The Langston Hughes Academy for Art and Technology, a Tulsa charter school, will close by the end of June.

The school has been caught up in a series of scandals. Grade tampering. Sexual misconduct. Declining enrollments. Chaos. Mismanagement. A deputy reported: “a general lack of structure and order at the school, unfilled teacher vacancies and even faculty meetings held during the day left students unsupervised to the point that there were physical assaults, drug usage, medications kept in the school’s main office being dispensed and consumed without adult supervision, and students freely leaving campus.”

The school wants more time, but is not likely to get it. via @tulsaworld


The recommendation to yank the school’s state accreditation came after state accreditation officers reportedly raised new questions about the truthfulness of the school’s student counts, its compliance with federal laws that dictate how special education students must be served and corroboration of some of the Tulsa deputy’s claims about the school not completing required criminal background checks on employees.

“If we do not see the kind of improvement and corrective action plans that have not been met after being agreed to, we as a state are going to have to answer to the Office of Inspector General and U.S. Department of Education for what we allowed to happen,” Hofmeister said. “This is not about intention. It is about capacity and what this charter school board stood before us and told us they would do — and did not do.”

School leaders, their attorney, and even state Sen. Kevin Matthews, who represents the part of Tulsa where Langston Hughes Academy is located, pleaded for more time.

Libby Adjei, who was hired as Langston Hughes’ new superintendent in early September, told the board that she had secured assistance and training for the school’s employees from wherever she could find it, including the charter’s authorizer, Langston University, and the state Department of Education.

And Langston Hughes Board President Carmen Pettie questioned why the sheriff’s office had not shared the school resource officer’s concerns with school leaders — or even made arrests based on some of the described activities.

But state board members said the documented issues were too numerous and too serious.

“What is distressing is the students have spoken with their feet,” said board member Bill Price, pointing to declining enrollment figures at the school, which has added one grade each year since it opened in 2015-16 for only freshmen. “And I know so much of the blame is deserved by the previous administration and they managed to hide it very effectively and I know it seems unfair now that this has been brought to light and it is so difficult to turn around. But I just basically don’t have confidence that the whole team is going to be able to run a school effectively.”

Board member Lee Baxter said, “Every board meeting has given Langston Hughes exactly what they wanted — more time. More time, more time, more time.”

Reports of turmoil at the four-year-old school began in April, when Rodney Clark, the founder and then-superintendent and three other staff members were suspended by the school’s governing board amid allegations of grade tampering.

The school made headlines again in October when a bus driver and football coach at the academy was charged in Tulsa County District Court with second-degree rape and making a lewd or indecent proposal to students at the school.