Virus Outbreak Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt blasted a school district's decision to fire teachers for not wearing masks.

"Earlier this week, Oklahoma City public school district had the audacity to fire six talented teachers," Stitt said in a video he posted to Twitter on Friday. "They were fired because they wouldn't follow an illegal mask mandate issued by their superintendent. This is preposterous, especially in a time when talented teachers are needed more than ever."

The governor called the terminations a violation of state law.

"Let me be clear: This is about a school district not following state law," he said. "This isn’t a debate about masks. These teachers even said they'd be willing to come back to class and wear a mask. But the superintendent, Sean McDaniel, wanted to fire them to make a point."

During the spring legislative session, Oklahoma lawmakers passed and Stitt signed into law a measure that prohibits school boards from putting mask mandates into place. McDaniel, however, enacted an administrative rule requiring masks at schools and school functions.

"These are the types of misguided decisions that are leaving so many parents across the country so frustrated with their local schools," Stitt said. "Oklahomans believe in common sense, not political pandering and bureaucratic overreach. I cannot believe that, again, in the middle of a teacher shortage, a district would fire talented teachers because they wouldn't follow an illegal order."

Stitt called on McDaniel to bring the fired teachers back and, if he doesn't asked other school districts in the state to hire them.