Fan Friday—Let’s Talk about Protesting

A lot of protesting in the news the last few years, like Ferguson and Baltimore, the Bundy stand-off; just to name two. And people can argue both sides, all day long. I’ve talked about Ferguson, particularly since it’s so close to me, and I’ve tried to be fair and to boil things down to the facts themselves without emotion.

I haven’t really looked into the Bundy situation—people, again, argue both sides and it’s hard for me to know where the truth lies. I draw the line, however, at making fun of anyone protesting, anyone who believes, in their hearts, that they’re right.

Notice I said the protestors, not the armchair gurus. They’re fair game.

The other night, a friend called me, absolutely beside herself and very angry over the treatment of a another individual whom she knows well. I do not know this person, but I DO know my friend and have known her for 46 years—in case you’re doing the math, we met when I was six and she was seven. In spite of distance, we’ve been very close all these years.

What her story boiled down to is this:

During the 2014-15 school year, my friend M and her family hosted a Chinese exchange student who attended the same Christian school as their own children. In December 2014, the student’s mother decided that her son was doing well, so she contacted the school, Veritas Christian Academy in Virginia, and asked about re-enrollment the following year, 2015-16, or this current school year.

Typically, student tuition is paid here on a monthly basis; the mother was told she had to pay the full amount upfront, in December 2014, for a school year that wouldn’t begin for nine months: $13,000.00. There was no enrollment fee or placeholder fee, just tuition, immediately. After some back-and-forth, she agreed to do so and wired the money.

In April 2015, last spring, she discovered that she had obtained a post-doc medical research position in Wisconsin, and naturally, since she would now be coming to the same country as her son, wanted him to live with her. She contacted the school and asked for a tuition refund.

The headmaster refused.

Now, I could speculate on his reasons: financial difficulties for the school, past and present; costly school expansion; perhaps others.

The mother kept asking for a refund; M discovered what was happening, and she and her husband spoke with the mother, reviewed correspondence, and soon others were coming forward to discuss the matter with them, as the headmaster himself had begun to speak about the situation.

He accused the mother of blackmail, simply because her situation had changed and she’d asked for a refund for a product, if you will, that hadn’t been delivered and would not be delivered for nearly five more months. He also told her that if she spoke to anyone, he would file suit against her for this supposed blackmail.

Finally, he agreed to reimburse her at the rate of $1,000.00 per month—and option he never gave her in the first place—beginning in August 2015.

She received a check that month, for $1000.00.

And not a dime since then.

THIS is why people are angry and upset. THIS is why I posted about it on my Facebook page the other day. Because THIS is wrong, on so many levels.

If you know me, if you trust me, you know I would not make up something like this just for funsies. Yes, I did call for those who were so inclined to leave a review on the school’s FB page; if you heard of any business who treated a client or customer so poorly, would you not speak up?

I did. And within minutes of my post, the school hid all their reviews from the public. I don’t know how many of you posted reviews, it doesn’t matter. They were horribly skewed in the first place, since most posters had the same surname as the headmaster.

M and her husband had recently reviewed it as well, and were subsequently blocked from the page. Others may be too, as all the kids in the high school program left and did not return this year.

Non-Christians often complain about Christians who exhibit less-than-stellar behavior. Christians, however, do not have a market on good behavior—we are all sinners, after all. But publicly demonstrating non-Christian values on a consistent basis, as this headmaster has done, does not make for a good witness.

I will add that this school is for-profit business, and of course, they can conduct that business however they wish. But to do it in God’s name is simply wrong. That is the crux of the matter.

I’ve had experience with this very situation, years ago. My kids attended a Christian school, albeit non-profit, and I had enrolled them for the following year. In June, we decided to move out-of-state and we informed the school. The school initially required that we continue to make monthly tuition payments, even though the new year hadn’t begun and our boys would be educated in another state, hundreds of miles away.

They even mentioned a lawsuit.

Without going into detail, I prevailed. It was wrong for them to require payment. Period. Just as withholding the refund is wrong of Veritas Christian Academy.

Some people will contend that it was wrong of me to ask others to review the school. Or to talk about the situation. Or ostensibly condemn the headmaster and school. Maybe it was. I’m not perfect. But I do know wrong from right and I felt the need to speak up.

We’ve all heard about sock puppet book reviews and we’ve all read articles about restaurants and other businesses who are slammed with bad reviews for no reason or for bogus reasons, and you can compare that to this without the religious component if you wish.

But Christianity is at the heart of this situation. The headmaster was approached privately, with witnesses, and now this has escalated to public censure. Sometimes, I simply shake my head and wonder how man can be so clueless . . .