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Oklahoma charter school board defends its refusal to disqualify religious applicant

ADF attorneys represent Statewide Virtual Charter School Board
Government officials have a duty to uphold the First Amendment, even during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Phil Sechler

WHAT: Available to address questions from media following oral arguments in Drummond v. Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board

WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 2

WHERE: Oklahoma Supreme Court, 2100 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 1, Oklahoma City. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Hayden Sledge at (205) 767-4705.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Phil Sechler will be available to address reporters’ questions following oral arguments Tuesday at the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Drummond v. Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board.

ADF attorneys representing the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board filed a brief in November with the state’s high court opposing a petition filed by Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond. Drummond is asking the court to cancel the contract the board entered with St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School solely because St. Isidore is Catholic.

“Oklahoma parents and children are better off with more choices, not fewer,” Sechler said. “The U.S. Constitution and Oklahoma’s Religious Freedom Act both protect St. Isidore’s freedom to operate according to its faith and support the board’s decision to approve such learning options for Oklahoma families. The board knew that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause prohibits state officials from denying public funding to religious schools simply because they are religious. We urge the state’s high court to reject this legal challenge that discriminates against religion and affirm the constitutionally protected rights of religious groups to be treated the same as their secular counterparts.”

ADF attorneys are litigating another case on behalf of the board, Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee v. Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, in which the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee sued to overturn the board’s decision approving St. Isidore. ADF attorneys filed a motion to dismiss that case.

  • Pronunciation guide: Sechler (SECK’-lur)

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to protecting First Amendment and related freedoms for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

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Phil Sechler
Phil Sechler
Senior Counsel
Phil Sechler serves as senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on academic and religious freedom.