© 2023 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

After social media complaints posted by state official, school board asks state to decide who can use what bathroom in Oklahoma schools

The Stillwater School Board meets April 18, 2022
Stillwater Public Schools livestream
The Stillwater School Board meets April 18, 2022

The Stillwater School Board asks the state to decide who can use what bathroom in school.

Monday night the Stillwater board held a special meeting in response to social media attacks from Education Secretary Ryan Walters. Despite no official complaints on the policy, Walters has criticized the Stillwater board for letting transgender students use bathrooms matching their gender identities.

Monday night the board asked the state to decide, which it had the power to do all along according to a board resolution. Member Tim Riley read from the resolution on why the board is seeking official guidance from the state.

“The board of education understands that publicity and ensuing commentary surrounding this issue has distracted the district’s pursuit of educating students,” Riley read.

In a response posted Tuesday, Walters criticized the board for asking for advice. He acknowledged that Stillwater district schools have single-use gender neutral facilities, but said that’s not good enough.

“There is a private restroom there available for students that may have some issues with this that they can have that privacy, but this is so straightforward,” said Walters.

Attorney General John O’Connor also criticized the board for its bathroom policies. Both O’Connor and Walters are currently running for election. The Frontier reported last month that Walters violated state ethics laws in failing to disclose campaign funds.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.