Ryan Walters releases anti-teacher-union video
By Jake Ramsey, Reporter
During a Thursday meeting of the state Board of Education, Oklahoma Superintendent for Public Instruction Ryan Walters played a video attacking teachers and equating members of the LGBTQ+ community to pedophiles.
The video contains a brief message from Walters, made during an appearance on Fox News, as well as multiple speeches from a National Education Association conference. Walters continues in the video arguing against the NEA, vowing to stand against teachers unions.
The video was posted briefly at the state Department of Education website on Thursday, but was later taken down without explanation or comment.
Shortly before playing the video, a small forum was held for Oklahomans that allowed them to voice grievances. A number of Oklahomans many of whom were teachers or school faculty, stood before the board with concerns.
Some voiced their support for the current board, with many attending and expressing their appreciation for what Walters has done in office. However, there were also concerned parents and teachers who showed public disdain for Walters’ actions.
One teacher, who preferred to remain anonymous, said to Walters in reference to the school children who will be affected by these decisions, “My call to you is to be the people they hope you are, instead of the people they’re afraid you are.”
Shortly before this meeting, State Rep. Mark McBride told media outlets that the Oklahoma Department of Education had not applied for more than $270 million in federal grants. Walters later stated this information was false, expressing,
“We have a teachers union that has intentionally lied about this agency,” Walters said. “They found a member of the legislature in Mark McBride that will do anything that they tell him to do.”
This meeting and video comes shortly after Walters said on May 5, “I don’t negotiate with the teachers union. They are a terrorist organization that has continued to spread misinformation across the state.”
One week later, a former Oklahoma Department of Education grant writer, Terri Grissom, told The Oklahoman that the department was not applying for essential federal grants.