Oklahoma House Democrats Call For Investigation Into Supt. Ryan Walters

According to a statement from Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, the investigation comes after threats were made at Tulsa area elementary schools, and Floyd claims those were a direct result of “reckless rhetoric.”

Tuesday, August 29th 2023, 10:45 am

By: News 9


Oklahoma House Democrats have called for an investigation into State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

House Democrats have called on the Speaker of the House to look into possible impeachment charges for Walters, according to a press release sent to News 9.

According to a statement from Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, the investigation comes after threats were made at Tulsa area elementary schools, and Floyd claims those were a direct result of “reckless rhetoric.”

Floyd’s full statement in response to the call for the investigation can be read below:

“We support our Democratic colleagues in the State House in their call for the Speaker of the House to convene a special bipartisan committee to investigate the actions of the state superintendent of public instruction amid bomb threats for Tulsa area elementary schools. These threats are a direct result of reckless rhetoric and must be addressed.
“As elected leaders, we are obligated to our constituents to hold the government accountable to the people of Oklahoma. The safety of Oklahoma’s students and families depends on changes to the current situation.”

House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson said the bipartisan committee would investigate Walters to determine if his recent actions rise to the level where impeachment charges can be filed.

Munson released the following statement after the call for the investigation:

“Allocating funds for public education should be free of corruption or political gain. There is already evidence of Walters’ corruption through misspent federal dollars along with discrepancies in his campaign finances. Paired with his toxic rhetoric that is impacting the safety of our schools, we believe it is more than enough to, at the very least, investigate him."

“Oklahomans deserve a public school system where parents, students and teachers feel safe to go to school and the needs of our students are prioritized over dangerous political rhetoric,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater.

Representative Melissa Provenzano released the following statement in a press release:

“The rhetoric from the state superintendent has, up until now, been designed to distract and ‎sow chaos. But now, elementary schools in the Tulsa area have received bomb threats as a ‎result of disinformation shared by him. Our children deserve to be safe. The willful neglect of ‎that duty, even in the highest offices in our state, cannot and will not be ‎overlooked. Enough is enough,” Rep. Provenzano added.

There have been calls from House democrats to impeach Walters. Representative Mickey Dollens called on the leaders of the House and Senate to begin the impeachment process after the threats.

“I can't sit back and watch from the sidelines anymore,” said Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-OKC).

In a tweet, Dollens said: 

“Due to Ryan Walters' persistent weaponization of his office, three bomb threats have been made against an Elementary school, putting innocent lives at risk. I call upon @SpeakerMcCall and @Sen_GregTreat to immediately start the impeachment process and let us vote to remove Walters before irreversible harm is inflicted.”
“One of the top jobs for the State Superintendent is to educate kids and keep them safe. In his first eight months, Ryan Walters has done neither,” said Rep. Dollens. “It's just been one thing after another. After the recent bomb threats, that's when I knew I needed to step up.”

Related Stories:

  1. Should Ryan Walters Be Impeached?: Oklahoma Leaders Discuss
  2. Oklahoma Lawmaker Calls On Legislature To Begin Impeachment Process Against Ryan Walters
  3. ‘Do Not Test Me’: Ryan Walters Sets Strict Expectations For Tulsa Public Schools
  4. Additional Bomb Threats For Several Schools, Buildings Received In Oklahoma
  5. 4th Bomb Threat Made To Union Elementary School; Police Chief Responds
  6. 2nd Bomb Threat Made To Ellen Ochoa Elementary; Parents Check Students Out Of School
  7. Police Give All Clear After Bomb Threat At Ochoa Elementary In Tulsa; Class Delayed

The Senate Pro Tem’s office released a statement: 

“Any impeachment proceedings on any individual would need to originate in the House. The Senate would serve as a jury. Until there are articles of impeachment brought to the Senate, we won’t be able to comment.” - Alex Gerszewski Communications Director, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat

Walters full statement on the Tulsa area elementary school bomb threats: 

"Any threat against Oklahoma schools, our children, or other officials is reprehensible and absolutely unacceptable. There is an ongoing investigation into the nature of these threats, and I know the full weight of our law enforcement agencies will be brought to bear against those who would threaten our kids,” said State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

House Speaker Charles McCall’s statement last Friday that:

“First and foremost, I want to condemn the bomb threats leveled against multiple public schools here in Oklahoma this week. Violence, and threats of violence, whether a hoax or legitimate, against our students are completely unacceptable and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Secondly, I would like to see the political activism surrounding education eliminated, and more targeted action plans focused on raising test scores and increasing education outcomes for our students. Recently, it seems as if 5% of the people are stirring up controversy, while the other 95% just want to see our kids get better test scores and succeed in the classroom.
Oklahoma classrooms should not be laboratories for political activism, they should be places where our kids go to learn the basic education skills needed to succeed. In the same way, Oklahoma’s elected leaders should not be adding fuel to the fires of controversy, we should be focused on making sure our kids are getting a good education, and our educational outcomes are improving.
Oklahoma’s education ranking is among the lowest in the country for a number of reasons, and that ranking isn’t going to change if we are constantly engaged in a political battle of wills. We must get the focus back on student outcomes, and away from political rhetoric.
I’m calling on all involved parties to end the rhetoric and do better for the children of Oklahoma.”
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