New Briefs Support Edmond Public Schools in Challenge Against State Department of Education

New court documents that were filed on Friday support Edmond Public Schools' petition to the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging rules from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Friday, March 15th 2024, 4:13 pm

By: News 9, Matt McCabe

New court documents filed on Friday support Edmond Public Schools in its petition to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, challenging rules from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Edmond Public Schools filed the initial petition on Feb. 20. The issue concerned a rule from OSDE mandating the district remove books from a school library believed to contain pornographic content.

The day the legal action was announced, State Superintendent Ryan Walters called the petition a subversion of accountability. 

"Edmond Public Schools not only allows kids to access porn in schools, they are doubling down to keep pornography on the bookshelves," Walters previously said in a statement. "Parents and kids should have the confidence of going to schools to learn. Instead of focusing on education, EPS has chosen to peddle porn and is leading the charge to undermine parents in Oklahoma.”

A spokesperson for OSDE has not yet responded to a request for comment on the newly filed briefs. Neither has a spokesperson for Edmond Public Schools.

Filed under the Latin term amicus curiae, which translates to "friend of the court", the briefs offer information to a court as it considers the legitimacy of a petitioner's claim.

In this case, the briefs were filed by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration.

"In the event the court holds the State Board has the authority to make rules regarding school library media center resources, [the council] nonetheless urges the court to hold that the rules are beyond the State Board's authority and unenforceable because they directly contravene the legislature's 2022 enacted statute, 70 O.S. § 11-201," wrote attorney Andrea Kunkel on behalf of CCOSA in its brief.

Signed into law in Oklahoma's 2022 legislative session, the statute cited by Kunkel establishes a process for reviewing library materials.

"As school library media center resources are finite, the library media program shall be reflective of the community standards for the population the library media center serves when acquiring an age-appropriate collection of print materials, nonprint materials, multimedia resources, equipment, and supplies adequate in quality and quantity to meet the needs of students in all areas of the school library media program," the language states.

The OSSBA echoed the sentiment in its own brief, which said in part, "should the rules be considered 'approved' by simple declaration of the Governor and without legislative oversight, such a scheme should be found as an unconstitutional encroachment of the executive branch into the policy making authority of the legislature."


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