U.S. Department of State (Removed most identifiers 4 Aug 2016)
Dear Sirs and Madams,
We have previously sent a complaint about Forte International Exchange Association’s (FIEA) mistreatment of our son M. We have not hear much from the State Department and nothing from either FIEA or our national exchange company Into Education Ltd. (Norway) (IEL). As a reminder of our case and a desire to see FIEA having to face the consequences of letting one of their representatives (in the form of Becky Sanderson) have free rein, we are sending this mail stating how we see the rule-breaking of FIEA and IEL.
Our son, M, paid for a service. This service was based on the idea that the exchange organisations would follow the laws of the land regarding the exchange industry. As we see it, FIEA has broken several of the regulations set forth in 22 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Section 62.25. I assume all of you are aware of the contents of this regulation and am, therefore, not including the whole thing in this mail. The link to it is: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2012-title22-vol1/pdf/CFR-2012-title22-vol1-sec62-25.pdf
I am unable to comment on the training of FIEA’s and IEL’s representatives or their standing with their respective governments. FIEA did receive a «Letter of Reprimand» on 23rd November 2010 where they were placed on «Probation» for one year and were informed that they needed to implement a «Corrective Action Plan» that would «improve their program administration». My understanding is that this is because their representatives had not done a good enough job in choosing host families.
Today, one of those representatives would have been Becky Sanderson. She does, after all, have 45 complaints lodged against her at the State Department. Unfortunately for our son, she was the representative that ended up taking charge of him. Since 2006 Becky Sanderson has worked for F.L.A.G., AYUSA, DM Discoveries and now FIEA. It seems this would make her what is called a floating representative. She herself has hosted a great many students. In an article from the time she was with DM Discoveries (2007) she states that she had hosted more than 40 exchange students the previous 15 years (http://www.myssnews.com/news/2007/December/nt122107flavor.html). This is in clear breach of §62.25 (d.10.i), (d.15) and (l.1.ii). She has continued this practice since coming to work for FIEA – a fact that was witnessed by our son at a meeting with Becky Sanderson.
Becky Sanderson told Christine Lovell to approve of Ray and Becky Lindsey in spite of Christine’s protest that they were not ready to be a host-family.
Our M was provided with a phone card that only listed the home office number of Forte and the insurance company (g.6). A D of S number was not on it. We have a copy of said phone card.
M’s second family had not even been visited. The person that found the home for M had not even been inside the house. We as parents were not provided with adequate information about the move. When M was later told by the host-mom that he was too expensive to host, that his vegetarianism was a problem and that his views were incompatible with their own FIEA were in breach of (j.1, j.2, j.3, j.4, j.6, j.7). The family had obviously not received adequate orientation about the role of a host-parent which is in breach of (k.1, k.4). There is not way there could have been time for all of the requirement in the three days it took from discovering xxxx and xxxxxxxxxxx to M moving in with them. This means that FIEA could not have fulfilled their responsibility under (d.9).
The temporary family that M moved in with already hosted two exchange students. M stayed with them for about 10 days. This is in breach of (l.1.ii). Forte had somehow rationalised that giving themselves a dispensation from the rule about staying only 2 nights was OK.
FIEA and IEL claim that all rules and regulations have been followed and they admit 0% responsibility for the decision to send Mikkel back to Norway. They have placed all blame on Mikkel, as if a 17-year old boy would know enough Department of State rules and regulations and contract law to be able to follow the labyrinthian thinking of FIEA and IEL.
IEL (Norway) did offer M one thing. He could go to Canada if he forked out another NOK 120.000. This would bring his basic expenses to NOK 180.000. Not really a good deal at all, even if it meant that IEL were foregoing their own expenses in sending him there.
As we see it, FIEA and IEL did not intend to follow through on their obligations once Becky Sanderson discovered M was a thorn in her shoes, one that did not accept the treatment she was dishing out of the lies that were told about him. Thank God M had adult friends in Mena outside the FIEA/IEL world that knew the needs of a 17-year old boy.
The boy we sent out has come back a completely different person. The abuse doled out by Becky Sanderson and xxxxxxxx and the xxxxxx is something no exchange student should be expected to have to endure. M made mistakes, but what happened to him goes far beyond anything he could even dream up.
Please do something about this situation. Exchange students coming to the US need to feel safe, not used and abused.