New HRC Report: Oklahoma Superintendent Ryan Walters Bullies People Online, Builds His Own Brand At Expense of Students

by HRC Staff

"Ryan Walters on X: A Platform for Hate, Ignorance, and Self-Indulgence” reveals how Walters spends far more time uplifting anti-LGBTQ+, anti-teacher rhetoric and boosting his own personal brand than uplifting the students and schools he was elected to serve.

A new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ+ rights organization in the country, reveals new details of how Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters spends his time online: bullying teacher’s unions, promoting Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate groups and individuals, and uplifting his own media appearances, rather than supporting education in a state that has some of the lowest middle and high school test scores in the country. The report comes just two days after Walters crumbled under the pressure of facing criticism from Oklahoma State students appalled by his mismanagement of the state’s education system and his attacks on LGBTQ+ people–resorting to the sort of childish name calling he regularly uses online.

In the first three months of 2024, Walters posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) a total of 122 times. One-third of these posts attacked members of the LGBTQ+ community; a third were spent attacking specific teachers, schools and districts, “teachers unions,” or the U.S. Department of Education. Walters seems to spend more of his time complaining and blaming others for his failures as superintendent than making any efforts to change the state of education in Oklahoma: less than a quarter of his posts were about any specific policy proposals to improve academic performance.

The Human Rights Campaign continues to call for the removal of Ryan Walters from the Oklahoma Department of Education. Walters has significantly harmed the LGBTQ+ community in Oklahoma schools: causing several well-respected professionals to lose their jobs, promoting the content of hate-individual Chaya Raichik and then designating her to serve in the state’s department of education, and ultimately participating in the hate speech that led to the attack and eventual death of Nex Benedict in school. Walters cares more about his appearance on social media than about educating children, and must be stopped.

Shoshana Goldberg, Director of Public Education and Research at the Human Rights Campaign

Most glaringly, in more than four out of every 10 posts, he promotes his media appearances, including op-eds and interviews with right wing media to promote Christian prayer in schools, brag about banning books, and attack and accuse his critics. Notably, Walters has received criticism for appearances that were secured with the help of an out-of-state public relations firm that he paid for with Oklahomans’ tax dollars.

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