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Morning Bell: Child separation protests planned in Oklahoma

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Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number so that protesters could call and ask him to take action. Photo by Anya Magnuson, The Oklahoman
Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number so that protesters could call and ask him to take action. Photo by Anya Magnuson, The Oklahoman

At least three rallies appear to be planned in Oklahoma as part of a national protest against the Trump administration's policy of separating children and parents who are detained at the southern border. 

Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Tahlequah are listed as June 30 rally sites, according to MoveOn.org. The Oklahoma City rally will take place at the state Capitol at noon. 

However, on Wednesday, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed himself and signed an executive order halting his administration's policy of separating children from their parents when they are detained illegally crossing the U.S. border.

It was a dramatic turnaround for Trump, who has been insisting, wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of federal law and a court decision.

About 50 other protesters gathered outside Sen. James Lankford's office in Automobile Alley earlier this week, urging the Oklahoma City Republican to support a Democratic bill that would prohibit federal agents from separating families as a deterrent against undocumented immigration.

β€œI'm appealing to him and his humanity,” said Rena Guay, the event's organizer. β€œHe's a human being, a father. This is so basic that it transcends politics and faith. All people understand that families are a unit and children need that chemistry.”

Tulsa Public Schools is holding job interviews for teaching positions today. The district has had 389 teachers leave since January.

Troops to Teachers program gets funding boost

The Oklahoma Department of Education is hoping veterans can help fight our teacher shortage crisis. The program is called Troops to Teachers, it's been around for decades, and Oklahoma is one of only a handful of states awarded more than a million dollars in grant money for the program, reports NewsOn6. With this new funding, state leaders are hoping to see a huge increase in veterans in the classroom over the next five years.

Oklahoma students participate in summer academy

Seventeen high school students from across the state of Oklahoma attended the Summer Science & Mathematics Academy hosted by Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Students participated in lecture classes and worked in laboratories across the Weatherford campus. Five academic science units offered by the SWOSU departments included biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics and physics. The students engaged in interdisciplinary problem-solving units. Additional enrichment activities included science and technology seminars, a variety of social activities and a physical fitness/recreational unit.

Selection for the academy was competitive. There was no direct cost to the students, due to the grant received from the state regents.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Send an email to bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

Related Photos
Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number so that protesters could call and ask him to take action. Photo by Anya Magnuson, The Oklahoman

Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d60cfbb65967ed0f3f4926b1dbe03809.jpg" alt="Photo - Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number so that protesters could call and ask him to take action. Photo by Anya Magnuson, The Oklahoman" title="Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number so that protesters could call and ask him to take action. Photo by Anya Magnuson, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Briley Jones, left, and Conna Wilkinson hold signs protesting the treatment of immigrant families at the Keep Families Together Rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 15, 2018. The rally took place outside the office of Sen. James Lankford and organizers handed out pamphlets with Lankford's number so that protesters could call and ask him to take action. Photo by Anya Magnuson, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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