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June 28, 2024

The Bible is heading back to the classroom in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma officials announced Thursday the state is requiring a copy of the Bible to be in every public school classroom, beginning immediately, according to The Oklahoman.

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“Adherence to this mandate is compulsory,” said Ryan Walters, superintendent of Oklahoma state schools. “Further instructions for monitoring and reporting on this implementation for the 2024/25 school year will be forthcoming. Immediate and strict compliance is expected.”

During a press conference, Walters described the Bible as a “necessary historical document to teach our kids about the history of this country, to have a complete understanding of Western civilization [and] to have an understanding of the basis of our legal system.”

Oklahoma kids will learn that the Bible and the Ten Commandments are foundational for western civilization. The left is upset, but one cannot rewrite history.— Superintendent Ryan Walters (@RyanWaltersSupt) June 27, 2024

He went on to say the Holy Book is “one of the most foundational documents used for the Constitution and the birth of our country.”

While Walters did not state where or how prominently the Bibles must be displayed, he has ordered the Scriptures be present in classrooms in grades five through 12. He prescribed the mandate in a letter sent to all public school superintendents across Oklahoma.

The state superintendent argued he has authority to mandate instruction on the Bible based on Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The law states, in part:

School districts shall exclusively determine the instruction, curriculum, reading lists and instructional materials and textbooks, subject to any applicable provisions or requirements as set forth in law, to be used in meeting the subject matter standards. School districts may, at their discretion, adopt supplementary student assessments which are in addition to the statewide student assessments.

The new policy is certainly a victory for conservatives and the announcement about the requirement came just two days after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a contract between the Statewide Virtual School Charter Board and St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School which would have been Oklahoma’s first faith-based charter school violated the U.S. Constitution and state laws regarding the matter of separation of church and state.

Walters was not part of that case, but did condemn the court’s decision.

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