Parents Say S. Fla. Charter School Doubles As Nightclub
MIAMI (CBS4) – The attorney for a Miami-Dade charter school is promising a thorough investigation after complaints that the school has turned into a nightclub on weekends with wild, alcohol-involved parties.
One such party from Saturday, August 6th titled “Lexus Dave Video Bash” is featured on YouTube and shows young men and women at the festive event. The address of that party is listed as the same location as the Balere Language Academy at 10875 Quail Roost Drive, a school for children from kindergarten through 8th grade.
Neighbors complained to the Miami-Dade school district that this was one of two such parties at the school last month.
Two flyers promote another party that is scheduled for Saturday, September 3rd.
One flyer shows a woman in a bikini with champagne bottles. Another shows a bikini-clad woman in a suggestive pose by a smiling man wearing expensive jewelry and sitting by a pile of cash.
“Actually everything bothers me about it, “ said neighbor Albert Figueroa. ”It’s completely wrong. The situation here in this neighborhood is getting worse by the day. I am very concerned about it. I would like to see the police investigate.”
“I’d pretty much like to see it not happening at all,” said neighbor Felix Guzman. “My concern is that they’re having a party in a language arts center that is trying to educate kids. There are two different churches that lease the school on weekends. And when people come in on weekends, they smell smoke and see empty beer and other alcohol bottles. It’s not right.”
Parents complained to the school district about empty beer bottles and lingering smoke from the parties.
The school district sent the school a letter, calling attention to the flyers and warning that students should never be exposed to alcohol and tobacco. A letter from Deputy Superintendent Freddie Woodson said parents and concerned citizens had expressed concern that some school children were exposed to the parties.
School attorney Marlon Hill promises a thorough investigation.
“Certainly this is something we do not condone,” Hill told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “This is unacceptable. Certainly we want to assure parents that we are going to look into it. To date, Balere is unaware of such events occurring on the premises.”
It is an unfortunate turn for the Balere Language Academy, which received a failing grade in 2010 and was able to improve to an A school this summer.
“We are going to try to have a school of excellence for the kids,” said Hill.
Hill said this case is a top priority. He has assigned some people to investigate and plans to visit the school this weekend to see if any inappropriate activities are taking place.
One unidentified man who was at the school to pick up a grandchild expressed concern about the parties that neighbors say took place on August 6th and 27th. But he had not heard enough information to comment.
D’Oench tried to speak with the school’s Principal but she was not available.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald noted there is “little the (school) district can do. Under state law, the district can close a charter school only if the school is in financial distress or has received a series of failing grades from the state Department of Education.”
Taxpayer dollars help fund charter schools, but they are run by private or nonprofit boards independent of the school district.