Stikkordarkiv: #BeckySanderson

Complaint to the US Department of State re. rule-breaking

Subject: Forte International Exchange Association/Into Education Ltd. (Norway) – rule-breaking – Becky Sanderson

From: Parent

Date: Sat, June 08, 2013 2:56 am

To: AlexanderJT@state.gov, Stockjs@state.gov, Lernerrj@state.gov, DickersonEB@state.gov, GearySA@state.gov, AmmarMG@state.gov, hawkinsks@state.gov, erelija@state.gov, ParsleyTR@state.gov

Cc:

U.S. Department of State

Ms. Ann Stock
Mr. James Alexander
Ms. Robin Lerner
Ms. Elizabeth Dickerson
Ms. Susan Geary
Ms. Maha Ammar
Ms. Karen Hawkins
Mr. Travis Parsley
Mr. Joseph Ereli

 

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I find that it is time to comment on Forte International Exchange Association’s (FIEA) last response to our attempt to address their claims about our son, xxxx.

I suppose both FIEA and the US Department of State are just waiting for us to go away and shut up. That is certainly the impression we get from the continued appearence of Becky Sanderson in the ranks of FIEA – not to mention the fact that she is allowed to continue within the exchange industry at all. Another thing that we have acknowledged is that we simply cannot afford the fees of US attorneys or the fact that we will end up with a word-against-word situation for the most part. But some things are not word-against-word.

The US Department of State cannot escape the fact that FIEA placed our son in homes that were not qualified for foreign exchange students at the time. FIEA broke the regulations on several points and Becky Sanderson and Christine Lovell were both responsible for putting our son through a situation where the host families did not have a clue as to his qualities as a person – in spite of letters being provided for potential host families.

On October 17, 2012 FIEA sent a mail responding to «the comments made by the Almenningen family regarding the dismissal  notice of their son, xxxx.»

We had claimed that: «Living with xxxxxx was a temporary measure. They were not allowed another exchange student, but would gladly have taken xxxx in if they could have. As recently as October 8, xxxxx repeated this to me. She would like to have him back in her home for a visit if he could possibly come back to Mena. Her teen-age girls like him and they wished he could have stayed. xxxxx has, in fact, served the function the local representative should have had.»

To which FIEA responded: «The temporary host family, xxxxx, had no intention of continuing to host xxxx. This is evident in the email xxxxx sent to our office. In the letter, it states that all members of the xxxxx family, except xxxxx, could not tolerate xxxx. In fact, all three host families who welcomed xxxx into their home had difficulty getting along with the student and eventually could not make it work.»

This mail from xxxxx is in the hands of Mr. Alexander. I cannot say if these were the feelings of xxxxx’s family. All I know is that xxxxx told me what she did on the phone. Whether she was lying in the letter to FIEA or to me is something I cannot know. As I have shown before in mails below there is the statement from xxxxx to us regarding FIEA’s pressuring the host-families. Whether this holds true for xxxxx as well is unknown. What is known is Becky Sanderson’s repeated behavior toward other foreign exchange students and host-families. The US State Department has at least 45 complaints regarding Ms. Sanderson and some of these include pressuring and creating conflict between host-family and exchange student (ref. CSFES USA).

FIEA also claimed that: «Our local representatives or area directors would never threaten, ridicule or ever tell a student to «shut up». The writings of Becky Sanderson through text messages were firm and tried to explain the situation at hand to xxxx.» Once again I refer to Becky Sanderson’s track record.

Another claim by FIEA is: «xxxx is not the only Norweigian student who is currently participating in the exchange program. And none of our other students from Norway have exhibited some of the mannerisms which have been conducted by xxxx: shooting himself in the head with his finger or saying he is depressed, but meant “deprimert” or” deppa”. Forte admits an exchange student will have a transition period where the student battles with cultural shock. However, the character traits exhibited by xxxx, coupled with his inability to get along with three different host families, are something more than just not being able to acclimate to a new surrounding.»

