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The Morning Bell: Tulsa looks into names of all its schools

Following a renewed focus on schools named after individuals with controversial pasts, a Tulsa Public Schools documents shows there are several schools in the district with such names. 

A Tulsa Public Schools document that describes the history, origin and time period behind the naming of every district building asks and answers a key question: Was the person the school is named for ever involved in the subjugation of another person or group?

The Tulsa World reports the 183-page binder is the first tangible product of TPS’ elongated analysis of its buildings names — a process started in the wake of violent white supremacist protests over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. Those protests thrust buildings and monuments, including Tulsa’s 99-year-old Lee Elementary School, into the spotlight.

“It’s a powerful question,” Superintendent Deborah Gist said. “When you look at historical figures and you think about things they’ve done that were harmful or painful or disrespectful to others, that’s important.”

Samuel Hardiman of the Tulsa World has more on the school name review process in TPS. 

Yukon school reopens after flu outbreak

Central Elementary in Yukon will reopen to students today after it was closed Wednesday following a flu outbreak.

Approximately 114 children, or 30 percent of students, missed school or went home sick Tuesday, Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Jason Simeroth said Wednesday.

"We've done everything the right way, from the minute we saw something escalating," he said. "We did a little more cleaning and gave teachers supplies, that was yesterday morning.

"It kept on growing and growing to the point where we felt it was in the best interest of students and teachers to intervene. So we called off school Wednesday, which I hate to do, by the way."

McAlester voters will decide sales tax for schools

The McAlester city council has approved a February election to raise the city sales tax for the local school district. 

According to the McAlester News-Capital, voters will decide on a one-eighth percent sales tax to benefit McAlester Public Schools, with the designation that the funds go toward construction of a new Early Childhood Center and to construct safe room structures in existing MPS facilities to provide protection for students and faculty in extreme weather events.

Donors pays off Moore lunch debt 

An anonymous donor paid off all outstanding lunch charges at Moore High School for 130 students, reports the Norman Transcript. Principal Mike Coyle said the check was sent to the high school's Child Nutrition Department.

"Of course, we're incredibly grateful," Coyle said. "We were surprised when we first saw it. But then, when you think about the generousness and the selflessness that has been shown in this community and in the schools, it's not so surprising, either."

OKCPS grad running for mayor

A 2015 graduate of Classen School of Advanced Studies is running for mayor of Oklahoma City, attempting to offer voters a choice in February's race. In an interview with The Oklahoman, Taylor Neighbors, who is currently a student at the University of Oklahoma, said that if a proposal were brought before the city council to have Oklahoma City voters decide on a tax hike for teacher pay raises, she would support it.

Santa visits OKC school

Santa and his trusty sidekick, Buddy the Elf, brought the holiday spirit with them to Hawthorne Elementary School on Wednesday, surprising about 500 students with candy canes and donated gifts.

The duo handed out bags filled with hats, gloves, blankets and dental supplies donated by a secret Santa, Oklahoma City district officials said.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›