Lawmakers and school superintendent team up in political attack against Oklahoma teacher
4:19 PM EDT on October 9, 2018
As it's been widely reported, a record-breaking number of Oklahoma teachers, educators and women filed for public office in 2018 to unseat the oil overlord minions who control and run the Oklahoma legislature.
One of those women and educators is Amanda Jeffers (pictured above). She's a teacher at Crooked (fitting name) Oak High School, and a Democrat running for House District 91 against Republican incumbent Chris Kannady (the guy in the middle). He's the lawmaker that spends his days and nights worrying about what teenage boys do on a field of grass.
About a month or so ago, Jeffers was teaching her
AP Senior English class when she learned the school had a special visitor – Oklahoma Senator Paul Rosino (guy to the left). Crooked Oak is in Rosino's senate district, so the visit wasn't out of the ordinary. He was there to say "Hi," meet students and teachers, and subtly campaign and increase his visibility while answering softball questions about how oil lobbyists' bills become law. You know, typical lawmaker visiting the local school type of stuff.
While visiting the school, the school principal brought Rosino to Jeffers' classroom to talk to the class. Here's how Jeffers described Rosino's visit:
We were in the middle of reading Beowulf, when Senator Rosino was brought into the classroom. After an introduction to the class by our principal, she asked if there were questions. When the class was silent, I invited Senator Rosino to discuss what legislation he's worked on with our students. After he mentioned his work with STEM and aviation legislation, I asked him about his work with health care. He said he didn't have anything to do with health care. For clarification, I asked him if he co-authored the SoonerCare work requirement policy, and he replied that he did and why he worked on that legislation. Shortly thereafter he moved on to visit another class.
Seems pretty innocuous, right? Sure, I doubt the Senator thought he was going to be pressed by a teacher who's running for office to explain his position on the pandering, counter-productive legislation he co-authored, but I guess that's what you get for waltzing into a discussion on Beowulf. Hell, he probably thought they were watching the movie with Angelina Jolie.
Later that night, Jeffers left a note on her Facebook campaign page about the experience. Depending on who you are, she either A) thoughtfully explained why she disagreed with Senator Rosino's position and examined how his law could negatively affect lower-income families at Crooked Oak, or B) she crossed a line, insulted the Senator and engaged in "grossly inappropriate" conduct.
You be the judge:
Pretty hardcore, huh? I haven't seen a social media slam that vicious since my aunt shared a Buzzfeed quiz on which My Little Pony Are You?
The following day, Jeffers was called to Crooked Oak superintendent Brad Richards' office. I guess that's where teachers are sent when they don't follow authoritarian orders and / or adhere to a conservative political ideology. According to Jeffers, Richards was livid about the question she asked Rosino in front of her class. He was also mad about the mild Facebook post. Although he admitted there was nothing legally he could do to prevent Jeffers from sharing similar posts in the future, he apparently chewed her out and expressed his displeasure.
According to Jeffers, that was the last time she heard anything from Crooked Oak about Rosino's visit. Then, about three weeks later, the following campaign piece from her political opponent, State Rep Chris Kannady, was taped to the front door of her home.
Question. Who's the one being "grossly inappropriate" here?
Is it the teacher who asked an elected official a question and then explained why on social media, or is it a school superintendent and school board from a cash-strapped school district misusing funds, hiring ghost employees and giving that superintendent an unauthorized $19,000 a raise? Maybe Richards should write a letter to the students at the school and apologize for the "grossly inappropriate" crooked job he's done with their school's money.
"But Patrick! She shouldn't have been politicizing the classroom. That's wrong!"
Uhm, then what was Rosino doing in the classroom? Considering he's an Oklahoma lawmaker we probably don't want to know the answer to that, but do you think Rosino and the school district would have had the same response if Jeffers asked Rosino about how to lower taxes and protect the unborn, or if she left a Facebook post agreeing with the Senator's stance on medicaid work requirements? Of course not. They were mad that Jeffers had the courage to ask a politician a real question and wanted to punish her for it.
Anyway, we all know how dirty and low politicians will go to dig up dirt on their opponents. It happens all the time, but politicians working with school boards and superintendents to damage and defame a teacher just because they don't like her political views feels like more than just an attack ad. It comes across as a "grossly inappropriate" abuse of power.
p.s. The Crooked Oak school district had a board meeting last night, and the issue was kind of addressed by the school board. You can watch the KFOR report here.
p.p.s. - I incorrectly reported it was an AP English class. It was not. Crooked Oak doesn't offer AP classes, because you know, Oklahoma.