Ok.  Department of Education to require the teaching of the Bible in schools

Ok. Department of Education to require the teaching of the Bible in schools

Ok.  Department of Education to require the teaching of the Bible in schools

OKLAHOMA CITY — At the Oklahoma Board of Education’s monthly meeting, state Superintendent Ryan Walters issued a Bible mandate to all public schools.

“We’re going to issue a memo that every school district will adhere to, meaning every teacher in every school in the state will have a Bible in the classroom and teach from the Bible in the classroom,” Walters said.

The news comes just days after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the state must end its contract with St. Isidore, citing that it is unconstitutional. Set to open in the fall, St. Isidore will be the nation’s first religious school.

“This would have been the most unique charter school in the country, so I want you to know that we’re going to continue to fight this,” Walters said.

Sucking. Of the state. Ryan Walters talks about the St. Isidore decision, Bibles in schools

The fight is not technically Walters to fight. The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied his request to intervene in the lawsuit last November.

Regarding the biblical mandate, Walters points to state statutes.

“Under Title 70 on several occasions, the Bible is a necessary historical document,” he said during the meeting.

2 News looked at Title 70. In 1,470 pages, it is mentioned four times: three times in approved electives and once as valid proof of family record for a Greenwood scholarship.

It is too early to say whether this mandate will be implemented. While Walters enacted controversial emergency rules, he also said he would require the Ten Commandments in the classroom, mandate prayer and require religious instruction for teachers. That didn’t happen.

Trials are already brewing from the same group behind the recent win in St. Isidore.

In a statement, Americans United said in part: “Walters is abusing the power of his public office to enforce his religious beliefs. Americans United stands ready to step in and protect all Oklahoma public school children … from constitutional violations.”

2 News reached out to several metro school districts, including Tulsa, Jenks, Union and Broken Arrow. All responded with a similar response – that they would await further guidance on implementation.

Senator Carri Hick released this statement about Walters’ directive.

“I, like most Oklahomans, want the best educational opportunities for my children. And yet, Oklahoma still can’t attract and retain enough qualified educators in our classrooms, and we continue to fall far below the regional average investment in public education. Add to these challenges the fact that teachers are already dealing with conflicting and confusing information about what they can and cannot teach. This new order does not provide solutions to the real problems facing our schools, and once again, more taxpayer dollars that could have better supported our students and teachers will likely be diverted to address legal challenges.”

The Jewish community of Tulsa responded to the notice as follows:

The Jewish community in Tulsa is deeply concerned about Superintendent Ryan Walters’ recent directive requiring the Christian Bible to be present and taught in every public school classroom. While we hold the Hebrew Bible in high regard in Judaism, believing it to contain fundamental moral teachings and Jewish history, we believe this directive undermines the basic principles of religious freedom and separation of church and state that are essential to our democracy and to our core. the principles on which our nation was founded.

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the use of state funds for religious schools. Similarly, mandating the presence of the Christian Bible in public school classrooms not only goes against the spirit of religious neutrality protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, but also imposes a specific interpretation that does not encompass the diversity of religious beliefs in our society. .

At a time when Oklahoma faces significant educational challenges, ranking 49th nationally, this directive distracts from addressing crucial educational needs. Furthermore, it risks excluding students of diverse faiths or those who do not adhere to any faith, creating divisions rather than fostering an inclusive educational environment.

We urge Mr. Walters to prioritize creating inclusive educational settings that respect and accommodate the diverse religious and cultural backgrounds of all Oklahoma students. Upholding these principles is vital to preserving religious freedom and ensuring that public education remains a space where every student can learn and thrive without the imposition of specific religious doctrines.

Sen. Mary Boren said she was denied access by the State Board of Education in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

“Failure to comply with the Open Meetings Act invalidates the actions of the Oklahoma State Board of Education and invites judicial review,” Boren said.

Watch: Recently in Louisiana, a new law mandated that the Ten Commandments be displayed in schools.

The Ten Commandments must be displayed in Louisiana classrooms as required into law

The law is already being challenged in a lawsuit.

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