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A mom chose an off-the-grid school for safety from COVID. No one protected her kid from the teacher

by Madison Thomas
2 comments
Oversight

A mother’s decision to enroll her children in an off-the-grid school for COVID-19 safety backfired when she discovered a disturbing lack of oversight. Raynesha Cummings had hoped to protect her teenagers from the pandemic by sending them to a small, no-frills private school called Second Chance Academy. Initially, it seemed like a suitable choice. Her son even graduated as the top student in his class with aspirations of attending a trade school. However, his diploma was not recognized by other schools.

Soon after this revelation, Cummings stumbled upon a shocking discovery. She found out that the school’s only teacher had been sending sexually explicit text messages to her 16-year-old daughter, offering money for inappropriate photos. This led to the teacher’s arrest, and Cummings learned that he had previously faced accusations of child rape.

What Cummings didn’t know when she initially chose Second Chance Academy was that the school lacked accreditation, state approval, and any form of supervision for the teacher she entrusted her children to. She expressed deep regret, saying, “If I had known that, I would never pay my money for them to go there.”

Second Chance Academy is part of a category of off-the-grid schools in Louisiana that operate with minimal oversight, known as “nonpublic schools not seeking state approval.” While some of these are home schools serving a single family, others, like Second Chance, are physical schoolhouses with numerous students.

Unfortunately, the problem extends beyond this one school. The number of Louisiana children attending unapproved schools has been on the rise, with enrollment increasing from around 11,600 students in 2017-18 to over 21,000 in the past school year. This trend is a manifestation of the disengagement from traditional education systems that has occurred during the pandemic.

Second Chance Academy’s history is marked by defiance and controversy. It originally served students expelled from public schools, and its founder, Brendia Ford, had numerous clashes with public officials. Even when its approval to grant state-recognized diplomas was revoked in 2000, it continued to operate as an unapproved school, as long as it didn’t receive public funding.

The Louisiana Department of Education has limited oversight of these unapproved schools, and it warns parents that it cannot confirm whether they meet the legal definition of a school.

Raynesha Cummings had no knowledge of these issues when she sought an alternative to public schools during the pandemic. She enrolled her children, paying $375 a month, based on the recommendation of her partner who had attended Second Chance in the past. The school had only one teacher, and her son progressed so rapidly that he ended up teaching the class himself. Cummings appreciated that the school allowed students to be themselves without resorting to suspensions for minor infractions, as public schools often do.

However, when trade schools refused to recognize her son’s diploma, Cummings confronted the teacher, Nash, who claimed that different rules applied to some colleges. It was only later, after rumors about abuse at Second Chance surfaced on social media, that Cummings discovered Nash’s inappropriate messages to her daughter.

In the end, Nash was arrested and faces charges related to sexual misconduct. Cummings has been homeschooling her daughters and seeking a legitimate diploma for her son. She hopes that her experience serves as a cautionary tale for other parents, urging them not to take chances with unapproved schools.

This alarming case highlights the importance of transparency and oversight in education, particularly in off-the-grid schools, to ensure the safety and well-being of students.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Oversight

Q: What is the main issue highlighted in the text?

A: The main issue in the text is the shocking lack of oversight and regulation in off-the-grid schools, specifically in the case of Second Chance Academy in Louisiana.

Q: What prompted the mother, Raynesha Cummings, to enroll her children in Second Chance Academy?

A: Raynesha Cummings enrolled her children in Second Chance Academy during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping for a smaller and supposedly safer educational environment compared to public schools.

Q: Why was her son’s diploma not recognized by other schools?

A: Other schools refused to recognize her son’s diploma from Second Chance Academy because the school lacked accreditation and state approval, raising doubts about the legitimacy of the education provided there.

Q: What disturbing discovery did Cummings make about the school’s teacher?

A: Cummings discovered that the teacher at Second Chance Academy had been sending sexually explicit text messages to her 16-year-old daughter and offering money for inappropriate photos. This led to the teacher’s arrest.

Q: What is the broader trend mentioned in the text regarding unapproved schools in Louisiana?

A: The text highlights a troubling trend of increasing enrollment in unapproved schools in Louisiana, with enrollment numbers rising significantly during the pandemic.

Q: What challenges did Raynesha Cummings face after her son’s diploma was not recognized?

A: After her son’s diploma was not recognized, Cummings had to explore homeschooling for her daughters and seek ways for her son to obtain a legitimate diploma while taking community college classes.

Q: What is the stance of the Louisiana Department of Education regarding unapproved schools?

A: The Louisiana Department of Education has limited oversight of unapproved schools and explicitly states that it cannot confirm whether these organizations meet the legal definition of a school.

Q: What is the significance of this case in the broader context of education?

A: This case underscores the critical importance of transparency, oversight, and regulation in education, particularly in off-the-grid schools, to ensure the safety and well-being of students.

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2 comments

Reader123 December 2, 2023 - 9:08 pm

Shocking lack of oversight in schools?! Not good, kids need safe places to learn!

Reply
ConcernedCitizen22 December 3, 2023 - 3:29 pm

OMG, how did this happen?!! So sad for those students & parents.

Reply

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