Law & Principles
Ray Carter | October 5, 2022
As radical teachers complain, HB 1775 author says it is ‘doing what it is supposed to do’
When Oklahoma lawmakers voted to prohibit the teaching of racial superiority and other concepts broadly associated with Critical Race Theory through the passage of House Bill 1775, opponents argued such instruction was not occurring in state classrooms.
But some teachers—including one self-described radical—are indirectly indicating those concepts have been routinely infused into classroom instruction by declaring the law is now impeding their work.
One of the bill’s authors views that as a sign of success.
“The law is absolutely doing what it is supposed to do,” said state Sen. David Bullard, a Durant Republican and former public-school teacher who authored HB 1775. “It is calling out bad teachers and bad school systems that have obviously been teaching this for a long time now but have been denying it.”
House Bill 1775, which was signed into law in 2021, made it illegal to teach Oklahoma students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” and other concepts broadly associated with Critical Race Theory.
Some teachers have since vocally claimed the law is handcuffing them.
In a video recently released by Project Veritas, a non-profit journalism enterprise, Tyler Wrynn, identified as a teacher at Will Rogers Middle School in Tulsa, complained that HB 1775 is “a problem.”
“I can get my license revoked for it, for being too woke,” Wrynn said.
When the Project Veritas interviewer states that there are ways to “introduce these ideas without broadcasting it,” Wrynn responds, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
In the video, Wrynn states that he wants “to burn down the entire system,” and separately describes himself as an anarchist. In one clip, he also bashes religion, saying, “Eventually you want to remove Christianity from, or religion from, progressive thought. Because, like, religion is inherently hierarchical.”
Notably, Wrynn publicly opposed HB 1775 in comments submitted to the Oklahoma State Department of Education during the rulemaking process for the new law.
“I am a teacher in Oklahoma. With the passage of HB 1775, I (am) concerned that my colleagues and I will be unfairly targeted by vindictive parents,” Wrynn wrote. “The proposed rules are vague and written in such a way that the actions described are open to interpretation. Teachers will face unwarranted scrutiny and pressure to modify their curricula in a manner that does not benefit students. Please trust teachers to instruct without injecting discriminatory principles into their lessons. Further, there is no evidence that educators were teaching students that they should feel discomfort or guilt. If this bill is passed, it will cause the resignation of Oklahoma’s best teachers.”
Wrynn gained national exposure in April when the “Libs of TikTok” twitter account shared one of Wrynn’s TikTok videos. In that video, Wrynn declared, “If your parents don’t accept you for who you are, f--k them. I’m your parents now.”
Wrynn was allowed to resign by Owasso schools following parental objections.
A review of his online activity showed Wrynn demonized parents and bragged about countering their influence.
On a blog site operated by Wrynn, “The Inkwell’s Heart,” he wrote on Jan. 4, 2021, that he spends “a considerable amount of my time uprooting and deconstructing harmful stereotypes and misconceptions that my students have regarding various groups of objectified and marginalized folx. This is no fault of their own, and I don’t blame them for bringing their vitriol into my classroom. Most of them are just dumb kids, and a lot of their hate is learned from even dumber adults.”
Wrynn’s TikTok videos also attacked other authority figures, including police, saying, “Laws are threats made by the dominant socio-economic ethnic group in a given nation. It’s just the promise of violence that’s enacted, and police are basically an occupying army.”
On Wrynn’s TikTok site, he has described himself as a “radical teacher,” and the videos he posted included attacks on whites and capitalism and apparent endorsement of violence.
Wrynn is not the only Oklahoma educator to proclaim that HB 1775 interferes with his or her teaching.
Norman High School English teacher Summer Boismier resigned her job this year after controversy related to her efforts to direct students to books that have been condemned as pornographic. Boismier later indicated she left her position at Norman because she would not comply with HB 1775.
In an interview with Fox affiliate KOKH, Boismier called HB 1775 “an impossible to follow law.”
“I am a walking HB 1775 violation,” Boismier told KOKH.
In the Mustang district, a parent filed a complaint after students were subjected to a “Privilege Walk” exercise based on the concept of “White Privilege.” During the exercise, students were asked to step forward if they believed they fit various descriptions, such as, “Can you walk in a store without anyone thinking you’re about to steal?” and “When walking alone at night, do you have to worry about someone feeling threatened by you?”
Video of the exercise showed one student asking, “Why are all of these questions about white race?”
After Mustang was sanctioned for violating HB 1775, Kathy Knowles, principal at Mustang High School, told members of the State Board of Education that many teachers in the Mustang district “are concerned about the curriculum they teach” in light of HB 1775 including individuals teaching courses such as pre-calculus, consumer science, or anatomy.
One concept addressed by HB 1775 states that teachers cannot teach that “any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”
Bullard said critics of HB 1775 have mischaracterized that provision by claiming it means students cannot feel bad about injustices that happened in the past, when the law instead bans teaching children that they should feel person guilt based on the color of their skin or their sex. Critics then falsely claim that HB 1775 makes it impossible to teach, he noted.
“That section says you cannot shame a child because of their sex or their race,” Bullard said. “It ought to tell us a lot that they think in order to teach history that they have to shame a child because of their race or their sex. That’s what we’re trying to call out. In order to teach history, you need to teach real history, but you do not have to shame a child because of their race or sex.”
As a longtime teacher, Bullard said it is easy to instruct students on any topic, including history, without embracing the concepts barred by HB 1775. Teachers who refuse to teach without using those concepts are harming what he considers a noble profession.
“To be a teacher is the greatest thing ever. I loved it,” Bullard said. “But liberals like what we’re seeing are absolutely ruining the greatest career in human history. From my perspective, I am very thankful to see that there are teachers leaving the profession that wish to teach those concepts laid out in (House Bill) 1775.”
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.