Edmond School District Files Court Petition Against OSDE Amid Potential Accreditation Demotion

Edmond School leaders say they need the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s help to avoid losing its accreditation. School board members unanimously approved a petition against the State Board of Education. 

Tuesday, February 20th 2024, 10:09 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad


Edmond School leaders say they need the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s help to avoid losing its accreditation. School board members unanimously approved a petition against the State Board of Education. This issue started with two books OSDE told the school district to remove.  

School board members and leaders at Edmond Public Schools met on Tuesday to turn the page on a national issue. “If we remove the books we would be going against our own policy and federal court decisions,” said Angela Grunewald, superintendent of Edmond Public Schools. 

Related: Edmond Public Schools Announces Okla. Supreme Court Petition Against Department Of Education, Walters Responds

Last month, the State Board of Education sent EPS a letter. “The district did not take this action lightly,” Grunewald said. “We do not want to be in this position.” 

The State Board of Education ordered the school to remove two books including “The Glass Castle” and “The Kite Runner” from its library shelves. “They said the books had sexualized content and pornography, Grunewald said. 

Grunewald said they could lose their accreditation unless they follow this request. “We believe [accreditation] is worth protecting,” Grunewald said. 

Attorney Andrew Fugitt said state law leans in Edmond's favor, but they are seeking the higher court's opinion. “It’s about whether the state board of education has the authority to decide what’s pornographic,” Fugitt said. 

State Superintendent Ryan Walters responded by saying the district is “doubling down to keep pornography” on its bookshelves.  

News 9 received an email through an open records request -- Grunewald told a staff member in June she wanted to fight against Walters' rhetoric. In the email, Grunewald said, “I want to fight, but I have more fights on my hands than I can handle right now. We need someone else to take up this fight for us.” 

Grunewald said on Tuesday she hopes the Oklahoma Supreme Court will deliver the final chapter on this issue. 

“We do not have pornography in our classrooms and our libraries at Edmond Public Schools,” Grunewald said. 

The school district has its own policy to review books with parent input and public oversight. Parents can file formal complaints to review books. The district also lists guidelines on how it approves books for its curriculum. 

Deer Creek Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Perez issued the following statement of support for Edmond Public Schools: 

“On behalf of the Deer Creek Schools administration, I am issuing this statement of support for Edmond Public Schools and their decision to petition the Oklahoma Supreme Court against the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Every public school district in our state has a duly elected board of education, chosen by the patrons of their respective communities, to represent the interests and values of those they serve. This level of local control is a right belonging to public school parents in Oklahoma and should not be undermined by any agency at the state level. Edmond Public Schools, as with the majority of all school districts, have their own policies and procedures to address patron concerns. When districts are not given the opportunity to intervene at the local level, it undermines these policies as well as the authority of the governing body elected by its community. We stand with Edmond Public Schools and encourage other boards, superintendents, teachers, parents and students to support their efforts. Our communities deserve local control and our school districts need the first opportunity to address issues as they arise.”

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