Thursday, June 20, 2019

Former Pryor teacher sentenced for raping foster child

"A former Oklahoma science teacher has been sentenced for raping a foster child in her custody," KFOR reports.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Moore school district's actions 'akin to embezzlement'

"Just this past month," Andrew Spiropoulos writes today in The Journal Record, "we read reports describing how one Oklahoma City-area school district is taking money that was appropriated for the specific purpose of funding programs for gifted children and shifting it to programs serving the general student population. This maneuver isn’t just defiance—it’s akin to embezzlement."

Monday, June 3, 2019

Where the Democratic presidential candidates (and their children) went to school

"Many elected officials and candidates for office oppose school choice options for others, and even prioritize preventing it, but attended private schools themselves or have sent their children to private schools," Tommy Schultz of the American Federation for Children points out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Former Pocola teacher charged with rape had previous indecency conviction involving student

"A former Pocola High School teacher accused of having sex with three different students had a previous conviction for sexual indecency with another student in a different Oklahoma school district," KFSM reports.
Janet Kaye Barnes, 44, was indicted last week by an Oklahoma grand jury on two counts of second-degree rape and one count of sexual battery. The indictment alleged that Barnes had sex with the minors when she taught at the high school between January 2014 and November 2016. She's no longer employed by Pocola schools.

Barnes pleaded guilty in January 2012 in McCurtain County District Court to outraging public decency involving a student younger than 16. A student at Smithville Public Schools in Smithville, Okla., told police in 2010 that Barnes asked him to have sex and sent him nude photos over four months, according to court documents. The boy, who said he felt like Barnes was "stalking him," also said she exposed herself to him.

It's unclear what Barnes' role was at the school. Court documents show the boy described her as a teacher and a coach, but school officials didn't immediately respond Monday to questions about her employment. Barnes was given a nine-month suspended sentence and had to pay more than $400 in fines and court costs. The judge also issued her a no-contact order with the student.

However, the boy later reported that Barnes attended some of his athletic events and came to a school concert he performed in. Barnes pleaded guilty in August 2012 to violating a protection order but received no jail time.

Sand Springs mom devastated over cyberbullying incident

"For a mother to find out a revealing video of her daughter was released all over school is devastating," KJRH reports. "For her to find out her child didn't even know it was taken, and that it sparked a nasty, false rumor, is even more so."

Monday, May 20, 2019

Oklahoma teacher featured in upcoming film on socialism

"In the space of about three years, socialism has gone from a total nonstarter to a persistent object of curiosity for millions of ordinary people, and the name of a real movement for tens of thousands of dedicated new organizers," Meagan Day writes for the socialist publication Jacobin. "With Jacobin‘s support, the upcoming film Socialism: An American Story documents the new wave of socialism in the US and traces its lineage through American history."

In an interview with director and producer Yael Bridge, Day asked: "One of the major characters of your film is Oklahoma teacher Stephanie Price. Can you tell us about Stephanie’s journey from pissed-off public school teacher to a member of a socialist organization?" Bridge replied:
Stephanie was a wonderful discovery for us as filmmakers—she’s just a really bright, charming, courageous person. She is a person who can see that certain aspects of her life are f***** up but not really someone who has an analysis of where those pressures come from. And ultimately through participating in the strike, even though the Oklahoma strike ended in a way that was somewhat frustrating for the rank and file, she develops an entirely different sense of what she deserves, and what she can achieve.

We filmed a panel at the Socialism conference in 2018, where many of the leaders of the strike wave spoke, and the common thread was the power of that experience of solidarity. We can talk about it and write about it all we want, but I think until you actually go out and strike and find out the power that you collectively have as workers, it’s hard to really grasp.

You could see that all of these people, mostly women, had kind of found their voices as people through participating in a strike. Most of them had just been rank-and-file teachers beforehand, and here they were just a few months later addressing a room of thousands with absolute poise and confidence. That’s hard to do, and it was extremely moving to witness. That experience of solidarity is what Stephanie’s journey in the film is all about.
The film is scheduled to premiere next year. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Former Pocola teacher indicted for rape and sexual battery

"A former Pocola High School teacher has been indicted on charges of rape and sexual battery—accused of having sex with three different students," KNWA reports.
A LeFlore County judge signed the arrest warrant and an Oklahoma grand jury brought forward an indictment for Janet Kaye Barnes on Friday, May 17. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma indictment states Barnes, 44, had relations with multiple minors between 2014-2016 when she was an employee at the high school. Barnes faces two second-degree rape charges for each incident.