Summer Boismier, an exiled Norman Oklahoma teacher, faces a cloudy future

“The worst parts of this are in the beginning.”

This is what Lani Dixion mumbled when she turned around gay sex— A photo memoir about exploring gender identity and gender — for a local television broadcast in Oklahoma last month.

But the interview was not about a book American Library Association It was rated the most challenging (or reprimanded) of 2021. It was about a mother’s decision to file a complaint with Norman High School officials about her daughter’s English teacher, Summer Boismier.

Dixon suggested that the teacher could potentially face criminal charges. Her alleged crime? Providing students like Dixon’s daughter a QR code that leads them to UnBanned — a Brooklyn public library program that provides teens with unlimited digital and audio access to banned or challenged books — on the first day of school last month. Boismier did so after updated guidelines and a new restrictive law inspired her to cover her entire classroom library in butcher paper, which is decorated with the phrase State books don’t want you to read them.

Courtesy of Summer Boismier

“Women have access to children and minors,” Oklahoma mother Fox 25 said after reading parts of gay sex out loud and described it, suspiciously, as “pornography.” “No one should be allowed to spread this to children, let alone a teacher in our public school systems.”

Boismier resigned just days after the QR code was taken out. In doing so, she positioned herself as a freethinking advocate in Oklahoma, the state that last year enacted a law—HB 1775—targeting so-called critical race theory. The idea of ​​a right-wing “House of Noir” is virtually non-existent in the classrooms for young American children, even though the anger over it has fueled greater cultural panic about education across the country.

In Norman schools, the law was followed by a new policy that required teachers to review all texts in case they conflict with the rules. The QR code – and pinned to the cover bookshelf – was Boismier’s answer to all of that.

If giving the code was to take a closer look at the education campaign, Boismier says the truth is that it put it in the crossfire. The teacher told the Daily Beast Friday that her departure was followed by a slew of vulgar and threatening messages, including one that prompted her to call Oklahoma City police. That means it’s a new addition to the endless list of targets for the right-wing enthusiasts online who don’t hesitate to utter words like “pedophile” when going after people who spread ideas they find uncomfortable.

Courtesy of Summer Boismier

There is no evidence that Dixon – who did not respond to a request for comment – had any connection to any threats against Boismier. In a report on the incident on Wednesday obtained by The Daily Beast, the teacher told authorities that she had been “cheated and worried that people would come to her apartment.” The teacher said that since her story has gone viral in recent days, she has not stayed in her apartment because she “wanted to be careful and take it seriously.”

Some of the social media messages received by Boismier and reviewed by The Daily Beast encouraged others to publish her name and address online, in order to “throw her body into prison”, and misunderstand it.

“I’ve had letters saying that I should be summarily executed or sterilized so that I cannot reproduce,” she said. “All sorts of really hateful wild things.”

And, according to Boismier, things don’t help get the attention of Oklahoma’s Secretary of Public Education, Ryan Walters, who sent a letter to the state Board of Education Wednesday calling for Boismier’s educational certification to be revoked.

But Boismier refuses to apologize for her actions and insists she will continue to talk about HB 1775 and the damage she believes it is doing in the classroom.

“Obviously I’ve touched a nerve and I’m living rent-free in the heads of a lot of people,” Moallem added. For them, I just want to ask, ‘Who is hurting you? “

Courtesy of Summer Boismier

The law prohibits schools from “engaging in discriminatory acts on the basis of race or sex… that results in treating individuals differently on the basis of race or gender or creating a hostile environment.” according to Oklahomathe bill was pushed as a ban on the so-called critical race theory, although these words do not appear in the legislative text.

But for Walters, Boismier’s intentions to ensure that her students had access to all books caused “the harm and disgrace of all .” [teaching] profession.” After, after falsely mentions That Boismier was expelled from Norman Public Schools after a parent complained, Walters insisted in his letter that “there is no place for a teacher with a liberal political agenda in the classroom.”

Walters, who is now the Republican nominee for state superintendent, went so far as to claim that Boismier provided “access to prohibited materials and student pornography.”

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the agency appointed by Oklahoma Gov. Walters Kevin Stitt in 2020, subtly pushed her away. “We don’t comment on his stunts, it would be like giving him free advertising,” the spokesperson added. Neither State nor Walters’ offices immediately responded to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for Norman Public Schools, the area where Bozemere previously studied, told the Daily Beast that they had “no response to Secretary Walters’ statement” and stressed that he had “not contacted the district”.

“The teacher had no disciplinary issues prior to this order,” the school district spokesperson added. “It is clear that we condemn threats or harassment of any kind.”

But there are only a few true allies in society for the exiled teacher.

Norman Mayor Larry Hekela told the Daily Beast that he would not “publicly support either side,” noting that Bozemeer’s actions could be seen as “direct disobedience.”

My wife has been a teacher for 38 years, and my eldest daughter is a teacher. I understand teachers and I also understand that school boards set standards and we have to abide by those rules,” the mayor said. He noted that neither he nor city council members discussed Boissier’s situation, while condemning calls to do her harm.

For her part, Dixon did not hold back during her appearance in front of the camera. “[Boismier’s] He was called a feeder, pedophile, nanny and these are these behaviors. Women should not have access to children now or in the future. She should be stripped of her certifications. To be completely frank with you, she should be charged with a criminal offense.

Boesmere said that while Dixon’s comment threw her out on TV, she wasn’t entirely shocked given the speech about her resignation. Most of all, she blames officials like Walters and the state’s Republican leadership for putting a target on her back.

“I’m a high school teacher and these things don’t scare me,” she said with a laugh. “You have to put in more effort than that.”

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