The Oklahoma City Public School District has moved a
lawsuit over the renaming of the Northeast Academy of Health Sciences & Engineering to federal court.
The school district filed the notice Tuesday to remove the case from Oklahoma County District Court and bring it before a federal judge.
The scuttle is over the school board’s plan to, essentially, close the longtime northeast Oklahoma City landmark high school and rename the stalwart building the Classen School of Advanced Studies.
Earlier, Board Member Charles Henry asked for a temporary injunction last month to stop the renaming.
Northeast Academy closed this summer and Classen High Moved into the building and replaced the original name and colors.
Board Member Henry and the Oklahoma City Northeast Academy Alumni Association filed the lawsuit against the school board, Board Chairman Paula Lewis, supt. Sean McDaniel and Jessica Sherrill (general counsel for the district).
The lawsuit claimed violations of the U.S. Constitution have occurred, and contends the school board violated its own policies, as well as the Open Meetings Act when it changed the name.
“The lawsuit alleges violations of the United States Constitution which we believe are best addressed at the federal level,” district communications chief Beth Harrison said.
“We look forward to utilizing the legal process to address the specific allegations of the lawsuit.”
Board Member Henry said the board never officially voted to change the name when it approved school closings and consolidations March 4.
Even so, he said the district has moved forward with preparing the school to open as Classen school of Advanced Sciences.
Northeast Academy was one of 15 schools to close this summer as the district reduced its number of facilities. Supt. McDaniel proposed the initiative, known as Pathway to Greatness, to battle decreasing enrollment.
The lawsuit argues the board and the superintendent never said whether the March 4 vote would include a renaming of Northeast Academy.
“[They] are attempting to disguise the matter in the larger package of the [Pathway to Greatness] plan,” the lawsuit said. ..To read more, subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper