Dover academy ordered to stop offering diplomas

Officials say that following consumer complaints, an investigation by the Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit and a reported lack of response to investigative demands, a state Superior Court judge has held the Bright Rock Christian Academy and its principals in contempt and ordered the organization to stop soliciting, offering, charging for, or trying to offer or charge for diploma or education services in Delaware until it follows with investigative demands.

Bright Rock has operated under various names since about 2006 including:
•    Bertha E. Roach Academy
•    Bertha Roach Christian High School
•    Bertha Roach Christian School
•    Bertha Elizabeth Roach Christian School
•    B.E.R. Academy
•    B.E.R. Christian High School
•    Bright Rock Christian Academy
•    The Enlighten Center

Bright Rock's principals reportedly include Clifton Maurice Pettyjohn, Derone L. Daniels, Ira D. Roach III, Charmagne R. Quarles (Reya Quarles), and Sonya Yvette Harris.

In the summer of 2016, C.P.U. says that they received complaints from former students of Bright Rock and its affiliates that high school diplomas received from those organizations were not accepted by employers or institutions of higher education.

The Consumer Protection Unit (C.P.U.) began an investigation in August of last year and served Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates with a subpoena, which Bright Rock allegedly ignored. CPU then got a Civil Investigative Demand (C.I.D) from the Superior Court in April.

Officials say that Bright Rock produced an empty, incomplete and untimely response to the C.I.D, after which CPU asked the Superior Court for relief to make sure that Bright Rock and its principals and affiliates properly follow their efforts to further investigate the matter.

On August 4, the Superior Court issued an order finding Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates in contempt for not responding properly and fully to the C.I.D. The order enjoins Bright Rock, its principals, and affiliates from soliciting, offering, charging for, or try to offer or charge for diploma or education services in Delaware, suspends their corporate charter and enjoins them from organizing in any form for the purpose of rendering diploma or education services in Delaware, and reviews fines and penalties.

The injunctions and sanctions are in place until Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates come into compliance with the C.I.D. The matter was handled for CPU by Assistant Director Gillian Andrews and Chief Special Investigator Alan Rachko.

Any resident who wants to get a high school education or other education credential should be sure that the organization or institution they select is legitimate and that the degree, certification, or other credential they get will be accepted by the employer or educational institution they want admission to.

The following are some tips from the Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit to check the legitimacy of non-public K-12 education services in Delaware:
•    Look up the nonpublic education organization to see what accreditations or certifications the school has including information provided by the U.S. Department of Education;
•    Find out if the nonpublic school has a location or if it is an online learning organization—online schools will have different accreditations and standards that may not qualify its students for certain employment or higher education;
•    Look up the nonpublic school's curriculum, and how academic performance is reviewed and results reported—legitimate schools may have routine exams and will report a student's performance in a consistent manner;
•    An organization or nonpublic school that guarantees a diploma or certificate for a large fee and little, if any, actual academic performance could be a scam and are cautioned against;
•    A legitimate nonpublic school will make its students perform academically and will have consistent means of testing that performance through routine exams or practicums;
•    Ask the organization or nonpublic school for information on their alumni status such as top employers or institutions of higher learning that their graduates have been admitted to;
•    Ask the employer or institution of higher learning you seek admission to whether a diplomas or certificate from that school will be accepted; and
•    Officials say that The Delaware Department of Education does not endorse, accredit, approve or monitor curriculum for any nonpublic school, or validate any type of credential provided by those schools.

Consumers who believe that they have been scammed can call the Attorney General's toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or email the Consumer Protection Unit of DOJ at consumer.protection@state.de.us. If the school was an online learning institution, the consumer should also file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, here.

Categories: Delaware, Education, Local News

More: