Teachers worry Oklahoma’s ban on systemic racism lessons could put jobs at risk

Anthony Crawford worries his job may be in jeopardy.

For two years he’s taught English and creative writing at Millwood High School in Oklahoma City, and since the murder of George Floyd, he’s held intense debates about race and history with his students. But a new state law, passed in early May, is set to ban the teaching of certain topics pertaining to systemic racism and implicit bias. The law doesn’t lay out clear consequences for violating it, but Crawford and several of his colleagues said they expect the legislation will have a chilling effect on teachers.

“It has to, because now for teachers, you don’t want to lose a job,” said Crawford, 31, who is Black. “I don’t want to talk about this knowing that it could be possibly a lawsuit or a possible way for me to lose my job.”

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