P.O. Box 1891, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-1891
OKLAHOMA CITY - It's something you don't see every day. Douglass High School students took the podium to hold their own press conference, saying they are worried over how their school is treated by the Oklahoma City Public School District. The students were nudged to take action after a classroom discussion about the Civil Rights Movement. The students collectively decided to shed some light on what they feel their school is lacking, and how it is directly affecting their ability to learn. One by one, junior and senior students at Douglass took to the microphone in solidarity. "We have not failed Oklahoma City Public Schools, you have failed us", says Leah Houston, a junior at Douglass. Each student speaker pointed to a lack of resources at the school as the reason for failure on standardized tests. "The junior class has not had a science teacher since the seventh grade", says junior Deandre Harris. "As a result, we had a 95 percent failure rate on an E.O.I. biology exam. It is impossible to pass a test without a teacher." A startling fact to one Douglass teacher. Carolyn Shelton teaches 11th grade English. When she heard the students wanted to demonstrate peacefully, she got behind them. "The community meetings they were listening to the experts, but nobody bothered to come to them and ask them why they were on the 'F' list", says Shelton. The students' concerns are not falling on deaf ears. OKC Schools Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora has reached out to the students and wants to meet with them. A statement from the district reads, in part: "We must have an open conversation to figure out what can be done to improve this relationship with our students." The district also hopes to clear up confusion about Douglass possibly being slated to become a charter school. Students expressed displeasure at the idea. District officials say, while it was discussed to possibly share Douglass campus facilities with a local charter school, there are no plans to make the high school a charter school.