Summer Boismier, who taught 10th grade English at Norman High School just south of Oklahoma City, was told she must cover books that might be deemed inappropriate under the state ban. Other district teachers were told the same.
Boismier, 34, cooperated and covered the books with butcher paper, but she added a label, writing in marker on the covering “Books the State Doesn’t Want You to Read.”
She added a QR code linking to the Brooklyn Public Library’s “Books Unbanned” program, where students can access the books.
“Definitely don’t scan this!” she wrote underneath the QR code.
A Norman Public Schools spokesperson said a concerned parent reached out to the school district to flag Boismier and a “potential issue regarding Oklahoma HB 1775.”
“Like many educators, the teacher has concerns regarding censorship and book removal by the Oklahoma state legislature. However, as educators it is our goal to teach students to think critically, not to tell them what to think,” the district spokesperson said.
The “Books Unbanned” project attempts to connect teens with books they may not be able to access thanks to “political challenges.”
“Across the country, teens are facing book bans, censorship and political challenges in their local school and public libraries,” the Brooklyn library says on its website.
Boismier has since doubled down on her actions, saying she “would do it again.”
“I am a walking HB 1775 violation,” Boismier said. “And one of the sticking points between myself and my previous district was I would do it again in a heartbeat. No regrets. Would do it again. Will do it again.”
“It’s vitally important that our students feel empowered, see themselves, reflected and validated. For too long, public education did not include those stories,” she said.
Asked by local outlet KOKH-TV whether she thought her banned books sign would prompt a CRT complaint, Boismier said it was only “a matter of when.”
“I think every educator since the passage of HB 1775 has understood that it’s a matter of ‘if,’ not a matter of ‘when.’” Boismier said. “If we’re doing our jobs, it’s a matter of when.”
“I don’t have control over people’s feelings, so I’m not sure why I’m being penalized for that,” she said.
In March, the Oklahoma State Department of Education officially adopted the rule to keep CRT out of Oklahoma schools.
“CRT has no place in K-12 education,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said at the time.
Oklahoma is not the only state that has passed a law in an attempt to keep politically charged content out of K-12 schools.
Also in March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed the Parental Rights in Education Bill, which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for kindergarten through third grade, or in a way that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate. Critics dubbed the bill “Don’t Say Gay” despite the word “gay” not appearing anywhere in the bill text.