Back to school: 8 new crackdowns on students, teachers and academic freedom 

The right is pushing an aggressive attack on schools — but teachers and students are pushing back

A first grader picks out a book he would like to check out at the Post Road Elementary School Library, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in White Plains, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

It is back to school time in America and the 2022-2023 school year undoubtedly is shaping up to be like no other, as right-wing attacks on academic freedom and public education grow rampant and get bolder.

  1. A Norman, Oklahoma teacher resigned this week after being reprimanded for sharing a QR code with her students linking to the Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned site, which provides digital and audio access to censored books, after covering up the shelved books in her class upon guidance from the district which warned against exposing students to unauthorized literature. 

2. In Kansas, a music teacher was fired after the Catholic school she works at found out that she led a rally in support of abortion rights ahead of this month’s special election

3. Texas:

4. A Nebraska school board closed a 54-year-old high school newspaper after students ran an editorial criticizing Florida’s don’t say gay law. Students on staff say they were also reprimanded in April after publishing preferred pronouns and names in bylines and articles

5. Missouri:

In Missouri, nearly 2,500 students were beaten as punishment in schools during the 2017-2018 school year, according to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. 

6. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported this week that hundreds of dictionaries are gathering dust after district officials declined a Rotary Club’s donation for fear it would violate Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new law cracking down on “indoctrination” in schools

7. After Florida’s Republican governor saw massive success with his endorsed school board candidates in Tuesday’s elections, Ron DeSantis ended the week by suspending four school board members, all Democrats, in liberal. Broward County. DeSantis appointed four Republicans to replace the suspended board members. 

8. Teachers in Colombus, Ohio spent the first week of school on strike for the first time in decades. While students are expected to return to classes on Monday, one of the central issues causing the strike was a yearslong battle to get classrooms outfitted with air conditioning. Experts have found that children “are more susceptible to heat-induced illness than adults” and require special protections from high temperatures.