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Oklahoma Supreme Court rules against religious charter school

The door to the Oklahoma Supreme Court's chamber in the Oklahoma State Capitol. Associated Press/Photo by Sue Ogrocki, file

Oklahoma Supreme Court rules against religious charter school

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a Catholic virtual charter school was unconstitutional and violated state law. The court ruled that charter schools established under state law are public schools and that public schools cannot be religious. It also ruled that the school violated provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution and the U.S. Constitution prohibiting the government from sponsoring religions.

How did this case come before the state supreme court? The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa sought to establish a virtual charter school named St. Isidore, intending to run it as a religious school. The state’s charter school board approved the churches’ application and entered into a contract with the new charter school.

The state of Oklahoma sued for a court order telling the charter school board to rescind its contract with St. Isidore. The state argued the charter school board could not constitutionally sponsor a religious institution like St. Isidore. The school has argued that it was a private school and therefore could be a religious school even while under contract with the state.

Dig deeper: Read my report in The Sift about the American Civil Liberties Union suing the state of Louisiana over a law requiring classrooms to display the Biblical Ten Commandments.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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