Violence, Abuse Documented at Florida, Pennsylvania For-Profit Schools


The school privatization juggernaut – cloaked under a shroud of false benevolence (It’s about students first) – received some indefensible bad press this weekend in two state’s key to their movement. First from Florida in an Alexandra Zayas story in the Tampa Bay Times:

State officials asked a judge Friday to shut down an unlicensed Port St. Lucie children’s home that for years has been allowed to operate despite evidence it has hurt kids in its care.

In an 80-page petition, attorneys for the Department of Children and Families cataloged more than a dozen incidents in which its investigators found evidence children were neglected, injured or otherwise mistreated while in the care of Alan Weierman, the self-professed “colonel” who runs Southeastern Military Academy.

The agency says the home must be shut down because it operates with no state license and has failed to get other state-recognized credentials, such as private school accreditation.

Southeastern Military Academy is listed on the FLDOE website and indicates it’s a non-profit – a claim hard to swallow with it’s tuition listed as $25,200.  Fortunately for the beleaguered FLDOE, the school does not participate in either the McCay Scholarship Program or the tax credit scholarship voucher program as they’ve a record of being unable to effectively provide oversight.

Now onto Pennsylvania – where Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst has pumped in more than $7 million since 2010 to promote education privatization – where we find this Philadelphia Inquirer report from Martha Woodall:

A Bala Cynwyd alternative-education company under federal investigation has been warned it could lose its approval for a disciplinary school in Reading because it allegedly is not complying with state and federal laws.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has told the for-profit Delaware Valley High School it has begun proceedings to revoke its approval because the school did not provide required academic and counseling programs and failed to address violent incidents that endanger students and staff.

According to documents obtained by The Inquirer, state officials sent a letter, reports, and an order Dec. 21 to Delaware Valley’s owner – lawyer David T. Shulick – that said its approval to operate a private alternative-education school in Reading should be revoked.

Under state law, private providers need approval from the Education Department to run disciplinary programs for students with problems including chronic truancy and fighting. Delaware Valley has a $1.1 million contract with the Reading School District to run a school for 125 students in grades six to 12.

During a Dec. 11 and 12 site inspection, state officials said they found evidence Delaware Valley administrators had directed staff to falsify incident reports and to exclude incidents from daily logs “to conceal the true nature and extent of violence” and had threatened to sue employees if they called police or discussed their concerns with anyone outside the school.

The education privatization movement has backed off their “no excuses” mantra as they realized they could no longer deny that poverty matters. Race to the Top’s recent mandates which direct state boards to establish race-based goals admits as much. But their new mantra is “choice” and they use it to excuse away even the most despicable benefactors – as these certainly are – of their impositions of public policy.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Violence, Abuse Documented at Florida, Pennsylvania For-Profit Schools

  1. Diane Kepus says:

    I am not a person who encourages or usually thinks about suing someone, but in this case if my child was going to this school and it was proven these things were going on and the state knew this was an “unlicensed Port St. Lucie children’s home” – the state of Florida would be hurting financially more than it is already! How can this be a children’s home when someone is paying a tuition of $25K a year? What kind of game is this?

    What the H _ _ _ is wrong with everyone? Is it when you hear the word education or children your Manchurian Candidate school indoctrination cuts in and you are suddenly stupid! Or maybe more of a crook!

  2. Diane Kepus says:

    I just went to their website and now I am really upset. This is a military school, not a home as that implies a “children’s home”. They take 11-17 year olds for behavioral problems and they most sign up for one year at a time.
    The tuition is $25,200K and they also are required to pay an additional $3400 for equipment? and curriculum. The link to information regarding academics is not “linked”.
    I would love to see a follow up on these boys as to what happened after they spent this time with this unprincipled man.

    Again, why has DCF left this to go on for so long and where the heck is the Florida Department of Education? They have enough employees up there to staff 3 DOE’s.

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