Paula Lewis, chair of Oklahoma City Public Schools board of education, called for former OKC mayor Kirk Humphreys to resign from the board of John Rex Charter Elementary Tuesday.
It is the latest in a growing chorus of criticism for comments Humphreys made on KFOR’s Flashpoint news program Sunday.
On the pre-recorded and edited show, Humphreys made comments that equated homosexuality with pedophilia.
The elected chair of the board issued a news release during the noon hour Tuesday demanding Humphreys resign from the board of the charter which is authorized by the University of Oklahoma with general oversight by OKCPS.
The district owns the building and property. The John Rex board provides oversight of the operation of the school serving in a money-raising and advisory capacity.
“Our board unanimously passed a resolution this past spring declaring unwavering support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and staff,” Lewis was quoted in the release. “The comments from Kirk Humphreys go against our school district’s values of inclusivity and equality. We believe there is strength in our diversity.”
Free Press talked with Lewis by phone shortly after her statement was released.
We wanted to know what impact she thought his words had on students and teachers in the district.
“I don’t even think it’s so much what a gay student, queer student or gay or queer teacher hears, it’s what every marginalized group hears,” Lewis told us. “To have that school [John Rex] led by Mayor Humphreys really is divisive in my opinion.”
She said considering the June resolution, Humphreys’ comments do not “match what OKCPS is doing.”
“I don’t think it’s representative of the people whose children go to the school,” said Lewis. “I’m friends with those parents. My kid has friends who go to school there.”
Free Press attempted to contact Dr. Joe Pierce for comment. He is the founding principal at John Rex.
In response, the PR agency that represents John Rex sent a prepared statement attributed to Pierce.
John W. Rex Charter Elementary School is proud to offer a supportive and inclusive environment for students and families with many different backgrounds, ethnicities and opinions. The views expressed by individual board members are their personal opinions. We have always and will always welcome students based solely on our attendance boundary zone and four-tiered priority enrollment system.
The board passed a resolution in the spring declaring “unwavering support for all OKCPS students and staff” as they declared June “LGBTQ Month.”
This was our coverage:
At the time, board member Carrie Jacobs was direct about the purpose of the resolution.
“It sends the message that the district is for all kids,” said Jacobs. “It says that we see you and we are grateful that you are here. We value your contributions.”
UPDATE – 12-12-2017, 3:45 – Dr. Joe Pierce’s statement was added.