This has been addressed in previous mails (see below). I will repeat that in no sense did xxxx appear suicidal while living in the US. Why Becky Sanderson would say such a horrid thing, one that frightened us as parents thoroughly, is beyond belief. That she would, while M was supposed to be suicidal, behave in a manner displayed in the copy of an sms conversation between herself and my son along with the things she repeatedly told him in phone conversations is also incomprehensible.

FIEA’s final statement dismissing xxxx: «Forte stands by our decision for xxxx’s early dismissal from the exchange program. As stated in the dismissal letter, due to his mental stability, admittance to depression, and thoughts of suicide, we felt it was in his best interest to return back to Norway. xxxx even wrote in a text message to Ms. Sanderson he was willing to seek professional help in the States. Forte took this to mean he admitted to being depressed. To ask our host family to host a student who is depressed is asking for too much, and a burden which they should not be have to endure. That is why the decision was made to send him home early. In addition, xxxx’s behavior also played a role in his dismissal as it lead to him being removed from multiple host families.»

This is the wording in the sms FIEA are referring to:

«Becky:

The agency contacted your parents. You’ve been in 3 homes and still not happy. You need to get some professional help when you get home.

xxxx:

I was really happy when I lived with the xxxxx I have no complaints to make about them.

I don’t think this is the right thing to do. I’ve been depressed before, but to quit has never helped. I have never said that I was unhappy in my second home. I’ve never said I wanted to return to Norway!

I can get professional help here as well.

Texting is better than talking at the moment. (She tried to call me, xxxx.) »

With regards to claims about xxxx’s behavior we have his word against FIEA’s. Considering the history of FIEA and Becky Sanderson, I have no doubt as to which version I am more inclined to believe. It does appear as though the US State Department feels differently.

I believe we have tried to be as open about matters as we could have been. I also believe that we have addressed the breaches of regulations in a concise manner. There is also the fact that Becky Sanderson has a track record that ought to make any parent afraid to let her near their children. Both she and FIEA deserve a slap and xxxx certainly deserves an apology for the way he has been treated.

Sincerely

xxxx
cc:

  • CSIET
  • Mr. Chris Page
  • Ms. Lindsay Poehlman
  • FIEA
  • Ms. Diana Latvala
  • Ms. Ava Chen
  • Into Education Ltd.
  • Mr. John Douglas Fisher
  • Ms. Constanze Fisher
  • Into Education Ltd. (Norway)
  • Ms. Marit Åsenden
  • CSFES USA
  • Ms. Danielle Grijalva
  • xxxx
  • xxxx

Edited on July 16, 2016 removing names of non-professionals

2013 May: FIEAs «Termination Letter»

U.S. Department of State
… (I have removed identifiers for minors)

Dear Sirs and Madams,

We have previously sent a complaint about Forte International Exchange Association’s (FIEA) mistreatment of our son M (2012 Oct 19). We have also sent a mail regarding the way FIEA have broken the regulations set by the State Department (2013 Jan 26).

We wish to illustrate the many lies told by FIEA about M through some of the claims made in their Termination Letter. FIEA’s claims are in cursive.

After this incident, the current host family, the :::::, were afraid for M to be around their children as he began acting “weird.” M had been accused of putting paint in the children’s hair, kicking the children, pushing them, and ordering the host parents to clean and vacuum.

When it comes to the accusations of putting paint in the children’s hair, both M and the two teen-age girls painted each other’s hair at the theater where M ended up having to spend all of his afternoons and week-ends so he would not have to stay in the Moe house alone. At the time, both girls laughed at the idea that M had done something bad.

M does not have any memory of kicking anyone. The only thing he could even remotely link to this statement would be when he managed to step on some toes while hugging the girls.

M did suggest that they could all clean the house – there was great need. When the host-parents told him no, he suggested that he, himself, clean it. They bluntly refused him. So M did the best he could and cleaned his own room.

The most upsetting action done by M was in front of his host siblings, where he would put his finger to his head like a gun and act like he was shooting  himself. 

