OKLAHOMA CITY — It is now state law that school children must learn about the events that occurred April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City.
At a signing ceremony Tuesday at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Gov. Brad Henry signed House Bill 2750 into law. The bill mandates that the Oklahoma City bombing be taught in Oklahoma, U.S. and world history classes as a required element in state curriculum.
“Although the events of April 19, 1995 may be etched in our minds and in the minds of Oklahomans who remember that day, we have a generation of Oklahomans that has little to no memory of the events of that day,” Henry said. “We are enforcing something that teachers have been explaining to their students since April 20, 1995.”
Henry said the bombing, which killed 168 people, forever changed Oklahomans, and the United States learned lessons from the events of that day.
“It told this country that terrorism can strike anywhere,” Henry said. “We owe it to the victims, the survivors and all of the people touched by this tragic event to remember April 19, 1995 and understand what it meant and still means to this state and this nation.”
The state law will not mean more content will need to be covered by teachers, but instead makes it a state requirement instead of a suggestion, said Kelly Curtright, social studies curriculum director for the Oklahoma Board of Education.
“This will not add any extra requirements to teachers nor drastically change textbooks,” Curtright said.
Henry said the new requirement would go into effect in July, causing the new addition to school curriculum to take effect this fall.
State Superintendant Sandy Garrett said school districts would not have to purchase new textbooks immediately.
“In this time of economic trouble, we don’t want to add any additional strain a district might feel to their budgets by forcing them to comply with the new law through the purchase of new textbooks,” Garrett said.
Garrett said districts facing economic trouble could consider virtual and physical alternatives to meet the new requirement.
“We are working with the museum to create a virtual field trip-like tour program that districts can use,” Garrett said. “But we are hoping that all students will have the opportunity to come out here and tour the memorial and see this place for themselves.”