FIRST ON FOX: A pair of Oklahoma agencies are blaming bureaucratic oversight for the inclusion of a “non-binary” options for preschoolers looking to transfer schools.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) initially included the “non-binary” listing on a drop-down menu for their transfer portal, prompting finger-pointing between the education agency and the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES).
Both agencies say the inclusion was a product of bureaucratic oversight, with OSDE — which is led by Republican-turned-Democrat gubernatorial candidate Joy Hofmeister — claiming the inclusion came from OMES.
“This online feature launched yesterday and a web developer at OMES (a separate state agency, not an OSDE employee) included non-binary as an option,” an OSDE spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
“OSDE didn’t request it, was unaware of its inclusion, and had it removed as soon as it came to our attention,” the spokesperson continued. “Our student information system doesn’t recognize non-binary as an option.”
However, Caden Cleveland, OMES director of legislative and public affairs, told Fox News Digital the buck stopped with the state education department and their final review before the website went live.
“While OSDE did request for OMES’ help in building their new student transfer application page on their website, our team relied on OSDE to review and approve all content before it went live, including having ‘non-binary’ as an option for gender, which was automatically pulled in from another data source,” Cleveland said.
“Our OMES web development team assists many agencies in creating website content, however, it is the responsibility of the owner of the website to review, request any changes and ultimately approve all content before webpages go live,” he continued. “In this particular case, OSDE approved all page content before the site went live.”
The inclusion of a “non-binary” option on the OSDE student transfer portal drew a sharp rebuke from Republican Governor Kevin Stitt’s office, with spokeswoman Carly Atchison pointing out the governor banned the “non-binary” label for state birth certificates.
“Earlier this year Governor Stitt banned non-binary on birth certificates, so he could not be any more clear on this point: In Oklahoma, we believe in biological male and biological female,” Atchison said.
“We understand this upsets liberal activists, but the bottom line is that as the leader of this state, Governor Stitt will not tolerate any degree of woke ideology in Oklahoma public schools,” she continued.
The non-binary option has since been replaced by an “unknown” option.
Gender and sexuality have become battleground political issues ahead of the midterm elections that are expected to favor Republicans.
Oklahoma middle school parents were vocal earlier this year with their concern about male-to-female transgender students sharing bathrooms with biological female students.
The Sooner State is far from the only state with education on the docket — New Jersey made headlines this year after it was revealed the state would be implementing educational standards that taught gender theory to second-graders.