State To Audit All OKCPS High School Student Transcripts Following Douglass Scandal

Monday, December 10th 2012, 8:06 pm
By: News 9

In a meeting with parents of the embattled Douglass Mid-High School Monday, Oklahoma's top educator gave insight on what state and district officials are doing to fix the current crisis and divert a future one.

Nearly all of the school's upperclassmen are not on track to graduate following a cheating scandal involving the school's former principal.

In late November, News 9 learned 81 percent of Douglass seniors may not graduate on time. Now, officials say preliminary information from an ongoing audit reveals 95 percent of Douglass' current Junior class is not on track to graduate.

11/29/2012 Related Story: Majority Of Douglass High School Students May Not Graduate

As the nightmare of the Douglass drama continues, a handful of parents looked to the state superintendent of education for answers at a meeting Monday.

"We have, right now, nothing on record that is showing this level of total failure and level of, quite frankly, dishonesty," Janet Barresi, Oklahoma superintendent of education said.

Barresi says a profile is being made for each student to determine his or her own specific needs. A full state transcript audit of every Douglass student is currently being conducted. And, in light of the scandal, the state says an audit for all high school students in Oklahoma City Public Schools will take place.

Multiple investigations continue against former principal Brian Staples over accusations of grade inflation and attendance tampering. Staples' accusers say the scandal was an attempt to make the school look better than it actually was.

Officials admit students are now faced with a tremendous workload to have any hope of graduating on time. Barresi says her biggest fear is that students will feel overwhelmed and become high school dropouts. The desperate situation has the state calling on churches, community organizations and the public at large to find a mentor volunteer for each at-risk student.

Community leaders say parents need to take on a pro-active approach for the sake of their own children's future.

"If that parent doesn't do the things they need to do to hold that kid accountable, and that kid doesn't hold himself accountable, we're still not going to have all those kids graduating," Sharron Jackson, president of the OKC metro black chamber of commerce said.

Officials believe many of the issues with the Junior class can be solved with class schedule changes. Many seniors will need to take weekend classes to graduate in the spring.

An ongoing investigation may also cost Douglass championship titles in athletics.

10/24/2012 Related Story: Douglass Principal Resigns Following Investigation Into Allegations