Josh Gwartney, principal of the early childhood center at Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools, displays the paddle available to be used on students.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

For Special-Needs Students, A Ration Of Corporal Punishment

More than a dozen names are inked onto the wooden paddle tucked behind Principal Josh Gwartney’s desk. Each name memorializes a child who was given a swatting in Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools, located about 25 miles east of Tulsa. Gwartney, who leads the early childhood center, said the paddle is rarely used on the center’s pre-kindergarten through second-grade students, and only with their parents’ permission. Paddling also is used in the district’s elementary, middle and high schools....
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The scene in front of clinics where abortions are performed is often tense, with clinic workers escorting patients past activists waving signs and taking photographs.

But increasingly, another drama is unfolding out back. There, abortion opponents dig through the trash in search of patient information.

Alberto G. / Flickr

The percentage of Oklahoma’s graduating seniors who are ready for college of a career hasn’t changed since last year, according to ACT testing benchmarks.

The testing organization’s annual Condition of College and Career Readiness report released Wednesday shows the number of 2015 high school graduates who met benchmarks in each of the four subject areas – English, reading, math, and science – remained at 22 percent.

Christian Costello at the Oklahoma County Jail Monday after his Sunday arrest for the stabbing death of his father, Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Oklahoma City police investigators believe the deadly stabbing of a prominent politician by his son was a premeditated attack and that the suspect intentionally separated his father and mother before the assault took place. 

Those details were disclosed in a police affidavit filed Wednesday as part of a request for a search warrant for a condominium where 26-year-old Christian Costello lived. Costello has been jailed on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder for the Sunday night stabbing death of his father, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.

(This post was last updated at 3:43 p.m. ET.)

Two journalists for Virginia TV news station WDBJ were killed by a gunman Wednesday morning while they were broadcasting live at a waterfront shopping center about an hour southeast of Roanoke, Va.

Reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were doing a live report from Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta when a gunman opened fire, killing Parker and Ward and injuring Vicki Gardner, the head of a local Chamber of Commerce who was being interviewed. Gardner is now in stable condition, hospital officials say.

(L-R): Oklahoma Watch executive editor David Fritze, Oklahoma City Ward 7 councilman John Pettis, Jr., and Oklahoma City police chief Bill Citty during Tuesday night's forum at Kamp's 1910 Café.
Patrick Roberts / KGOU

Oklahoma City residents crowded into a café in Midtown Tuesday night to discuss police and minority communities.

The event hosted by Oklahoma Watch raised questions about diversity within the police force.

Oklahoma City Ward 7 councilman John Pettis, Jr. spoke to the crowd about everything from the nationwide spike in police shootings to the racial makeup of the city’s police force, where the number of black officers stands at roughly 6 percent. Pettis voiced concerns that number would drop even lower in coming years as minority officers begin to retire.

Michael Lockhoff plays with his daughter in their backyard in Tulsa. The Lockhoffs struggled last year, when she was 6, to work with schools to meet their child's educational and emotional needs.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

An Oklahoma Watch investigation finds that across the state, special education students are being paddled, suspended and expelled at higher rates than those of other students.

Students with physical and mental disabilities in Oklahoma are bearing much of the brunt of classroom discipline, government data show.

They're more likely than their peers to be suspended, expelled, arrested, handcuffed or paddled.

Crooks and criminals in America's farm country are turning to an old crime — cattle rustling. The high price for beef and substance abuse are behind the surge in livestock theft, and that's putting some ranchers on edge.

At Susan Edmondson's farm near Henryetta, Okla., cattle started disappearing one by one last fall. At first she thought they had just wandered off. But over the winter, more and more went away, until she had lost 12 cows and 16 calves.

The culprits: teenage cattle thieves. Edmonson knew them well.

Christian Costello at the Oklahoma County Jail Monday after his Sunday arrest for the stabbing death of his father, Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Special Judge Russell Hall denied bond Tuesday morning for Christian Costello, who’s held in the Sunday stabbing death of his father, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.

It’s the first court appearance for Christian Costello, who appeared at the 11 a.m. hearing by way of a video link from the Oklahoma County Jail. The hearing took less than 60 seconds and Costello said nothing other than giving his name.

The Justice Department is trying to make it easier for Native American tribes to gain access to national crime databases. Federal authorities say the program could prevent criminals from buying guns and help keep battered women and foster children safe.

The issue of who can see information in federal criminal databases might sound boring, until one considers a deadly shooting at a high school in Washington state last year.

At the end of this month, containers of Blue Bell ice cream, a staple in Texas and other states, will finally return to store shelves. The company's ice cream has been absent from stores for four months after a wide recall over listeria concerns.

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