Oklahoma City Public Schools changing its discipline practices

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OKLAHOMA CITY - According to an audit released by Oklahoma City public Schools Tuesday nearly 3,000 students at Oklahoma City Public Schools have been suspended in the last two years.

It shows campuses are suspending students anywhere from 2 to 19 days.

"It's alarming that that many kids are getting suspended and they're missing out on school. That's so shocking," Leslie Brown, a parent, said.

School Superintendent Rob Neu says students are being suspended for things they should not be like absences and dress code violations.

"If they don't threaten the safety or civility of our schools then we got to keep these kids in school. We've got to keep them engaged in their learning," Neu said.

He says instead of kicking them out the school will first work on helping troubled students through behavior support programs.

"I like to compare it to, you start to hear your car making a noise or its not running right. It obviously needs repair. You don't sit it in a garage for 3 to 5 days and do nothing to it and bring it back and expect it to run right. When students are misbehaving it’s a signal to us that we've got to intervene," Neu said.

The audit also revealed minority students are being suspended at a higher rate.

A study released this year from UCLA showed Oklahoma City Public Schools has suspended a higher number of black students than any other district in the country.

The report said 75 percent of African-American male high school students and 54 percent of African-American female high school students in the district were suspended at least once in 2012.

"There's a multitude of strategies that we have to implement, one of which would be to bring in more teachers and administrators of color and really become more culturally aware of the students that we're serving," Neu said.

Administrators say they also found suspensions were not properly documented in many of the schools, a problem they are also working to fix.

Read the audit findings in the documents below:

Discipline report April 2015

Internal Discipline Audit Findings

School Suspension Audit - Spanish

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