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Douglass transcript findings spur call for wider auditing

An Oklahoma audit of Douglass Mid-High School found that 87 of 107 seniors aren't on track to graduate. The principal resigned early this month amid allegations of fraud.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: November 29, 2012

A state audit of student transcripts at Douglass Mid-High School reveals 4 of 5 seniors are not on track to graduate, sparking calls for future auditing of all Oklahoma City high school transcripts.

The audit shows years of academic mismanagement by administrators, and students are the ones who are suffering the consequences, Oklahoma City Superintendent Karl Springer said.

“This is something I hate to see happen under my watch,” he said Thursday, two days after the results of the audit were handed over to district officials by the state Education Department.

State workers audited the transcripts of seniors, and district workers audited transcripts of juniors.

“Our preliminary findings regarding the senior classes of 2013 and 2014 are very troubling,” state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi wrote in a letter to Douglass parents this week.

“... Unless we start working right away, there may well be some students who will have difficulty graduating on time.”

Audit triggers more action

Counselors and building administrators are responsible for ensuring students are enrolled in the necessary courses to graduate.

What happened at Douglass was a repeated failure to follow district procedures, said Linda Toure, secondary schools director for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

It's a mistake that cannot be made again, Toure said.

State workers will train district employees how to audit transcripts and better help students stay on track for graduation.

“This is one that needs to be addressed at a district level,” Toure said.

The transcripts were only compared to graduation requirement checklists — not evaluated for fraud.

Earlier this year, former Douglass Principal Brian Staples was accused of manipulating grades and attendance records of students.

The district still is investigating the accusations, though Staples resigned earlier this month.

Accusations against Staples surfaced this summer, and the investigation unearthed concerns about graduation eligibility.

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