Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Should this exchange student continue her nightmare, or abandon her dream and go home?

Story below is by Danielle Grijalva (left), director of CFES (Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students), an organization that works to protect exchange students who are at risk far away from home.

I was recently contacted by a mother from China.  Her 16-year-old daughter is on a cultural exchange and experiencing great difficulties as a foreign exchange student.

At this time, the mother would like for her daughter to simply be placed with a suitable host family.  Thus far, the first two families haven't worked out.

The first host family wasn't prepared to host.The exchange student wasn't allowed a key to the home.  The house rule was that she was not allowed to be in the home alone.  Recently, the exchange student waited six hours outside for one of her host parents to arrive.  As per the email from the natural mother to CSFES:  
"The families did not give her key. She had to be on the streets up to 6 hours, because she was not allowed to stay in the house if no one of the family was at home

There was also an incident with her second host family wherein the exchange student hurt her arm while at school.  As per the email sent by the natural mother to CSFES, "She had an accident in the school, fell on her arm, and according to the school manager, she needed immediate care and go to the hospital. The accident occurred at one o´clock. She was in hospital at 7.30, because the responsible person from the English organisation did not care. I cant tell you the name right now, because we are scared, that they assault my daughter even more. This is a known problem, that these organizations are only after profit."

There was great reluctance on behalf of the second host family to take her to be seen by a medical professional.  Frankly, they couldn't be bothered.

The second host family is very distant according to the exchange student's mother.  Repeatedly she as expressed her concerns to the sending agency in China, but they do little to help despite the many emails sent to the agency.  

The exchange student is trying hard to remain strong.  She wants to complete her program year which is scheduled to end in May.  However, the student's placement agency has threatened to send her home early if she continues to complain.  The agency has already stated that they will not try to find another host family to host this exchange student.

An area representative has been assigned to the foreign exchange student, but she, too, is equally distant.  She does not want to be bothered with trying to secure another host family.  The student has been threatened to be sent home early if she continues to complain.

Grijalva added, "We always ask the student placement agencies who is the impartial student advocate assigned to the student in situations such as these?  It is important youth serving organizations do not allow for the same individuals to continue making the same mistakes that impact the well-being and safety of teens."  But Grijalva went on to explain that this is a very unregulated, unmonitored industry that operates without oversight.  

It may be a long four months for this student to endure should she decide to stay until in May.  She is worn.  Her second host family lives quite a distance from the nearest high school which requires a 90 minute commute each way to school.  She deserves to complete her cultural exchange, which has been her dream.  Her parents spent the equivalent of $14,000 for their daughter to study abroad as a foreign exchange student.  

"The natural parents feel helpless" according to Danielle Grijalva, Director of CSFES.  "CSFES has made several recommendations to help resolve the situation, but ultimately I reminded the mother that she will need to determine when her daughter has had enough; it may be time to send for her daughter."  

In an email to the mother from Grijalva, "I am unsure whether your daughter plans to stay until May.  Whatever the case may be, please, from my heart, be reminded that you are the parent.  If there are too many struggles that your daughter has to endure, then, in my opinion, it may be time for her to return home.  I have seen too many cases where exchange students return after months of mental abuse, and for some, they are never the same.  I am not a doctor, of course, and not providing medical advice, but I have been contacted by natural parents across the globe over the past 13 years who have shared the depression their son or daughter has fallen into. Therefore, if you decide that your daughter should return home early, I am hopeful that your daughter will understand it is in her best interest.  Believe me, in the end having to endure months of mental abuse... well, it honestly isn't worth it."

Grijalva says that she wishes more parents would ask pertinent questions prior to sending their son or daughter thousands of miles from home to live with complete strangers.  She recommends natural parents be allowed to correspond with the host family their child will be living with.  Grijalva said, "Sadly, many of these student placement agencies accept more students than there are host families available.  These kids end up anywhere with anyone."  A full, fingerprint, criminal background check is still not required of host families.  Therefore, it is not uncommon for an exchange student to be hosted by a family member with a criminal background."

