Charter schools are public schools
And public schools must be secular and open to all students. They are not allowed to discriminate against students or indoctrinate children into one religion.
But that is exactly what Oklahoma’s newly approved religious public charter school, St. Isidore of Seville, intends to do.
Approved by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board in June 2023, St. Isidore would be a public school—entirely funded by the taxpayers of Oklahoma—even though St. Isidore makes clear in its charter school application that it intends to run the school “as a Catholic school” and a “place of evangelization.”
That’s why Americans United along with the ACLU, Freedom from Religion Foundation and Education Law Center is suing.
We must stop Oklahoma from creating the nation’s first religious public charter school, or soon schools like this will appear in states around the country.
We’re joined by faith leaders, parents and public education advocates who don’t want their tax dollars funding discrimination and religious indoctrination.
St. Isidore plans to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate and indoctrinate students.
St. Isidore will discriminate against students, families and employees based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and other protected characteristics.
And St. Isidore also stated in its charter application that it asserts a right to discriminate against students on the basis of disability.
As a self-proclaimed “place of evangelization,” St. Isidore openly plans to indoctrinate students in religious beliefs and divert millions of dollars of taxpayer money away from secular public schools.
This nation was built on the promise of religious freedom, which has always ensured the state cannot use its taxing power to force citizens to fund religious worship or education. The government should never force anyone to fund religious education. Doing so violates the religious freedom of us all.
Meet the plaintiffs in our case.
Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee
OKPLAC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide organization committed to promoting policies that protect, support and strengthen Oklahoma’s public-school system.
Rev. Dr. Lori Walke
Rev. Dr. Walke is the Senior Minister of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ.
Rev. Dr. Mitch Randall
Rev. Dr. Mitch Randall of Norman is the CEO of Good Faith Media and has served as pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman and the executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.
Leslie Briggs is a queer parent of a child who will enter public school next year.
Erika Wright is the founder and leader of the Oklahoma Rural Schools Coalition and former member of the Noble Public Schools Board of Education.
Michele is an Oklahoma resident and mother of three children, two of whom are autistic and one of whom is LGBTQIA+.
Krystal is a McClain County parent of a public school student who has disabilities that require speech and occupational therapy and a paraprofessional to accompany her child to class.
Melissa is a Catholic resident of Tulsa County, treasurer of OKPLAC, and a current member of both the Jenks Public Schools Board of Education and the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
Dr. Bruce Prescott
Bruce is a retired educator and retired Baptist minister who served as executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists.
Brenda is the founder and operator of the Facebook group “Oklahoma Education Needs/Donations” and parent of a child in public school