OKLAHOMA CITY – A protest dubbed ‘Occupy Education’ is planned at the first Oklahoma School Choice Summit at Oklahoma City Community College.
Event organizers were surprised at the opposition.
“The OCCC Police Department made us aware this group was wanting to come out and do everything within their power to disrupt and shut down our event tomorrow,” said Robert Ruiz, executive director of ChoiceMatters.
School and education leaders, like Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, are supposed to speak about alternative school options, like charter schools, but now the organizers fear they’ll have to cancel their plans.
“The event is planned for tomorrow. For us to find another location would be impossible, and it would have a huge detrimental effect on the event itself,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz is shocked anyone would be against the summit, because the event is designed to provide parents with more information.
“To have a group that is adamantly wanting to shut down our event is a complete surprise. I’m not sure why anyone would protest parents looking for better educational options for their kids,” Ruiz said.
NewsChannel 4 reached out to Red State Revolt, the group behind the ‘Occupy Education’ protest.
Their main concern is with corporate charter schools.
It’s something group leader Mark Faulk thinks will take away from education.
“You end up leaving behind the poorest families and the families that can’t afford to drive their kids every morning to the charter school back and forth,” Faulk said.
He wants more funding for public education and thinks it will pay off in the long run.
“Everybody knows, if you don’t have a strong education, you’re now creating a school to prison pipeline, and then we pay more for prison than we would educating them,” he said.
But, Ruiz argues ChoiceMatters works mostly with low income families by giving them other options for education.
“Charter schools, even application school, we help them with open transfer within public schools,” Ruiz said. “At the end of the day, we’re just parents looking for better options for our kids.”
So far, the event isn’t canceled and the protesters for ‘Occupy Education’ promise it won’t be violent.
“We are not there to cause any physical harm. We’re there just to allow average Oklahomans to have their voices heard,” Faulk said.
So far, no word if the event will be canceled, but OCCC assured us they will have campus police available for the safety of the students.