OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, the nation’s first openly religious charter school, is facing a lawsuit that nine state residents and the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee filed against them on Monday.
The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County to freeze St. Isidore’s funding and restrict business between the school and the charter school board.
Organizations including Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union are representing the plaintiffs, who are arguing Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board violated the Oklahoma Constitution, the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act and several of its own regulations when it approved St. Isidore’s application with a vote of 3-2 in June.
The video is from July 26, 2023
Executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma Brett Farley said in June that the school would be ready for a legal battle.
“We’re not surprised by the threat of a suit, but we will be preparing if they choose to file one,” Farley said. “This is a question that ultimately needs to be answered by the courts, perhaps by the US Supreme Court.”
In a press release Monday afternoon, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters describes the lawsuit as an attack on religious freedom.
“It is time to end atheism as the state sponsored religion,” Walters said. “Suing and targeting the Catholic Virtual Charter School is religious persecution because of one’s faith, which is the very reason that religious freedom is constitutionally protected. A warped perversion of history has created a modern day concept that all religious freedom is driven from the classrooms. I will always side for an individual’s right to choose religious freedom in education.”
“News of a suit from these organizations comes as no surprise since they have indicated early in this process their intentions to litigate. We remain confident that the Oklahoma court will ultimately agree with the US Supreme Court’s opinion in favor of religious liberty.”Catholic Conference of Oklahoma
Statement from Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond from June 5, 2023
“The approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers.