Oklahoma City superintendent confirms federal investigation of Douglass Mid-High School

Oklahoma City superintendent Karl Springer confirmed an investigation of allegations by former Douglass Mid-High School students and teachers that administrators changed grades and forged attendance records.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Modified: October 4, 2012 at 9:55 am •  Published: October 3, 2012

Douglass Principal Brian Staples declined to comment.

“I've learned to be patient and wait on the truth,” he said.

Other allegations

Teachers weren't allowed to fail students, said one Oklahoma City teacher, who asked to remain anonymous.

“Their minimum was 70 percent,” she said.

She also said that Staples directed all teachers to do lessons in English and math regardless of their regular subjects. So, for example, students received credit for art and social studies, even though they worked only on English in those classes.

“Cheating is a sad reality in education, not just in Oklahoma City Public Schools,” she said. “But yes, cheating is a problem in the district.”

Former Assistant Principal Marcia Muhammad, who was fired while working under Staples, said she uncovered cheating.

Muhammad said she was suspicious when she saw students she suspected to be failing have transcripts with all C's.

When she asked a science teacher about one student, the teacher said she gave the boy a D — not a C. When she started asking around, the science teacher wasn't the only one who said grades were changed by administrators.

“I heard little things,” Muhammad said.

Why would a principal cheat for students?

“It saves the funding,” she said. “It saves the school. It makes him look good. It hurts the kids, but it makes him look good.”

Muhammad said she witnessed the consequences of cheating first hand. She said her son graduated with honors from Douglass and then went on to college, where he couldn't make it. The letdown of failing college was tough on her son, she said.

“It was humiliating,” she said. “It was very hurtful.”

The long-term results for students like her son are devastating, she said.

“They're coming out of school, they're getting in trouble and then they're in jail,” she said. “It's a pipeline form the classroom to the cell block.”


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