Libs of TikTok Creator Will Now Help Decide What Students in Oklahoma Are Allowed to Read
Chaya Raichik’s inflammatory posts led to nearly two dozen schools getting targeted by bomb threats in 2023.
In November, USA Today reported that throughout the summer and fall, at least two dozen public schools and libraries across the country received bomb threats. The threats came after the far-right Libs of TikTok account—created and run by Chaya Raichik—accused the schools and libraries of employing “groomers” and child sexual predators because they carried books with queer themes, among dozens of other inflammatory claims and baseless accusations made by Raichik.
On Tuesday, Ryan Walters, superintendent of Oklahoma’s State Department of Education (OSDE), appointed Raichik to OSDE’s Library Media Advisory Committee, where she’ll help determine what public school students in the state should and shouldn’t be allowed to read. Oklahoma already ranks fourth in the nation for book bans, according to PEN America, which tracked at least 43 titles banned in the state’s public schools in 2022. Further, several schools in Oklahoma were targeted with bomb threats last year after Walters shared posts by Raichik accusing these schools of “wokeness.”
“Chaya is on the front lines showing the world exactly what the radical left is all about—lowering standards, porn in schools, and pushing woke indoctrination on our kids,” Walters said in a statement. “Because of her work, families across the country know just what is going on in schools around the country. … Chaya has a much-needed and powerful voice as well as a tremendous platform that will benefit Oklahoma students and their families.” Walters also inexplicably claimed Raichik’s presence on the committee will “make Oklahoma schools safer for kids and friendly to parents.” Raichik notably does not live in Oklahoma, nor does she have any sort of background in education or literature—before surging to right-wing prominence via TikTok, she worked as a real estate agent in Brooklyn.
And, of course, Raichik has an extensive history of endangering students and education workers. In August, an elementary school and local library in California were both evacuated within 24 hours of each other after Raichik accused them of being “woke” on social media, prompting bomb threats. Those incidents took place at roughly the same time a school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was inundated with bomb threats after Raichik accused the school of employing a “woke” librarian. At the time, the Daily Beast reported that many Tulsa parents kept their kids home from school out of fear at the height of the ensuing chaos. Raichik’s social media posts have also targeted children’s hospitals in a handful of cities for offering gender-affirming care, resulting in staff being targeted with bomb threats, harassment, and death threats.
It’s not immediately clear how much power Raichik will hold as a member of the Library Media Advisory Committee. Of course, any amount of influence she’ll hold in Oklahoma’s state government is deeply concerning given her extensive record of mobilizing violent extremists to target schools, libraries, and hospitals—an outcome she’s gleefully celebrated on social media.
Walters’ choice to appoint Raichik is hardly surprising: He, too, is a far-right extremist who’s previously insisted that the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre should be taught in schools… without referencing “the color of people’s skin” so as to not amount to “critical race theory.” The Oklahoman notes that Walters has a long record of equating almost any content that references LGBTQ identity as “pornography” and has long crusaded against “wokeness” in schools.
What is surprising is Walters’ choice to appoint a far-right TikTok star to a government committee given Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) hard-line stance against TikTok. State Rep. Mark McBride, a Republican like Walters, told the Oklahoman he was “shocked that any Oklahoma official would appoint someone to oversee content curation in Oklahoma Schools who gained fame by using a social media platform controlled by the Communist Chinese Party.” McBride pointed out that “last year Gov. Stitt rightly banned the use of TikTok by state employees and agencies and I do not believe we should be promoting influencers platformed by the CCP to positions in our agencies.” To be clear, Raichik is no longer active on TikTok after being banned in 2022, but Libs of TikTok remains active on Twitter and Meta.
Asked for comment, Matt Langton, a senior adviser in the state Education Department, shrugged McBride’s comments off in a statement shared with Jezebel. “McBride, like most liberals, fears transparency in schools. Attacking fierce defenders like Walters and Raichik is a typical ploy from the left,” Langton said of the Republican state legislator. “McBride finds any way to defend pornographic books in schools at the bidding of the woke unions.” The “pornographic books” in question, of course, are any books that even just reference LGBTQ identity.
Other than McBride, conservatives will probably be thrilled by Libs of TikTok’s appointment to a state government committee that helps determine which books to ban from public schools. That just shows how none of them are as concerned with children’s safety as they claim to be—anyone who actually cares about keeping schools safe wouldn’t welcome someone like Raichik to any position of authority anywhere, let alone a classroom.