Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Scholarship Program for Children with Disabilities is a state program to ensure children with disabilities can still get a quality education if their local public school can’t adequately meet their special needs. It saves the state money by allowing these children to attend specialized programs designed to help disabled kids, instead of trying to create knockoff programs in each local school. And it ensures special needs children can get the best education possible.
Unfortunately, Blaine was used as an excuse by anti-religion forces to sue special needs children who won the scholarship and their parents. The children qualified for the scholarship to pay for private education because they were literally being put in rooms by themselves and experiencing intense bullying at public schools incapable of meeting their special needs. The children, their parents, and Oklahoma’s Board of Education were sued under the Blaine Amendment because the only local school with programs to meet the children’s special needs had a religious affiliation.
After the original lawsuit made it all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court before it was dismissed and the plaintiffs chastised by the justices for suing parents of disabled kids, anti-religious groups brought another suit against the Oklahoma Board of Education. This case also ultimately had to be decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which found in favor of the State and the Scholarship Program in early 2016.
The mounting legal fees and promises by secular groups to continue to sue under Blaine prompted the state legislature to propose removing Blaine from the State Constitution.