An Oklahoma City middle school principal has resigned in the wake of a large-scale effort to combat tardiness that left almost 100 students suspended.
Adys Regina Altstatt, principal of Jefferson Middle School, resigned Friday afternoon. Altstatt and school staff members spent three days last week rounding up and suspending students who were in the hall after the tardy bell rang.
Following the suspensions, four of the suspended students were arrested Tuesday on trespassing complaints after trying to return to the school.
The school has had a “serious problem with 100 and 200 kids being late to class every day,” according to a police report associated with the students' arrests.
School district officials did not provide a reason for Altstatt's resignation.
“The district has notified school staff and will communicate with parents to reassure them that teaching and learning will continue despite the change in leadership,” Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer said in a statement. “Because this is a personnel issue, additional information cannot be released publicly.”
District spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy said last week that a majority of parents approved of the school's actions.
“The school said 99 percent were supportive of the suspensions,” Kennedy said.
However, an email statement from the school district sent out on Thursday seemed to question the principal's strategy for handling tardiness.
“Moving forward the OKCPS Administration will work with the building principal to work on using positive interventions to stress the importance of being on time,” the statement read.
Altstatt could not be reached for comment.
During a hall sweep on April 15, 54 students who were in the hallway between five and 15 minutes after the bell rang were suspended, pending a parent-administrator conference. This was one of three days of hall sweeps.
The school announced over its intercom system several times that school officials would be in the halls enforcing the tardiness effort, according to the police report.
The suspended students were told in detail they were suspended and that they had to bring their parent or guardian with them to meet with an administrator before they returned to school, according to a police report.
If they came to school without first having the parent-administrator conference, they could face a $1,000 fine for trespassing.
On April 16, four of the suspended students came back to school and were then arrested on charges of trespassing, according to the report.
One student told police he didn't know he was suspended. Another boy said his guardian told him to go to school anyway because his guardian would send his case worker to clear up the situation.
Another boy told officers he was too scared to tell his parents and that he didn't actually believe he would be arrested. The fourth boy said he forgot he was suspended.
“It should be noted that all of them signed their paperwork with their name and student number agreeing to the suspension,” the report noted.
The boys were transported from the school to a community intervention center for juveniles who have been arrested.