Unlike some legal matters that may have grey areas, the law is quite clear when it comes to strikes. 70 O.S. Section 509.8 reads as follows:
The procedure provided for herein for resolving impasses shall be the exclusive recourse of the organization. It shall be illegal for the organization to strike or threaten to strike as a means of resolving differences with the board of education. Any member of an organization engaging in a strike shall be denied the full amount of his wages during the period of such violation. If the organization or its members engage in a strike, then the organization shall cease to be recognized as representative of the unit and the school district shall be relieved of the duty to negotiate with such organization or its representatives.
Although this law was in place in 1979, a group of teachers did indeed strike—for the first time in Oklahoma.The Oklahoma City Federation of Teachers (OCFT) was the bargaining representative for the group battling the board of education over wages, overtime and planning periods. For a period of 12 working days, over half the Oklahoma City Public School District’s teachers were off the job. Schools were kept open using substitutes and non-striking teachers.
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The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma, has dismissed the federal claims against Caney Valley Schools and denied the motion for a permanent injunction with respect to the school district’s refusal to allow a senior student to wear an eagle feather in her graduation cap Griffith v. Caney Valley Pub. Schs., 15-CV-273-GKF-FHM (N.D. Okla. 01/05/16).
Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Department of Justice (DOJ), coupled with strong support from President Obama, with respect to the rights of transgendered students in public schools, has sparked a political firestorm.