For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party

Nothing More than a Photo Op and Student Exploitation

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, JANUARY 14, 2022 – After Education Secretary Ryan Walters made disparaging comments blaming schools for closing due to COVID issues, he pretends to step in as an “acting” substitute teacher for a two-hour photo op.

“I’m just shaking my head,” commented Alicia Andrews, Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “Walters is invited to ‘sub’ at a hand-picked charter school by one of his campaign donors to demonstrate that he gets what teachers and students face with COVID infections and critical staff shortages?”

“That isn’t substitute teaching; it’s taking advantage of students’ plight. This guy claims to understand better how schools should respond to extreme levels of student and teacher absences by playing substitute teacher?” continued Andrews.

“When one is invited to step into a controlled environment for a measly short two hours as the camera is rolling and at a school not dealing with COVID related and staffing issues compared to many public schools, it’s disingenuous at the very least. What a prime example of how disconnected this Education Secretary is to Oklahoma’s school crisis.

“I hope people see through this farce and attempt to use a classroom setting to make a political point. How far are Republicans going to take politicizing this pandemic? First was the masks, next the vaccines, and now the classroom. We need new leadership who understands the substantive issues concerning Oklahomans, not someone in it for themselves,” Andrews concluded.


For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.