Grijalva explains, "It is all too common for parents to rely on the glossy brochures showing pictures of smiling teens that are presented to them at time of signing up their son or daughter to study abroad on a cultural exchange."  She suggests that natural parents take their time in selecting a student placement agency that will be responsible for the well-being of their child while studying abroad.  

Visit the website of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Student and refer to Tips for Parents that appears on the website.  www.csfes.org

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How do you educate a teacher so brainless/racist that she assigns students to give 3 good reasons for slavery?

How do you educate a teacher so brainless/racist that she assigns students to give 3 good reasons for slavery? How do you educate a principal so brainless/racist that he defends the action by saying the assignment was intended to spark debate? Debate about what? About how good it felt for the slave owners? How much wealth the slaves produced? No, Mr. Van Dellen, an inservice about cultural insensitivity isn't going to fix this problem.

The problem is the inability of a huge proportion of teachers and administrators to think critically. 

Teachers need education. Too many of them come to the classroom with a credential but little ability or inclination to use their powers of reason. 

Many, if not most, teachers have no idea how to teach kids to use their brains to separate truth and falsehood.

Step number one is to evaluate teachers' abilities effectively. Then the top 15% of teachers should be used to teach the average teachers how to think analytically.

School Homework Asks Kids To Give 3 ‘Good’ Reasons For Slavery
Taryn Finley
Huffington Post

A private Christian school in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is under fire after asking fourth-graders to lay out three “good” reasons for slavery as part of a homework assignment.

On Monday, the students at Our Redeemer Lutheran School were handed a social studies worksheet that told them to “give 3 ‘good’ reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons.”...

Principal Jim Van Dellen sent a letter to parents with an apology and said that the teacher didn’t properly describe the task to students,according to the station.

[So, Mr. Van Dellen, why don't you explain the "proper" way to describe the task?]

The assignment was intended to spark debate in the class, he told Fox 6, adding that it has been pulled from the curriculum.

Brown-Berry shared an update on Facebook stating that she met with the principal and that he agreed to mandate “cultural diversity/cultural competency inservice [training for faculty] to prevent this from happening again.”...

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Louisiana teacher removed from school board meeting in handcuffs, booked into jail

Our schools belong to the public, as do our police forces. Police should not help school officials intimidate members of the public in open meetings. In this case, if a teacher deserved to be arrested for engaging in a question-and-answer session during public comment, then the school board members who also took part in the question-and-answer session should have been arrested. But why would anybody want to arrest either a citizen or a public official for discussing a matter of public interest?

It appears that the superintendent has some problems, and the board needs to take charge.

Story 1:
A Vermilion Parish middle school teacher was removed from a special school board meeting on Monday night in handcuffs, according to a report.

Update: Deyshia Hargrave was booked into the Abbeville City Jail after the incident on counts of remaining after being forbidden and resisting an officer, even though the school board decided not to press charges, KATC reported. She has since bonded out of jail...

Story 2:
"I have never seen a man removed from this room."
Louisiana teacher who criticized superintendent raise later handcuffed
Jan 9, 2018

...Her removal did not go unnoticed by one woman at the meeting. "What happened here tonight. The way that females are treated in Vermilion Parish. I have never seen a man removed from this room. Never. I have never seen a man removed from this room."...

Story 3:

Teacher removed from school board meeting in handcuffs
A Louisiana teacher was violently arrested at a public school board meeting Monday night after she questioned her superintendent for giving himself a raise when teachers and administrators were made to go without.

Rene Rost Middle School English teacher Deyshia Hargrave was asked to leave the meeting because she was asking questions instead of making declarative statements during a public-comment portion of the Vermilion Parish school board meeting, according to KATC TV-3.

But once a city marshal got her out into a hallway, he started roughing her up as he slapped on the silver bracelet...

When she was called on to speak a second time, board president Anthony Fontana ruled her out of order and called in the marshal, the outlet reported.