know, since the passage of 1775 has understood that it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when.’ If we’re doing our jobs, it’s a matter of ‘when.’ I don’t have control over people’s feelings, so I’m not sure why I’m being penalized for that.”