HomeSchool Reform NewsPublic School Advocates File Lawsuit Challenging State's First Religious Charter School

Public School Advocates File Lawsuit Challenging State’s First Religious Charter School

A public school advocacy organization sued the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (OSVCSB) Monday alleging that the board violated the Oklahoma Constitution and the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act when approving the state’s first virtual religious charter school.

In June, the OSVCSB voted 3-2 to approve the nation’s first taxpayer-funded religious charter school, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School which will be run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa. The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee (OKPLAC), represented by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Education Law Center, is challenging the creation of the school in a lawsuit, arguing that the school plans to discriminate against students of sexual orientation and gender identity which do not align with Catholic doctrine. (RELATED: Teacher Says She Was Fired For Attending Drag Show. Pastor From School Cites ‘Godly’ Rule)

“News of a suit from these organizations comes as no surprise since they have indicated early in this process their intentions to litigate,” Brett Farley, the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, which spearheaded the application effort, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We remain confident that the Oklahoma court will ultimately agree with the US Supreme Court’s opinion in favor of religious liberty.”

In 2021, the OKPLAC was predominantly directed by members of the teachers union, Melissa Remington, a member of the OKPLAC, told the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. The members of the OKPLAC, Remington said, included fewer parents and more teachers, who she considered to be union activists.

The lawsuit alleges that the creation of the school, funded through tax-payer dollars, violates the separation of church and state as laid out in the state and country’s Constitution. Students allegedly could be disciplined, denied entry or expelled from the school because of their or their families’ gender identity and sexual orientation, the lawsuit states.

St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School’s application allegedly states that the school will be a “place[ ] of evangelization” that “participates in the evangelizing mission of the Church,” the lawsuit says. The lawsuit alleges that the charter school is in violation of the state’s Constitution because it will “provide a religious education and indoctrinate its students in Catholic religious beliefs.”

Ahead of the OSVCSB’s vote, Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt voiced his support for the initiative after Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond repealed a previous opinion that stated that publicly funded religious charter schools were legal.

“We understand that true religious freedom comes from the absence of government in our churches, synagogues and private parochial schools,” OKPLAC said in a press release. “We also recognize that charter schools are public schools.”

Like traditional public schools, charter schools rely on state funding to serve their students and, by law, must meet the same academic and inclusion standards of all public schools. The very idea of a public charter school funded by taxpayers and promoting a religion as part of its teaching is at its core illegal.”

OKPLAC did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Originally published by The Daily Caller. Republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

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Reagan Reese
Reagan Reese
Reagan Reese is a contributor to The Daily Caller


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