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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Board of Education unanimously passed a permanent rule Thursday afternoon that effectively prohibits school districts from altering a student’s recorded gender.
In October, Governor Kevin Stitt approved an emergency rule prohibiting school districts and sites from altering sex or gender designations on student records without authorization from the State Board of Education.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), it has received notice that some students changing their sex or gender with parental consent are also seeking to remove prior records that reflect their sex or gender during prior years.
“The rule will provide districts with clear authority to protect their historical records,” the agency wrote in a rule impact statement. “The rule change does not concern public health, safety, and environment. Instead, the agency anticipates passage of this emergency rule will avoid serious prejudice to the public interest in maintaining accurate government records. This rule is proposed to ensure that school records are not irreparably altered pending consideration of a permanent rule restricting changes to historical records.”
OSDE doesn’t anticipate any cost to the agency to implement and enforce as a result of the proposed permanent rule.
Additional record keeping, if any, will be performed by existing staff, according to OSDE.
“We’re not going to do the transgender game of back and forth, back and forth,” said State Superintendent Ryan Walters during the October Board of Education meeting. “We have two genders. Those are the genders that are set.”
Moore Public Schools and Cushing Public Schools requested to alter students’ records in October, but the Board unanimously rejected both.
A Moore Public Schools family filed a lawsuit and injunction against Supt. Walters and the State Board of Education over the denial back in December.
“To have people see that is really important to being seen as yourself and to having access to learn and grow in a space where you know there’s shared respect for your basic human dignity,” previously stated Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director, Nicole McAfee. “We’ll continue to talk with legal organizations more specifically about what options might be for students who are facing this force mass gendering. We’ll continue to provide resources for educators, students and families alike. We hold virtual monthly spaces where people can come get resources and just talk to other folks who are trying to figure out what to do in this current environment.”
The Board of Education was set to vote on the permanent rule in 2023, but a new attorney for the Board of Education said further review was needed.
The Board met Thursday and the rule was on the agenda.
Four out of five members were present at Thursday afternoon’s meeting which meets the necessary quorum.
The Board unanimously approved the permanent rule.
After the Board meeting, Supt. Walters said, “We’re not going to tolerate the woke Olympics in our schools of, you know, left wing ideologues trying to push in. This radical gender theory is the most radical concept we’ve ever come across in K-12 education. we need to be worried about educating kids so we’re not going to worry about what the game is. The left continues to try to play with our kids. Frankly, it’s even more sinister than that. This is a war from the Biden administration on traditional values, family values, our state. You continue to see it from President Biden as he continues to up these unbelievably aggressive measures against states.”
The rule will need to go through the Legislature though.
“It has to go through the legislative process. That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman.
Because the rule is currently being enforced by the OSDE, Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, said school districts could likely be fined if found guilty of altering student records.
“It’s a lot of gray area. It’s really hard to even explain to you and have the viewer understand it as well. It’s one of those real dark kind of gray areas,” he stated. “It’s a lot of confusion, but really more than anything, it’s more fear mongering from this administration and targeting of an extremely marginalized group of folks.”
News 4 asked Freedom Oklahoma for an updated statement Thursday, but hasn’t heard back yet.