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Sam, Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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Hi, Im a student at a private cosmetology school in Memphis,

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Hi, I'm a student at a private cosmetology school in Memphis, TN and at 10:30 am was suspended by the owner for a day (and also do not recieve credit for the hour and a half I was present) because my desk was not properly cleaned when it was inspected this morning. I reiterated to the director of education (she's like the principal/head instructor, and is notorious for her passive-agressive, dry humored, brown-nosing mannerisms) that I was not guilty, but she insisted that it was a act since it appeared that I was guilty, and also that it was between my teacher and I so don't try to place her (director of ed.) into the middle (although the owner is who kicked me out). My teacher expressed at that time that she was only following orders, not that she agreed with the decision. I was told by the director of education that the owner would not be willing to talk to me. All of this transpired today, three days after I filled out a student satisaction survey in which I ever so professionally but frankly expressed that I would not consider reccommending students to their institution because of the lack of consistency and coherency in their disciplinary process, the poorly structured lesson plan that's supposed to provide us students with useful, relavant, information that we can use in the future (and will be tested on), and the lack of provision of all information that can make this experience more fluid and comortable for students. I expressed that I feel unimportant as a student, and it is embarrassing for our clients to express their distaste in the impersonal and unprofessional attitudes of the staffmembers, including the director of education; we students share their sentiments. I went on to express that the quality of education and materials are sub-par, and that the "future students" information that they made available on their website mislead me into selecting their institutution to pursue my manicuring license. I started school 1/14/13 thinking that my tuition would be $6,488 and the course would be 4.5 months long. When I began on my first day, I learned that my costs were approximately $800 (eight hundred) more and my estimated end date was instead approximately 5 months (from 1/14-6/06/13). I ended my comments with, "I relied on that info in my selection of this school and immediately reaized the inconvenience that had been caused. Since then, various events and speculations have further reiterated to me that I did not choose the thoroughly educational and professional cosmetology school that you all so charmingly boasted on your website. I do appreciate the opportunity to offer feedback. Thank you." I would like to add that I am a 23 year old, Afro-Cuban American from Detroit, MI from a working class, college-educated family with middle-class principles. I will complete my Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Memphis next month. (My focuses are American history, cultural anthropogy, miration and health, culture of sexuality and childbirth/-rearing, environmental anthropology, and neihborhood redevelopment/social entrepreneurship.) I personally feel I am to the Tenneseean Caucasians whose cosmetology school I attend what very intelligent, clever African-Americans like Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, and Sojourner Truth were to their enemies. I feel they are threatened by my assertiveness and wisdom, and they are, to a degree, discriminating against me by sabotaging my contracted schedule with them (because still attending past scheduled contracted date costs $9 per extra hour) and singling me out to make an example of me because they disliked my comments. I did not leave a mess on my table and I should not have been penalized without a "fair trial." I have yet to be followed-up with about my survey comments, but, interestinly, the time was taken to penalize me for something that could not be proven, and that I maintain my innocence of. This school has a reputation among recent alumni, junior staff members/student instructors, and most students that I have become acquainted with to have a pattern of "setting up" students to owe more money (they pass out suspensions/write-ups for miniscule incidents very often), pressuring "good, friendly" teachers to write-up and suspend students more, and of having impersonal, superior, pretentious attitudes. I am not alone in my "plight" at this school, and will soon become one of a handful of students that I know have filed a complaint with the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences. I will add that it is apparent by the characteristics that a large majority of the African-Americans who attend there make it easy for the Caucasian owners to generalize and categorize us all, so I understand that I may be a target because unlike many of my counterparts, I'm not lazy, underperforming, or elsewhere conducive to them making more money off of my attending there, but that does not exclude me from just treatment or a fufilling education.

I am sorry that you are enduring this situation. I am the Legal Professional who will be providing information for you in this regard

Please help me to break this down so that I can provide the true and most accurate information for you

Does the school have written policy on what the process is when a student is "written up" or penalized for having a dirty table or other infractions?

Do you know if other students have had these situations and if that policy has been followed ?

Are they deviating from the policy with you - for instance, you state that you did not get a "fair trial" Is a hearing a part of the policy proceedings in these situations as per the written policy, if you know?

Please tell me a little more specifically what is the question that I can answer and provide information to you on.

Thank you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.

1. The student handbook says: Students are expected to clean up after themselves and to keep their work area sanitary at all times. These duties must be completed and verified by an instructor. Failure to comply with an instructor'

s assignment/duty will result in a written reprimand. Habitual write-ups on sanitation duties will result in a suspension a/o termination. The word of an instructor in charge is final in all decisions.


2. I do not know of any other students in a similar situation, but the director of instruction did admit that as the owner inspected the desks, he found residue on all of them. Here, I'd like to add that the desks are made of stone, but are not finished with a quality seal, and we are provided with cheap cleaning agents like Windex, bleach, and incorrectly proportioned barbicide disinfectant to clean our tables with. With the desks being porous, these chemicals are obviously gradually eating at the surfaces, so cleaning them is detrimental anyway. Also, during my suspension, I told the director of education that there were new spots on my desk as of this morning when I had arrived, but since it was my desk, I was solely responsible.


3. I used "fair trial" as a metaphor, my apologies. The stated disciplinary process is "it will be the sole discretion f the instructor in charge at the time and or/owner as to what constitutes a violation." The director of education and student handbook reiterate that all disciplinary action is carried out at the discretion of whoever is in charge, or whoever has the most authority and wants to handle it, really. The owners pressure the director, and she in turn pressures her staff to penalize students as often as possible. I only meant that I was sent home without discussion and with no opportunity to defend myself directly to the owner. The director refused to discuss it further to keep herself "out of the middle." I only went to her because she was the next authority figure above my teacher and below the owner. I thought it was appropriate to address her before the owner.


I want to know if there is any recourse available to me to make them give me the hours I actually earned today. Also, are they truly allowed to run the school however they want, however unjust? I feel it is a power-trip, and I certainly dont deserve my penalty, or to have wasted useful time, energy, and resources to have made an empty trip. Thank you.


Thank you for taking the time to answer my info request so I can provide you the most accurate, true and correct information

First, let me preface with if this school gets any type of Federal money then you may have a discrimination matter because only if they get federal funds will those laws apply.

Now with that being said, the following is true and correct

1 - If you have not had habitual write ups then this incident should not have resulted in a suspension of any sort. Therefore, they have disregarded their written policy and this may be a matter of discrimination. You will need to see if they get federal funds. I suggest you can ascertain that by their financial aid programs that are available. If they are allowing financial aid and not with private loans, but say via Sallie Mae, then the school is getting federal tax dollars.

This is what it is going to boil down to - are they discriminating by not following policy and if yes, then I suggest you file a complaint with your local ACLU

I do suggest that you can go to the Director of the school and tell them that you feel there is discrimination because of not following policy and that you want your hour that you were there or you are filing the complaint.

Remember, I can only answer and provide true and correct information for what you ask. I look forward to a follow up or your Good to Excellent rating.

Thank you and good luck
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