OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Public Schools announced a big shakeup Thursday at the new John Marshall Middle School, where a slew of fights taken place in the first two weeks of the school year.
A new principal, Michael Harris, and a new assistant principal, Chris Gardner will be on the job Friday.
Some people in the community, even a current teacher, say the former administrators weren’t the problem.
The video showing a violent brawl at John Marshall Middle School has been seen far and wide, and it sure got the superintendent’s attention.
“We need new vision, new voices, new leadership,” Superintendent Sean McDaniel said.
“For me it’s about resetting and moving forward. What happened, what didn’t happen, while important and we need to learn from it… we are where we are,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel announced Thursday they’ll reduce and balance class sizes, change the schedule so that 8th and 5th graders, for example, won’t be walking the halls at the same time, and a new principal and assistant principal will take over.
Some say they weren’t the problem.
“Sean McDaniel should resign. So should the entire school board,” Charles Telfer said.
Telfer teaches 8th-grade history and coaches football.
“This school was set up for failure at the get-go,” Telfer said.
It opened this year for more than 900 students after consolidating five other schools.
“We don’t even have textbooks for our children,” Telfer said.
Parents like Jason Cornell are happy to hear another police officer will now be on campus.
“There have been a few fights since we’ve been coming,” Cornell said.
“If I were to begin assigning blame for how we got where we are, I would begin right here,” McDaniel said.
While superintendent McDaniel is hopeful the new pair running the school will crackdown on the chaos, some aren’t so sure.
“It’s a band-aid. They’re just looking for a new scapegoat. The problem is at the district level,” Telfer said.
Volunteers will be on hand next week to act as mentors for the students.
The former principal and assistant principal will be reassigned within the district.