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AM NewsBrief: Feb. 21, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.

Elected Leaders, Residents Against Potential Site For New Oklahoma County Jail

A location in Northeast Oklahoma City has been added to the list of potential spots for the new Oklahoma County jail.

County Commissioners are eyeing land at NE 23rd and Coltrane Rd.

Government officials and residents of Northeast Oklahoma City are against the proposal. Democratic State Rep. Jason Lowe and other city leaders will begin a march from there to the Oklahoma County Courthouse at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. The over two-hour march will conclude with attendance at the County Commissioners' meeting at 9:00 a.m.

Owasso Awaits Answers In Death Of Nonbinary Student

A community in the Tulsa area is waiting for answers in the death of a 16-year-old high school student.

Nex Benedict, who identified as nonbinary, was a student at Owasso High.

They died at a hospital earlier this month... just one day after being injured in a fight at school.

So far, it’s unclear how much the fight contributed to Nex’s death.

Liz Testerman was a substitute teacher at Owasso Public Schools for three years. She said bullying is a real problem at O-P-S and Owasso.

"I’m just tired of waiting for answers our community deserves better nex deserves better and deserves to let their life be known about," Testerman said.

Owasso Public Schools released a statement Tuesday saying that the fight lasted less than two minutes.

All students involved reportedly received a health assessment.

Owasso Police is investigating, and in the process of interviewing Owasso High staff and students.

Edmond Public Schools Challenges State Department of Education's Attempted Book Ban

Edmond Public Schools is pushing back against a rule from the Oklahoma Department of Education requiring districts to remove certain library books. The district petitioned the State Supreme Court Tuesday to weigh in on whether the rule is valid.

Edmond Superintendent Angela Grunewald sent a letter to parents Tuesday outlining the district’s position. She says OSDE ordered Edmond to remove two books from its high school library — something she says is not within the agency’s authority. Unless these books are removed, OSDE is threatening to downgrade the district’s accreditation status, based on an administrative rule enacted last year.

In the filing, petitioners say the rule was adopted without statutory authority. Grunewald says the district has its own policy of selecting and removing library books, and its policy is protected by federal court rulings.

"The Court is the place that can tell us what we need to do, or does this rule even stand on its own merit? Does it even have the right to say that we have to do this or this? So that is why we are filing this, is to find out what is the best decision and how to protect our district," Grunewald said.

Grunewald disputes the decision from the department’s Library Media Review Committee that the two books are pornographic.

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