- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma City Public Schools will better monitor disciplinary actions, invest in training and take other measures to correct the disproportionate discipline of black students.

The district reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Education after an investigation determined black students accounted for 42 percent of in-school suspensions during the 2014-15 school year, while comprising 26 percent of the population, according to a statement released Wednesday by the department.

“I applaud the district for its commitment to improving its discipline policies, procedures and practices for the students it serves every school day, including through evaluation of its reliance on and training for school resource officers,” Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for the department’s Office for Civil Rights, said in the statement.

The department conducted an investigation concluding the Oklahoma City district’s black students were “significantly overrepresented in disciplinary actions,” according to the statement. During the 2011-12 school year, black students were suspended, referred to law enforcement and arrested for school-related incidents at “statistically significant proportions” compared to enrollment, the department said.

As part of the agreement, the school administrators and teachers would be required to employ a broader range of measures before referring a student to law enforcement.

The school district said in a statement it has already taken steps to meet the terms of the agreement, such as establishing the district’s Office of Discipline and Student Climate. The district added it is forming a plan to implement the other required changes.

“We are taking action to make sure each and every one of our students is treated in an equitable manner,” the statement reads.

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