Maggie Simpson illustrates our point about the ridiculousness of this statement perfectly: Watch 5:30-6:00 http://gorillavid.in/x59mdffkr1ge

During one occasion on the way home from school, M asked his host dad, Malcolm, if Malcolm ever had dark thoughts. Malcolm questioned M what he meant by “dark thoughts”, but M said he couldn’t tell him because of Malcolm’s response. There was another incident where M saw a posting on Facebook about suicide and made the comment of “if you are going to commit suicide, you don’t talk about it, you don’t say anything, you just do it.”

All of these lies make me angry. I cannot believe how untruthful FIEA have been. This last claim is a perfect example. See below facebook conversation:

September 20

:::::: ok im ready to die but i caint pull the triger whow wants to do it for me”

:::::: “wow, i thought i had it bad. life cant be that hard… can it?”

“(Mike’s comment): (name) you have one of the kindest hearts I know and you have an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people around you. You should watch Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington. Great movie. God bless!”

:::::: “Spelling!”

:::::: “hey (name)? i aint seen u in a while, but i would like to, so don’t do anything drastic.”

::::::: “Let’s have a little talk tonight! I have enough dead people in my cast an yyou aren’t supposed to be one of ’em!

::::::: “don’t do it”

(M’s comment): “i know that this is a despirate kry for help. i also know that you are not going to do that. because the people who take their own life do it without telling anyone about it. talk to me if you want to compare storryes or lifes. you or i will find out that our life is not that hard.”

(M’s comment): “i just talked to him. (name) what the hell is wrong with you. this is not something you are kidding about. i was woried. delite this post imidiately! sent from the crossing.”

M had phoned his friend (name withheld for privacy reasons) to see if they could talk about what was bothering his friend. That was when he discovered that his friend had been kidding.

For one think Mike – the host-father – was part of the facebook conversation (see above). Whether he or Becky Sanderson were lying about this event, is irrelevant to me. I tend to think that with her track-record, it is Becky who is the guilty one. The way FIEA misrepresent so completely what happened is both cruel and self-serving.

Whenever a student expresses such signs of abnormal behavior, Forte takes it very seriously. Which is why our area director, Becky Sanderson, called M and had a conversation with him on whether or not he was depressed. M did open up to Becky and said he was depressed and had suicidal thoughts. M also admitted he needed help. After that conversation, Becky felt M would be a danger to himself and was showing signs of mental illness and needed professional help. At the same time, the host parents felt M would be dangerous around their children and would either hurt himself or their children. The :::::: family no longer feels comfortable with having M in their home.

I have no doubt M was a little depressed by this time. But at no time did he, himself, express suicidal thoughts. This was one of the things Forte tried to get his families to sign off on, but did not succeed despite pressuring them. See below facemails from :::::: – first host-father:

10/15-2012: Conversation between M and ::::::

::::::: Everything you are doing to fight this company is causing drama for the families here that may or may not care about you. We are being asked to sign something that says Forte did not take you out of a home that wanted you there. I have not read the actual paper yet, so I do not know if what it says is true enough for me to sign. I do know this…yes, we wanted you to stay. Forte did not make the decision to take you from this home that wanted you. You, yourself wanted to leave a home that wanted you. And while that is perfectly okay to want to leave somewhere, it somewhat defeats you’re argument that the company treated you wrong by pulling you out of homes. You also did it yourself, and had your reasons. I don’t know all that happened with other families, but if the company made the decision for you to leave their homes, I’m certain they had their reasons just as you did when you decided to leave our home. I’m not going to lie for you or for the company or for anyone. I guess is what I am trying to say is fight the company if you want, but could you leave me out of it somehow and quit causing us drama? I see the good in everyone, and you’re not a bad guy, but I am starting to regret that we let you come stay with us.

