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ACLU files lawsuit challenging Oklahoma 'race theory' law

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 07:42:10-04

TULSA, Okla. — The American Civil Liberties Union and several other groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to challenge the "critical race theory" law enacted earlier this year.

The law, also known as House Bill 1775, restricts the teachings of particular subjects related to race and gender in the state's schools.

“All young people deserve to learn an inclusive and accurate history in schools, free from censorship or discrimination,” said Emerson Sykes, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

“HB 1775 is so poorly drafted — in places it is literally indecipherable — that districts and teachers have no way of knowing what concepts and ideas are prohibited. The bill was intended to inflame a political reaction, not further a legitimate educational interest."

>>> NBC News: Teachers worry Oklahoma's ban on systemic racism lessons could put jobs at risk

The following groups are backing the lawsuit:

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • ACLU of Oklahoma
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Pro bono counsel Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP on behalf of plaintiffs the Black Emergency Response Team (BERT)
  • University of Oklahoma Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (OU-AAUP)
  • Oklahoma State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP-OK)
  • American Indian Movement (AIM) Indian Territory on behalf of itself and its members who are public school students and teachers, a high school student, and Oklahoma public high school teachers Anthony Crawford and Regan Killackey

The lawsuit aims to declare the bill unconstitutional under the First and 14th Amendments and asks the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would put an immediate stop to the law.

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