Controversy Surrounds Mustang Public Schools Bible Class Elective

Thursday, May 22nd 2014, 10:32 pm
By: News 9

A Bible-based elective course set to start next fall at Mustang High School now has some concerned with how the course was approved.

Private meetings between school board members and Hobby Lobby may have violated state laws. The issue here is transparency and whether the Mustang School District intentionally met in private with the goal of keeping the public in the dark about a new Bible-based curriculum.

"There's no justification for doing it in secret," said Joey Senat, Assoc. Professor of OSU's school of media and strategic communications. 

Senat calls the boards alleged violation of the open meetings act "outrageous behavior by elected officials."

"Are they ashamed of what they were discussing? Are they ashamed of what they were doing?" asked Senat. "I don't know. It's not good government."

"No one had heard anything about it until it was officially a class," said Mustang High School Senior, Al Decker.

According to emails obtained by the Associated Press, three of the district's five board members allegedly broke into small groups back in April and met privately with Hobby Lobby President Steve Green at a location outside the school district.

"They probably should have took a vote or something publically on that instead of being behind closed doors," said Mustang parent, Troy Bradstreet.  

Mustang's school superintendent Sean McDaniel released the following statement:

"We are incredibly disappointed in the Associated Press article regarding the elective Bible curriculum for MHS. The article is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. We are continuing to work with the developers of the curriculum to make sure the final product is acceptable to this district. The Associated Press suggested we violated the Open Meetings Act. Any notion of that is completely and categorically false. 

We are excited about the possibility of adding a wonderful elective to MHS and are most concerned with the thoughts of our patrons. Our parents are welcome to call or come by to review the curriculum or discuss other classes offered at MHS." 

"I think we're taking way too much Christianity out of the schools now, and I think we need more of it back in the schools," said Bradstreet.

"I think it should be more generalized. All religions, not just Christianity," said Decker.

A possible violation of the open meetings act did get the attention of the Oklahoma County District Attorney. D.A. David Prater says at this point, there have been no complaints and there is no pending investigation.

Stay with News 9 for any new developments.