And :::::: continues on 10/16-2012

::::::: Forte is trying to get me to make written statements about anything that will help them with their case. I don’t like what they are doing or what you are doing as I am getting stuck in the middle. I wasn’t trying to be mean M. I was even told not to talk to you at all. I just had to state that for the record. I will be honest and say this…I don’t trust Forte and I don’t trust you. I don’t hand out trust easily, and I know how one can keep enemies close for certain reasons. I did not tell them you wanted to kill yourself fyi. They have tried to get me to make statements against you and I refused. I wrote something that would not help them or you and shouldn’t have hurt either, but apparently they believe if it won’t help them win they can leave out certain truths. I just want out of it, but I had to tell you that for record purposes. I’m sorry if anything I have to do hurts you, but it can’t always be helped.

After discussion among management at Forte, due to M’s current mental stability, admittance to depression, and thoughts of suicide, we feel he should be dismissed early from the exchange program to seek professional, psychological help in his home country with his natural parents. Forte cannot shoulder that burden onto our host family to endure. Although our host families agree to host our exchange students, they should not have to deal with the effects of what depression does to a teenager.

Forte have behaved despicably throughout M’s stay. How he could have been placed with the families that he was and how on earth FIEA could possibly keep on letting Becky Sanderson get her claws into kids who are supposed to get a good impression of the US is unbelievable. Why has she not been held responsible for her actions? Into Education are no better for having supported FIEA through the whole process. Amazing that companies that claim to keep our children safe do such a poor job of it.

Please do something about this situation. Exchange students coming to the US need to feel safe, not used and abused.

Sincerely

Lise Lotte and Jonny Almenningen

CSIET
Mr. Chris Page
Ms. Lindsay Poehlman

FIEA
Ms. Diana Latvala
Ms. Ava Chen

Into Education Ltd.
Mr. John Douglas Fisher
Ms. Constanze Fisher

Into Education Ltd. (Norway)
Ms. Marit Åsenden

CSFES USA
Ms. Danielle Grijalva

….
Jonny Almenningen

2013 Jan 06: FIEA/Into Education (Norway) – rule-breaking – Becky Sanderson

U.S. Department of State (Removed most identifiers 4 Aug 2016)
Div

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.
http://j1visa.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/sanction-cases.pdf

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.

Sincerely
parents

CC: Div

Er dette et overgrep?

Igjen ønsker jeg å være tydelig på at de fleste ungdommer som reiser på utvekslingstur har greie opphold. De heldige har strålende opphold. Er man uheldig ender man opp med vanskelige og triste erfaringer – noen av dem ganske forferdelige. De sistnevnte elevene, spesifikt min utvekslingselev, er årsaken til at denne bloggen ble stiftet.

Min utvekslingselev reiste ut høsten 2012. Den norske organisasjonen var Into Education og den som var borte i USA var Forte International Exchange Association (FIEA).

Høsten 2012 hørte jeg om 10 saker fra to ulike utvekslingsbyråer. Sakene handlet om alt fra det å havne midt i en krangel mellom vertsforeldre og representant og det å havne i forferdelige boliger med forferdelige vertsforeldre. Etter det har det blitt mange fler saker og noen av dem av særdeles alvorlig art.

Den første familien mitt barn havnet hos så i utgangspunktet greie nok ut. Vi fikk vite om dem to dager før avreise og skolen i USA hadde allerede begynt. Vi visste at eleven vår kom til å havne i bibelbeltet, at familien hadde små barn og noen dyr og at hjemmet deres så ganske spartansk ut. Poden dro avgårde.

Familien var merkelig. Vertsmoren turte nesten ikke prate med utvekslingselevene. Selv om M forsøkte, virket hun ganske forskremt. Vertsfaren hadde store humørsvingninger.

Overgrep handler om maktmisbruk. En som har makt utnytter en svakere parts posisjon til egen fordel. Dette gjøres på forskjellige vis. Når det gjelder podens vertsfar var det sånn at om ting gikk hans vei var han ganske grei, men om man protesterte viste han en helt annen side. Da kom han med merkelige beskyldninger. En venn av moren hjalp gutta med innskriving i skolen og hverdagslige ting. Vertsfar kom med trusler mot henne og gutta og de kunne ikke lenger være sammen.

