Oklahoma Attorney General Sues To Stop Nation’s First Public Religious School

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Dana Abizaid Contributor
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Genter Drummond, Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General, launched a lawsuit Friday to stop state board funding for what would be the nation’s first religious public charter school, the Associated Press reported.

Drummond, who warned that the establishment of religious public charter schools would violate both the state and federal constitutions, filed the lawsuit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court against the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, according to AP.

Drummond’s challenge comes on the heels of an agreement signed this week by three board members with the St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual Charter School, which is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, AP reported. (RELATED: Red State Board Approves Contract For First Religious Charter School)


“Make no mistake, if the Catholic Church were permitted to have a public virtual charter school, a reckoning will follow in which this state will be faced with the unprecedented quandary of processing requests to directly fund all petitioning sectarian groups,” the lawsuit states.

The school board approved the Catholic Archdiocese application in June by a vote of 3-2, CNN reported.

Public money or property used for the benefit of any church or religious system is strictly prohibited by Oklahoma’s Constitution. In 2016, nearly 60% of voters rejected removing that language from the Constitution, according to AP.

Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma’s Republican Governor, criticized Drummond’s lawsuit as a “political stunt,” AP reported. Earlier this year, the governor signed a bill that would allocate funds to parents wishing to send their children to private schools, including religious schools.

“AG Drummond seems to lack any firm grasp on the constitutional principle of religious freedom and masks his disdain for the Catholics’ pursuit by obsessing over non-existent schools that don’t neatly align with his religious preference,” Stitt said in a statement.

Noting that the board’s vote could put at risk more than $1 billion in federal funds that require Oklahoma to comply with federal laws prohibiting publicly funding religious schools, Drummond said, “Not only is this an irreparable violation of our individual religious liberty, but it is an unthinkable waste of our tax dollars.”

In a statement released Friday, The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, supported Drummond’s challenge, AP reported.