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PM NewsBrief: June 28, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for June 28, 2024.

St. Isidore Delays School Opening, Plans To Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court

The school board for the nation’s first publicly funded religious school responded to a recent state Supreme Court decision against it, saying it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But the state board that authorized St. Isidore’s contract also met - and had trouble getting everyone on board with the court order.

St. Isidore’s board voted unanimously Friday morning.

“The board confirms that the school will delay opening to students at least until the 2025-26 school year as it seeks review by the United States Supreme Court.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled St. Isidore’s contract was unconstitutional and should be rescinded.

But when the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board also met Friday, member Brian Shellem abstained from the vote to rescind the contract, saying they should wait until the end of the 10 days St. Isidore has to petition for a rehearing.

“We want to be in compliance with the order of the court, but I also want to allow that process to happen because they give us that process. Everything just happened a couple of days ago,” Shellem said.

That meant the vote failed, and because the board is dissolving, it will never take another vote. A new Statewide Charter School Board will take up the mantle. Its first meeting is set for July 9.

Satanic Temple Eyes Oklahoma Classrooms

Students are now allowed to miss class three times a week for religious instruction, and the new law is appealing to more than one faith.

The Satanic Temple says it will be taking advantage of the so-called release time law.

Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said members are very serious about possible educational offerings in Oklahoma.

“These are all very earnest efforts we use humor at times but to us there really is a higher purpose in asserting pluralism defending the first amendment and defending real religious liberty for everybody,” Greaves said.

The temple’s plans come as State Superintendent Ryan Walters is doubling down on public school religious instruction.

Walters issued a statement saying the Bible is required reading for public school students in grades five through 12.

Lawmakers and interest groups say they will fight his decree.

Demolition Set For Troubled Plaza Inn Motel

A south Oklahoma City motel with a troubled past is set to be demolished.

Earlier this week, a demolition permit was filed for the former Plaza Inn.

The property was purchased by new owners in April.

Previously, it had been considered for conversion into affordable housing for homeless veterans, but those plans fell through.

The motel was notorious for being a hotspot of violent crime, with a long history of deadly shootings and assaults.

Annual Tradition Continues This Weekend For Citizen Potawatomi Nation

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Family Reunion begins Friday.

This annual tradition has evolved into the event many know today, featuring everything from beading classes to tribal council voting.

More than 20 years ago, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation closed their annual gatherings to the public to focus more on community building and cultural awareness efforts.

That’s when the Family Reunion began, says Margaret Zientek.

Zientek is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and has witnessed the gathering’s evolution firsthand.

“Over the years, had gone from Potawatomis in the arena to Potawatomi in the stands to not a whole lot of Potawatomis at this inter-tribal Pow Wow,” Zientek said.

While the private reunion still includes a powwow, other cultural activities are planned, such as hand games, a stickball demonstration, beading and language classes.

Citizens can also vote in the tribal election on Saturday morning and early afternoon.

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