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Oklahoma Teacher Hounded Out Of Job For Telling Innocent Kids Of Forbidden Library
A Free Library Grows in Brooklyn.
A high school English teacher in Norman, Oklahoma, was placed on leave last week and then resigned altogether after she covered her classroom library with bright red paper labeled "Books the State Doesn’t Want You to Read," and included a QR code that linked to the Brooklyn Library's Books Unbanned Initiative. That's the library's tricksy online anti-censorship effort that lets any USA person aged 13 to 21 get a free library card and access the library's ebook offerings.
The former teacher, Summer Boismier, had this ridiculous idea that to be educated citizens in a democracy, students need to be free to read widely, even books about race, history, sexuality, and LGBTQ+ topics that might make some readers feel bad. You know how English teachers can be, with their enthusiasm for "critical thinking" and "love of learning" and other forms of indoctrinating children into radical Marxism.
I still remember fondly, back in the '80s when I was getting my bachelor's degree in
communist indoctrinationEnglish Education, seeing some fundagelical screed warning parents to never let their children confide in a teacher, especially not an English or Social Studies teacher, because both fields were shot through with deadly "secular humanism."
Unfortunately for Ms. Learning Isn't Always Happy Talk, under Oklahoma's law banning "divisive content," no student is allowed to feel bad about America or anything in school ever, so Boismier had to be made an example of. Especially after a parent complained she had madepolitical statements in class about her students' access to books. That monster!
Naturally enough, now Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters is asking the state Board of Education to revoke Boismier's teaching certificate, an action that's usually reserved for teachers who've done crimes, but that's fine, because what greater crime could there be than telling high school students where to find poisonous illegal pornography like The 1619 Project?
It's like they say: The first Pulitzer Prize-winning essay is free, but then you get hooked on critical race theory and start thinking wrong thoughts.
The whole mess began when teachers were told to review their classroom libraries and remove anything that might conceivably run afoul of HB 1775, Oklahoma's "divisive content" law, which is one of those cookie-cutter anti-CRT efforts that broadly prohibits things nobody actually teaches anyway, like the idea that "an individual … bears the responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex," or that any person is automatically racist or sexist because of their race or gender. Not that anyone would teach that, but the laws are written so broadly that they invite complaints about teaching about desegregation, because if you say white southerners instituted Jim Crow, you're accusing all white people for all time.
Boismier told CNN that teachers were instructed to box up any offending books, or to turn their spines inward so no student could see them, or to put them on a separate shelf and cover them up with butcher paper. So she opted for covering up all her classroom bookshelves, since you never know what somebody might be offended by. She also had been following online discussions of the Brooklyn Library project, which she thought was pretty nifty, so she copied the QR code and put it up as well, writing “Definitely don’t scan!” so that students would know not to scan it, lest they be exposed to works the state of Oklahoma didn't want them to see. Kids are pretty obedient that way.
In a statement, the school district explained that a Concerned Parent had ratted Boismier out for her crimes.
“The concern centered on a Norman Public Schools teacher who, during class time, made personal, political statements and used their classroom to make a political display expressing those opinions,” officials said.
The district told Boismier that her warning label actually made it more likely that students would go searching for forbidden books, which certainly suggests they don't have a lot of trust in students to follow arbitrary restrictions that are for their own good. And by golly, look at her being all radical here!
“The state doesn’t want you to have access to these texts, these texts that center LGBTQ+ perspectives, that center BIPOC perspectives, which I believe absolutely 1,000% deserve a place in our reading lists, in individual curricula, that should be centered and protected, because they have historically been erased,” Boismier told CNN.
Well sure, but what if it made a straight white kid sad? You ever think of that?
In a letter to the state Board of Education , Walters made clear that Boismier had so egregiously betrayed every last standard of civilized behavior that she should never again be allowed to harm Oklahoma students again.
In light of recent events leading to the subsequent firing of Norman High School English Teacher Summer Boismier, I am asking the Oklahoma State Board of Education to revoke her teaching certificate immediately. There is no place for a teacher with a liberal political agenda in the classroom. Ms. Boismier's providing access to banned and pornographic material to students is unacceptable and we must ensure she doesn't go to another district and do the same thing. This action must be dealt with swiftly and with respect to all our kids and parents.
Teachers are one of our state's greatest assets and it is unfortunate that one of them has caused such harm and shame for the entire profession. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Oklahoma and I speak for parents across the state who are demanding swift and immediate action.
And yes, he really did mean "pornographic" because, as Walters explained to the Norman Transcriptnewspaper, one of the books available through the Brooklyn Library is — let's all say it together! — Maia Kobabe's nonbinary graphic memoir Gender Queer, the most evil book ever published because it has a scene with a seriously disappointing dildo blowjob that actually was part of Kobabe's dawning recognition that e was asexual. (The censors always freak out about the tiny line drawing of a beej, but never recognize that the book emphasizes how deeply unsatisfactory it was.)
As for Walters's claim that there's "no place for a teacher with a liberal political agenda in the classroom," Ms. Boismer replied , “If by ‘liberal agenda,’ he means creating an inclusive classroom that offers multiple perspectives, then, yes, I’m bringing a liberal agenda.” See, she admits it!
Walters isn't the only one who wants Boismier's dangerous activities stopped. The Transcript reports that Norman state Sen. Rob Standridge — the Republican who introduced an unsuccessful bill that would have fined schools $10,000 a day if they failed to remove any material a parent complained about — issued a statement saying Boismier “should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and not have access to other children,” which sounds super legal to us, and definitely not the sort of thing that might incite violence against the former teacher by suggesting she's literally endangering kids.
Education Department spokesperson Rob Crissinger said Wednesday that "Based on what we know at this time, the State Department of Education is not going to be filing an application to possibly revoke the certificate," so that's a relief, maybe. Crissinger added that Norman Public Schools was still investigating, and that the Ed Department would wait until the local district presented its findings before taking action, if any. Under current Oklahoma law, liberal teachers are not yet subject to public hanging, but there's a whole new legislative session coming up in January.
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