Oklahoma City district leaders address ‘challenges’ at John Marshall Middle School

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Following reports of dozens of incidents at one Oklahoma City school, district officials are now addressing the situation with big changes.

Although John Marshall Middle School has only been open for two weeks, Oklahoma City police say they have already responded to more than a dozen incidents including disorderly conduct, a fight at school, and an assault.

Some of those fights were caught on camera.

Oklahoma City police say a teacher was punched several times while trying to break up one fight. Officials say she “fell back and hit her head on a fire hydrant” and then “vomited 8 to 10 times.” An ambulance rushed her to this hospital with cracked ribs and a concussion.

Oklahoma City Public Schools released this full statement to News 4:

“District leaders were made aware of two separate fights yesterday between students at John Marshall Middle School. Unfortunately, a staff member sustained a minor injury while trying to deescalate the situation and was transported by EMSA as a precaution. While middle school fights are never something we want to see and they often result in a large number of students congregating in one area, we believe it is an overstatement to characterize this altercation between 12 & 13 year old students as 'riot.' While the students involved will be disciplined according to our Student Code of Conduct, district leaders are working to provide additional layers of support to JMMS site administrators in order to improve the overall culture of this new middle school and create a positive, safe learning environment. As always, the safety and security of OKCPS students and staff is our top priority. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated.”

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On Thursday, officials with the Oklahoma City Public School District held a news conference to discuss the situation at John Marshall Middle School.

OKCPS Superintendent Sean McDaniel continually stressed the importance of moving forward.

McDaniel says the school will focus on bringing in older alumni of the district and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity to support, encourage, and help students.

An extra school resource officer will also be added to the school for a period of time.

Michael Harris will take over as principal Friday. Mr. Jonathan Johnson and Ms. Geri Woody will remain at JMMS as Assistant Principals, and Mr. Chris Gardner will join the John Marshall family as an Assistant Principal.

McDaniel says the students will have a new schedule starting Tuesday when they return to classes.

The district says the school is not overcrowded, but the halls are overcrowded during the change of classes during the day so the change of the master schedule will address many of the issues that are occurring.

“The first two and a half weeks have undoubtedly been difficult for kids and families, as well as for faculty and staff. We, as a district, have fallen well short of providing them with the educational environment they need and deserve. As Superintendent, it is my responsibility to put all of our schools in a position to succeed, and I have not done that adequately. For this, you have my deepest apologies,” said Dr. Sean McDaniel.

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