A Recent drama at OKC's Crooked Oak Schools is bringing up a discussion of the proper role of a school board in legislative elections. The matter surrounds a school teacher's right to use her own time and free speech rights when away from the school campus. Especially that teacher's right to run for elective office.
KFOR TV in OKC said;
The controversy started when State Senator Paul Rosino toured Crooked Oak Public Schools last month and stopped into teacher Amanda Jeffers' classroom. While the Oklahoma City Republican was in the room, Jeffers said she asked Rosino to talk to her high school English students about his legislation, including a bill he co-authored on work requirements for SoonerCare recipients. The legislation, HB 2932, passed the house and senate (mostly along party lines) and was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin this past spring."He just said, ‘Yes I did. I think that all able-bodied people should work at least part-time in order to receive this benefit,'" Jeffers said. "And that was essentially the end of the conversation.
Now, that would not cause any school board to get involved at all. Not even the principal or superintendent would have a problem with that. It was excellent work by a high school teacher to help her kids relate to current issues.
But away from the campus and on her own free time, Ms. Jeffers is also encouraged to be involved in her own engagement in current issues. And that's exactly what she is doing. She's a candidate for the state legislature from HD91.
As a candidate she referenced the school visit by the senator. She also expressed her own insights about caregivers who have severely handicapped family members in the home. She said in a tweet;
Shortly after, copies of that apology letter made the rounds, taped to people's front doors, along with an additional comment that said:
"Amanda Jeffers is a Democrat candidate and teacher who was so rude to her guest that the entire Crooked Oak School Board called her actions "grossly inappropriate" and issued an apology. Isn't it like the far left to forget civility and use our public schools to push their liberal agenda?"
Yep, the flyers were duplicated and distributed by Jeffers' incumbent opponent. So now that Jeffers is accused of exploiting an educational institution, her opponent does the same thing and wags a finger at her!
The Chris Kannady campaign did admit to paying for the reproduced flyers. But had no comment for KFOR's news story.
News 4 made multiple attempts to speak with Crooked Oak Schools Superintendent Bradley Richards throughout the day Monday, as well as before and after the school board meeting. During the meeting, Jeffers and supporters told the school board and superintendent they didn't believe apology letter was necessary, or even the right thing to do.
SoonerPolitics has to agree with the Democrat on this situation. Jeffers seems to have done things correctly in the classroom. We support all Oklahomans' right to be a candidate for elective office, and we endorsed the candidacy of fellow OKC educator, James Taylor, when he ran for congress in 2016 & 18. It appears that the school board blew it and now owes Jeffers a real apology for their own missteps into the political fray. Employment law attorneys may even recommend legal action to Ms Jeffers because the board wrongfully defamed her in a political campaign.
Barack Obama was ridiculed in Oklahoma for traveling the world to issue apologies for the world for the past 300 years of western civilization. Yesterday, Trump issued an apology to Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the Senate Democrats' actions. We disagree with both overtures. They are thinly masked efforts to shame political opponents. It appears that the Crooked Oak School Board is falling into the same bad behavior.
Paul Harvey once said to Tulsa Radio, KRMG; "teachers are always teaching, whether in the classroom or out of it.". That is certainly true in this age of social media. But it's important that all citizens have a right to political speech on their own time. A teacher's bad behavior should be a cause for employment discipline, but we saw none in Jeffers' deportment. She should, however; attend to the whole of her social media exposure, because her students do have access to all of her social media accounts.