Rampant Violence Cancels Classes At OKC Elementary School

Friday, November 2nd 2012, 6:51 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City Public School canceled classes to address the ongoing violence and widespread school suspensions at North Highland Elementary.

The meetings between school leaders and teachers come after parents and community members complained North Highland Elementary Schools students are fighting. There have been a reported 34 school suspensions in the first three months of school. 

"The language that they use is something that you wouldn't believe comes out of a child that young's mouth," said Lisa Hearst, who lives near the school. 

Teachers and Oklahoma City School administrators had a meeting Friday. Meanwhile, stakeholders in the community are having similar conversations.

Read the OKCPS Press Release On The In-Service Training Of North Highland Staff

"The teachers, in my opinion, are not involved with the kids and, in my opinion, they should do a lot more mentoring," Hearst said. 

Erma Davis, whose grandchildren attended North Highland, said it was once a good school but parents need to become more active. 

"Somebody needs to do something. It's bad when you can't let your child walk to school alone," Davis said. 

A youth counselor from Community Harvest Foundation, which specializes in improving at-risk schools, says the district needs outside help.

"Sometimes you need someone that can relate to kids more intimately, the fact that they look like them, or they can relate to their neighborhood where they grew up at and really have a deep dialogue with the kid about being accountable," said Raul Claros. 

With an average of one suspension per 15 kids since the start of the school year, the only thing everyone can agree upon is something must change. 

"The suspension isn't working. It didn't with the first five kids to explore with 30 more kids to do the same thing is the definition of insanity," said Claros. 

Oklahoma City Public School said as a result of Friday's planning session:

  • Walkie Talkies will be used during recess to improve communication. 
  • Teachers will actively monitor students at all times including: lunch, recess, morning entry, dismissal, and breaks.
  • Parents will be required to sign in when entering the building

The school will work to increase communication among teachers, staff, parents and the community. 

Read more about information on child development and Community Harvest.