What’s in a name? Controversy continues over OKCPS school name change

OKLAHOMA CITY - Dwindling enrollment at Northeast Academy, formerly Northeast High School, coupled with the Pathway to Greatness Plan by OKC Public Schools, has resulted in the Classen School of Advanced Studies moving into the 82-year-old Northeast school building and changing its name to Classen SAS at Northeast.

"It's not fair,” says OKC School Board member Charles Henry, “that a school on one side of the community can come to a school on this side of the community which is a predominantly African American community and strip us of our culture. Strip away the culture and our name.”

But supporters of the name change, mostly parents of Classen SAS students who will be taking over the building, point to a March 4th school board meeting where the board voted unanimously to approve new school names.

But Henry, who himself is recorded as voting for the measure, says hold on a minute.

“Northeast alumni were misled to believe that they would be involved in naming the school at a later date,” says Henry. “On March 4th, 2019, the board has one sheet of paper that says Northeast would house Classen SAS. That is not efficient enough to justify naming the school only Classen SAS."

OKC schools declined to comment on today’s news conference because there is pending litigation over the new school name but we received a statement from a group of Classen SAS parents that reads:

“Our priority is the current students and the students of the future. The district renamed multiple schools under the P2G plan. Northeast was closed and CSAS expanded into that building. CSAS is one of the most diverse schools in OKCPS and will continue to be so and draw students from all over the district. Being in the beautiful new high school building will give more kids the opportunity to excel and become life long learner's. The name Classen SAS is recognized nationally as one of the top schools in the nation. Colleges know and understand the quality of students that graduate from CSAS and losing the name would hurt those students."

We will follow the lawsuit over the name and update you on any decision.

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