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Justice Department sues Oklahoma City Schools on behalf of service member

The front door of the main Oklahoma City Public Schools building
Cait Kelley

The Justice Department is suing Oklahoma City Public Schools on behalf of Air Force reservist Michael McCullough.

McCullough has worked as a band teacher and music teacher in Oklahoma City since July 2019. He’s also been a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves since June 2020.

In a new lawsuit, the Justice Department alleges the district violated McCullough’s rights when the district failed to re-employ him after he was called up to serve in 2022. The lawsuit states that McCullough expressed his intention to return to his job after service and that there were open positions within the school system that he could have filled.

Federal law protects military personnel who leave a civilian job for service. They generally have a right to return to work or be hired back in a similar position.

“OKCPS has been made aware of the lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice and our legal team is reviewing it,” a district spokesperson said in a written statement. “The district will work through the legal process accordingly. We cannot provide any further comment at this time.”

According to the lawsuit, this is the second time McCullough has accused the district of violating his rights as a service member. McCullough and OKCPS settled the previous complaint in 2022.

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Cait Kelley is a summer intern at KOSU through the Scripps Howard Fund summer internship program.
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