Oklahoma Parent Arrested As Trans Rights Debate Rages On

Schools are meant to be more than a place of learning. They provide opportunities for social development and self-discovery. They open minds up to the complexities of the world in a safe and organized way.

Rising Tensions in Schools

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Educational institutions across the globe serve multiple efforts and open their doors to all kinds of students. However, this fundamental social role means that schools often invite heated political discussions.

Trans Rights in Education

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Nowadays, the hottest topic being battled out amongst school boards and PTOs is trans rights for young learners. Some believe that students should be allowed to be themselves without limit. Others find it perverse and something that should be confined to the home.

Extreme Control

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Oklahoma is no exception. Ryan Walters, a Superintendent who is notorious for his anti-LGBTQ+ roster, is facing backlash. In a morning meeting last Thursday, Walters had a parent removed and arrested after speaking out against him.

Not So Superintendent

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The detained parent is Audra Beasley. Beasley is the mother of two children who have endured the draconian rule of Superintendent Walters. During a comment session with the State Board of Education, Beasley informed Walters that he is “an obnoxious bigot and bully!”

A Child Left Behind

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One of Beasley’s children identifies as “part of a sex and gender minority group” in the school district. Her child has faced a high level of discrimination as a result of Walters’ comments against the queer population.

Disability Rights Dropped on the Floor

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Beasley claims that Walters also holds ableist tendencies. Her other child has been diagnosed with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. When Beasley requested adult diaper-changing tables for her son, Walters responded by telling her to change her son on the restroom floor.

Eraser Over Pencil

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Beasley was not the only parent to vocally spar with Walters. A large majority of the parent body find the current Superintendent to be more harmful than helpful. According to an HRC press release, parents strongly desire to remove Walters from his position.

Breaking School Rules

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One of Walters actions included advising staff members to ignore the recent addition to Title IX of the Education Amendments. The new amendment prohibits discriminating against LGBTQ+ students. Students are allowed to use whichever restrooms and pronouns they please.

Biden Wants Inclusion

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This addition is one of the latest projects to emerge from the Biden administration. Over the past four years, Biden and his cabinet have issued several proposals in order to create more inclusive spaces for trans people across the US.

Par for the Course

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Walters has acted in direct opposition to the rule. Working aggressively against it and referring to the new rule as “illegal and unconstitutional.”  This is fairly on par with the reactions of most conservatives who oppose LGBTQ+ politics.

Out of State Aid?

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Another action taken by Walters was appointing Chaya Raichik to the state committee in charge of reviewing library material for the state school board. Raichik is well-known for engaging in anti-queer activism and does not reside in the state of Oklahoma.

HRC on the Case

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Parents were not the only ones present at the meeting that occurred Thursday morning. Cathryn Oakley, Senior Director of legal policy for the Human Rights Campaign was also in attendance and spoke up.

Pay the Price

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Oakley advised Walters to exercise caution with his lack of adherence to Biden’s new amendment. She stated that not following regulations in Title IX could lead to legal action and loss of federal funds for the school district.

Called to the Principal’s Office

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Oakley continued addressing Walters by stating “Ryan Walters, you are failing Oklahoma students. Members of the board — it is time to act. Doing the right thing by LGBTQ+ students is doing the right thing for all Oklahoma students. Nex Benedict deserved better. Oklahomans deserve better.”

Out With the Resistance

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The discussion portion of the meeting quickly became heated to the point where police intervened. Beasley was removed from the meeting in handcuffs after Walters notified authorities.

Disappointing to See

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Laurel Powell, fellow spokesperson for the HRC, added her two cents on what happened. She said “To watch a parent removed in handcuffs, in front of her children, for demanding answers from their superintendent was heartbreaking…”

All Eyes on Oklahoma

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Powell carried on with her sentiment of disappoint, saying “I hope, a call to action for the majority of Oklahomans who have had enough of his divisive and harmful rhetoric and actions.” It is clear that the events unfurling over Oklahoma’s education system is quickly garnering attention.

Back Against the Wall

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With the involvement of the HRC and parents being detained, many are questioning Walters methods of governing the Oklahoma education systems. And with pressure building, his actions may only become more drastic. 

The post Oklahoma Parent Arrested As Trans Rights Debate Reaches Boiling Point first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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