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An outside consultant will be called in to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics to review its personnel policies in the wake of a gender discrimination lawsuit by a former employee.

The OSSM board of trustees on Thursday voted to hire a consultant to support the school in its review of human resources policies and practices. Keli Pueblo, who worked at OSSM for 7 years, accused the school in a lawsuit of gender discrimination, sex-based stereotypes, a hostile work environment and retaliation. 

An Oklahoma Watch investigation found numerous reports of sexual harassment and misconduct dating back to the 1990s. Female employees described a pervasive toxic and misogynistic culture at the school, an elite boarding school for academically advanced juniors and seniors.

School leaders did not tie the review of human resources to Pueblo’s lawsuit or our coverage, but instead said it was timely due to the new president, Tony Cornforth, who started July 1.

“A change in leadership is a natural time for an organization to engage in reflection and self-evaluation,” Cornforth said Thursday.

Also this week, a federal judge dismissed part of Pueblo’s lawsuit, her claim against the state under the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act. The judge said she didn’t notify the Office of Management and Enterprise Services of her claim before the one year deadline (even though she did notify OSSM.) Her federal claim under the Civil Rights Act is ongoing.

Questions, thoughts, story ideas? I’d love to hear from you via email or direct message.

— Jennifer Palmer

What I’m Reading

  • More than 80 employees have left the state Education Department under Ryan Walters. The agency hired only 33 during that time. [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Infusions of cash alter the landscape of school board races. Some say the Oklahoma Ethics Commission needs more resources to enforce campaign finance laws. [Tulsa World]
  • Western Heights principal defends his drag queen alter ego. [NonDoc]

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