Community event aims to develop plan after incidents at OKC middle school

October 21, 2019

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“We who hold the power should be the dreamers about a better education because the children we serve are in no position to make it happen for themselves.”

These are the wise words of Marsha Herron, the new executive director of equity and innovation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. This couldn’t be more true for all adults and children everywhere, but holds particular significance in Oklahoma City Public Schools, where a history of challenges goes back for decades.

The recent news stories about student violence at John Marshall Middle School are a perfect example of grown-ups letting kids down. There are a staggering number of adults talking about "those kids" and how disrespectful and uncaring they are. In fact, these incidents should have all of us looking at ourselves.

Those kids are our kids, and our kids are just kids. Family members, faculty members and community members all have responsibility to acknowledge our part and step up to do something about it. Kids learn character, self-regulation and accountability from adults.

Fortunately, many community members from throughout Oklahoma City have stepped up and shown a great willingness to help. The district, along with The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, is hosting a Partners in Action Community Night at John Marshall Middle School from 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28. This event is designed to bring all interested community partners together to discuss needs and formulate a comprehensive plan of action.

The school, led by Principal Michael Harris, has a huge role in this and every member of the school staff has to do their part. Family members interested in helping are welcome and also need to do their part. Community members wishing to contribute time, talent and treasure in ways that fills the gap for what the school and family isn’t able to do completes the trifecta for transformation and change. This can and will work if all parties work together.

Herron is right about adults needing to dream big to create successful education for John Marshall Middle School and all our schools. We also need partners for our kids who are doers who stand willing to take action. As the saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Read Mary Mélon's original Oklahoman editorial.