M ba om å bli flyttet og forklarte representanten sin noe av situasjonen. Etterpå informerte han vertsfar om beslutningen og det virket som om vertsfar tok det greit.

Da representanten kom for å snakke med poden og vertsforeldrene ble hun servert en rekke løgner som ikke hadde noe som helst basis i virkeligheten. Den alvorligste var det at M skulle være til fare for barna (småjenter). Han ble umiddelbart fjernet fra hjemmet på grunn av dette.

Da vi ble informert hadde hele saken gått via områderepresentanten i Texas og hovedkontoret i Virginia. Deretter ble det filtrert av Into og vi fikk beskjed om at gutten vår:

  • Ikke hadde pakket ut sakene sine
  • Hadde truet barna
  • Ikke ville prate med familien og delta sosialt
  • Var kranglete

Han skulle få en sjanse til. Det var det. Poden hadde ingen aning om alt han var blitt beskyldt for. Sjokket var stort da vi tok opp saken med ham. Men han hadde fått beskjed om å bare snakke på engelsk med oss og at han ikke fikk snakke mye, så da fikk vi ikke klarhet i saken. I tillegg følte han seg sviktet av måten vi presenterte saken på. Heldigvis hadde han en person han følte han kunne stole på i USA. Alt dette satte poden i en ekstremt sårbar og ensom situasjon, noe som gjorde alt utrolig enkelt for nestemann som kom på banen.

Alt dette skjedde de første ti dagene til M.

Så traff poden Becky Sanderson fra FIEA. Samme høst hadde sakene til 5 elever (ved tillegg til Ms) som hun har ansvaret for havnet hos CSFES i USA. 45 klagesaker mot henne lå inne for State Department. Forte å ignorerte problemet.

Into Education Ltd. i Norge begynte nå å motta klager på M flere ganger i løpet av uka. M fikk beskjed av BS, lokalrepresentanten og den nye vertsfamilien om at han gjorde ALT galt.

Dette er tredje overgrepsverktøyet. Man skal ikke bare skape forvirring om situasjonen og frykt hos eleven, man skal samtidig gjøre eleven usikker på seg selv og sin egenverd. Tillitspersoner, som han egentlig burde kunne stole på, gjorde narr av ham.

Masse kjeft, beskyldninger, løgner om oss, trusler, forvirring, mobbing og en fullstendig mangel på støtte fra FIEA og Into Education Ltd. Det som reddet oppholdet til M og gjorde at han fortsatt ville bli der var skolen og vennene utenom skolen. I sakene jeg har vært borti er det skolen som i veldig mange tilfeller redder elevene fra å knekke helt sammen.

M ble sendt hjem i begynnelsen av oktober med beskyldninger om å være farlig for barn og suisidal. Han skjønte ingenting. Vi skjønte ingenting. Ikke hadde vi tid til å kjempe imot heller. I ettertid viser det seg at denne korte tidsfristen er et svært vanlig verktøy for industrien. Eleven og foreldrene får beskjed rett før helgen om at utvekslingseleven reiser i løpet av få dager.

Dette er også en del av overgreps-/maktmisbruks syklusen. Offeret og dets forkjempere skal ikke få anledning til å forsvare seg og overgriperen nekter blankt for at de har gjort noe galt.

Han kom hjem som helt annerledes enn den glade gutten han reiste ut som. Vår ekstremt sosiale, taleferdige, glade og optimistiske gutt lukket seg inn i seg selv og var trist og sint for det som har skjedd.

Denne formen for overgrep ser ut til å være den flest utvekslingselever blir utsatt for. De fratas muligheter for å kontakte foreldrene sine, de tros ikke av hjemlandets representanter og foreldrene går med en forståelse om at ting er langt bedre enn de egentlig er.


Seksuelle overgrep 1: Grooming

Seksuelle overgrep 2: Definere og eksemplifisere

Seksuelle overgrep 3: Hvor henvender man seg?


Omskrevet 2015 Mai 19. Fjernet mindreåriges navn.