"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Military-Style Voucher School Serves Children Bread and Water

The privately-owned La Brew Troopers Military University School rakes in a million dollars of public money each year for the poor children whose parents send them there with the school vouchers they receive. While some would no doubt applaud the preparation of the next generation of warriors for the perpetual war, I am wondering if even Chief Choice Officer, Spellings, would tsk-tsk over this abuse and thievery:

The school is known for its "boot camp" regimen, including frequent rounds of exercise and the use of physical sanctions against misbehavior, sometimes including such things as carrying school desks around the block. Students often wear fatigues to school.

The state report lists more than a dozen ways that corrective action was needed in how La Brew handled subsidized lunch and breakfast programs. Records were not kept properly, and the school claimed payment for lunches for 18 children who did not have applications to participate in the program on file.

Now the AP reports that "bad children" regularly are underfed as a form of punishment, sometimes receiving bread and water if the offense warrants.

I am wondering if the right-wing privatizers who are all about choice would choose to send their own kids to this military work house--or if they would own give their own children a choice in the matter. Give the children a choice, and see how much public money would then remain in this hell hole:
The state has ordered a military-style private school to stop punishing students by serving them smaller lunches and is withholding money for food programs until the problems are corrected, according to a letter by the Department of Public Instruction.

The state has halted its share of the money for lunch and breakfast for low-income students until the La Brew Troopers Military University School stops withholding food as punishment, Helen Pesche, child nutrition program consultant for the state, wrote in a letter to the school dated May 21.

The letter said that inspections at the school found students were sometimes punished by being served lunch without either meat or a substitute and a vegetable and fruit.

A DPI report said one day when inspectors visited the school, 24 students were served lunches that did not include a sloppy joe on a bun and canned fruit, like their peers ate. Instead, the report said the children were given a slice of white bread, half a cup of mashed potatoes and a half pint of milk.

The report said students told a DPI employee that when someone is really bad, they only get bread and water.

Withholding food is unacceptable for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted program that subsidizes school food, the report said.

“This method of discipline must stop immediately,” the report said.

State records show La Brew has 162 students from kindergarten through the sixth grade as of January. The school has participated in the private school voucher program since the 2003-04 school year, and got a little more than $1 million this year in public money.

The report also said the school needs has more than a dozen ways it needs to correct how it handles the subsidized lunch and breakfast programs, to which the state also contributes.

For instance, the report said records were not kept properly, and the school claimed payment for lunches for 18 children who did not file applications to participate in the program.

The school also claimed payment for lunch on two days in February when it was closed due to bad weather, the report said.


  1. Anonymous2:24 PM

    There is no accountability for how funds are used. The school supplies very little. K4s and 5s spent their first hour watched over by a 6th grader; only one teacher last year was certified and licensed by the State; most grades did not have any textbooks; let alone enough books for each student; teachers had to supply their own materials for art projects; teachers had to supply pencils. The "Commander" routinely sold snacks at inflated prices ($1.00 for a pickle) and the snacks were chips, ,candy, etc. which over weight children don't need. Also, would charge $5.00 per child on certain days if they didn't want to wear a uniform. The school is located in a warehouse and there are no provisions for the children to get fresh air. There are no windows. Where did the money go?

  2. Anonymous7:00 AM

    The "Commander" is not even a real long-term militant. He only spent approximately 1 year in the military. He is known for using the DPI provided school funding for both personnal use and intermingles it with his for-profit business. He hides behind his mother and lies to the state so that he doesn't have to pay his child support and has dated, slept with and been involved with numerous parents and staff members. He also makes the students clean the building with a toothbrush. He has late night party bashes equiped with alcohol and casino products inside the school building every year for his so-called "Founder's Day" and his Birthday. He has absolutely no concern for the overall education of the students. He uses food from Second Harvest. As an ex-parent, this school should be investigated!

  3. Anonymous12:08 AM

    FYI...his for profit business is an LLC. consisting of two companies. The first is a restaurant and the other, the transportation company used to transport students to and from school! Boy, does he make a fool of WI state taxpayers! Did I mention the income from the LLC is not reported to Milwaukee County Child Support Enforcement as a way of shirking his financial obligations to the 5 children. Of which all are receiving state aid.

  4. Anonymous5:28 PM

    To whom it may concern:

    I need help from the community in the matter of Labrew Troopers M. U. School. Attached is a letter that I sent out to as many officials as I could. Child Protection has gone to the police for an investigation. The Sentitive Crimes Det. have come to my home to speak with me, but are unsure if they will pursue the abuse, and this was stated to me after one hour of having child protection report their findings. Without even reviewing the evdience they had already made up a strategy to do much of nothing for getting justice for hundreds of abused children at the hands of the staff at this school. Who will help me be a voice for these children to get them justice.


    Please Read:
    Glenda Haynes
    3837 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208

    To Whom It May Concern:

    My name is Glenda Haynes. I have been working and volunteering in the community with youth for over 25 years. And I am writing to you to ask for your help in preventing the private (voucher) school “Labrew Troopers University School” owner Shan Owens from ever operating any school dealing with children; due to the serious physical , mental, and verbal abuse done to the children. There are also the dangerous conditions concerning sanitation of the day to day operations of the building.
    I began working with “Labrew in Oct. of 08, as a temporary job for myself as I awaited a position with the Sheriffs dept. It wasn’t long after working there that it became apparent that things were not right. Children were getting their arms bent as far up their backs as they could go, smashed face first into walls and a full run, dragged, arms pulled up into the air and then their wrist is bent trying to force their fingers to touch their wrist, and verbal abuse.
    Also, concerning the sanitation conditions, this building has no windows, no ventilation system to bring in air or circulate air. The bathrooms are filthy and we can go weeks without soap in them. There is no sink in the kitchen. I saw the cook washing two serving spoons in the girls bathroom sink. I video taped the cook washing the serving food pans in the slop mop sink. There is so much more, but it all can’t be put into this letter.
    I am requesting your assistance, as well as others. I am writing the President, going to the Journal, and calling child protection to go and get the stories of the children for abuse charges. When my efforts to try and change this place and making demanding complaints fell on deaf ears I started to collect evidence to take for help. I have tapped our last staff meetings and the video of the dish washing. But before I could get more the school has taken an early spring break (Mar. 9 – 23) due to owing the state over 200,000. What I understand is that they plan on closing and re-applying as another private voucher school. This can not happen please! I have already contacted my K5 class where I became the teacher. All the parents are willing to allow their children to tell their stories. Please I need your help, the children need your help.

    Sign Help,
    Glenda Haynes.

  5. Anonymous10:39 PM

    I too have heard that voucher schools educate students for less than MPS. I can vouch for that. At Labrew not one classroom had enough books in any subject to even give out to ten students in your class. So the teachers had to use the one copy machine to copy from a book to put together the daily lessons; and that’s if you got your chance at the copier. We complained daily that we did not have the supplies we needed.

    Remember what it was like when you were in kindergarten, you know the toys. Well imagine, no toys at all. At Labrew the 4K and K5 class had no toys, no in class playtime. They worked from paper work at their desks. When I became the 5K teacher I searched every junk corner of the building and found a few broken and dirty toys. I went out and bought some toys and allowed the children to have center time. Yet, the 4K still had nothing.

    We had no play ground, so after lunch we played in a large garage type area. The only things really to play with was mostly under inflated balls, jump ropes, and Oh, milk creates in which the children discovered they could pull each other in.

    So, yes Labrew used less of our dollars to educate the students.

    Glenda Haynes