ALERT: Lawsuit seeks restraining order against pro-744 literature in schools

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 29-Oct-2010

Today (Friday, October 29), an Oklahoma citizen filed a restraining order in Oklahoma County Court, asking for a temporary injunction after discovering Yukon public schools’ plan to distribute pro-State Question 744 material in taxpayer-supported  classrooms.  The story is developing as this alert is posted.

Julia Seay, a Yukon resident, filed the restraining order and temporary injunction through her attorneys, Shawnnessy Black and Anthony Ferate.

The injunction states, in part: “Petitioner, Julia Seay, believes that the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the various proponents of State Question 744 have conspired to engage in electioneering and distribute flyers that are in clear support of Oklahoma State Question 744, such material is intended to be distributed to the parents of students attending Oklahoma Public Schools.”

The Seay injunction continues: “Petitioner, Julia Seay, has knowledge that the Superintendent of Public Instruction requested that flyers in support of Oklahoma State Question 744 be distributed on Monday, November 1st, 2010, to impressionable school age children.”

Shawnnessy Black, one of Seay’s attorneys, said in a statement sent to CapitolBeatok, “Distribution of political material through the classroom is a direct violation of state law and citizens and supporters of State Question 744 will stop at nothing to get what they want – and what they want is to use our children as campaign volunteers for their tax increases.”

Ferate, also representing Seay, said responsibility for the anticipated literature distribution lies with both the local superintendent and with the state Department of Education.

Exhibits included correspondence from Bill Denton, Superintendent of Yukon Public Schools as well as a flyer that looks almost identical to the mailing pieces sent by proponents of State Question 744. 

Relief has been sought in Oklahoma County Court to stop this practice of electioneering, and forwarded to District Attorneys to determine if criminal charges are to be sought.

This story is developing. CapitolBeatOK will continue to report on the matter, including any response from the state Department of Education.