Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

More than half of Douglass seniors not ready to graduate

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A state audit of an Oklahoma City high school has exposed a shocking academic failure.

According to the State Department of Education, 81 percent of the seniors at Douglass High School are not meeting requirements to graduate on time.

At a press conference Thursday, school and district officials said they requested the audit following the results of an investigation into grade tampering.

Former Douglass High School Principal Brian Staples is facing allegations of changing grades to inflate student performance.

Officials said the investigation, which is ongoing, revealed procedures to track student progress were not being followed.

"This, to me, is something I hate to see happen under my watch," OKCPS Superintendent Karl Springer said. "I can tell you that the people that are up here, the integrity of this group, isn't to be questioned."

One former Douglass High School administrator, who was fired, said school officials have been covering up these academic failures for a long time.

"Changing grades to get the federal funding," former DHS Assistant Principal Marcia Muhammad said. "To make the school look better than what it was and these children were graduating and they could not read or write."

"We have instituted a new policy, new process, new procedures to make sure this never happens again," Angela Monson said, OKCPS Board of Education Chairperson.

Monson said Douglass High School will work individually with seniors and their parents on a graduation plan.

That may include having classes at night, on weekends, during winter and spring intersessions and in the summer, followed by a summer graduation.

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