A complaint lodged against Union Public Schools claims that a state agency-approved online class was teaching students “how to be social justice warriors.”
According to documents obtained from the Oklahoma State Department of Education via an open records request, the initial House Bill 1775 complaint
was filed Sept. 8 through the agency’s Awareity platform. However, it was not announced publicly until the Oklahoma State Board of Education’s Nov. 30 meeting.
“Union High School is teaching CRT and indoctrinating children on how to become social justice warriors through its ‘Social Problems’ class,” the complaint reads in part.
Adopted in 2021, House Bill 1775 bans teaching that one race or gender is inherently superior. It also prohibits causing a student to feel guilty or uncomfortable because of their race or gender, as well as teaching that anyone is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or otherwise.
Although the measure does not include the phrase “critical race theory,” many have construed its provisions as a ban on the concept.
The class in question, “Social Problems I: A World in Crisis,” is part of a web-based program offered by the Oklahoma State Department of Education via a third-party vendor in order to comply with a state statute that guarantees students the right to supplemental online courses.
According to the course description published on the OSDE website, students in the class “will become aware of the challenges faced by social groups, as well as learn about the complex relationship among societies, governments and the individual.”
The complaint also claims the class teaches the steps and stages involved with becoming a political activist and that anyone who questions the theories or principles covered in the course “is essentially the racist majority.”
Although general counsel Bryan Cleveland’s announcement at the Nov. 30 referenced a textbook, no books are listed in the course description; the only required item for the class is a computer.
In response to a Tulsa World request for access to the course content, a spokesman for Union Public Schools said Friday that the course materials in question were no longer available because the third-party vendor responsible for the class edited the material after the complaint was announced at the Nov. 30 Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting.
Neither Union nor its attorney were consulted about the changes, nor were they given advance notice that edits were being contemplated, he said.
Neither the course’s publisher, eDynamic Learning, nor Horizon: Digitally Enhanced Campus responded to inquiries about the class or its content. The latter is the state agency responsible for maintaining the online supplemental course catalog for Oklahoma’s public schools.
In response to Tulsa World inquiries, an additional vendor listed as the contact
for the class, Imagine Learning, provided a written statement that it did not provide the course to Union.