Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional statement from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – Morris Public Schools has responded to allegations concerning a recent article published by Mvskoke Media.
The press release stated:
“On February 28, 2022 Mvskoke Media published an article about Morris Public Schools. Mvskoke Media failed to contact MPS to verify or obtain important information regarding many allegations in this story.
In regards to what the article refers to as “the most disturbing incident”, we would like to publicly share that three independent investigations of the allegation have been conducted which included two separate law enforcement agencies. There have been no findings of child abuse in the case. As stated in the previous press release from MPS, the district’s top priority is the health and safety of its students.
Morris Public Schools has a positive and healthy relationship with the Muscogee Nation. Mvskoke Media acts as its own independent agency of the tribe, free from editorial influence from the tribal government. The school district recently affirmed its relationship with the Muscogee Nation and will continue this partnership to provide the best possible educational opportunities for all of the students attending Morris Public Schools.”
Mvskoke Media reached out via email March 3 to Morris Superintendent Dr. Chris Karch requesting evidence related to their claims of failure to verify or obtain information, including dates and names of agencies of investigation and reports MPS received and whether the parent had been notified of the results of the investigation.
Karch emailed back stating he would not be able to provide a statement by the deadline set by Mvskoke Media.
“I am going to try to get you a response as early as Monday. That is my goal. I apologize. I like to be more efficient. Today has been a busy day. Tomorrow my schedule is not going to lend itself to being able to dive into this. But I plan on working Sunday so it can be provided Monday,” Karch responded.
Mvskoke Media also messaged Rodney King on March 3 with the same questions submitted to Karch through the Mvskoke Media Facebook Page who claimed to have served on the Morris School Board for five years. There was no information or list of school board members found on the MPS website as of time of publication.
Oklahoma State Board of Education Accreditation was contacted the same day for a list of school board members. OSBE listed Rodney King as an active school board member, with a term due in April 2022.
Mvskoke Media reached out to MCN Lighthorse Police Department to request information and to verify that their agency was involved in the investigations mentioned by MPS.
Mvskoke Media received the following statement from MCN:
“Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police completed its investigation in the matter and forwarded the case to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Office of the Attorney General. Lighthorse conducted a criminal investigation in the matter. The Office of the Attorney General reviewed the investigation and determined that the incident was not a crime; there was no criminal intent to harm.
The Lighthorse investigator discussed the substance of the investigation and recent review of the case in a meeting on Feb. 28, 2022, with the subject juvenile’s mother and grandmother.
As a matter of routine policy, neither Lighthorse Police nor the Office of the Attorney General proactively provides investigation reports. Neither the school superintendent nor school board received the report.”
“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation endeavors to have a positive and healthy relationship with all public schools in the Reservation, as is the case with Morris Public Schools.”