U.S. Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Private School

Tuesday, April 10th 2007, 9:18 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a private Del City Christian school in its attempt to join the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. Del City's Christian Heritage Academy sued the OSSAA in January 2003 after the school unsuccessfully applied for membership in 1998 and 1999.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday sided with the school, ruling that the different admission standards for public and private schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

While public schools are automatically admitted to the association, private schools must receive a majority vote of the membership to be admitted.

Under a referendum passed in November and scheduled to go into effect in July, private schools that meet certain guidelines and go through a probationary status may also be admitted into the OSSAA, but that rule was not considered by the court in the suit.

What remained uncertain Tuesday was exactly what the ruling meant in terms of Christian Heritage's attempt to join the OSSAA.

"We discussed this earlier, and we didn't know what a decision in our favor would mean," said CHA Headmaster Josh Bullard. "There wasn't anything mandated that would be done in our favor, just that the current process by which members are admitted to the OSSAA wasn't done right."

OSSAA Executive Secretary Danny Rennels and Michael Salem, one of CHA's attorneys, also didn't immediately know what the effect of the decision would be.