Students fear repercussions from their Detroit charter school over viral graduation speeches

When top students used the graduation stage to air concerns about their Detroit charter school, they thought they were getting the last word. Now they’re not so sure.

The company says it has hired a lawyer to look into the speeches, leading the speakers to fear that they’ll face individual repercussions.

“I’m just waiting for them to stop coming back at us,” said Tuhfa Kasem, one of the two speakers. “We just want this to end. We’re just hoping for them to get better as a school.”

Meanwhile, some members of the 54-student senior class at Universal Academy are concerned because their school still hasn’t released final transcripts, which they need to enroll in college and collect scholarships. They believe it amounts to a retaliation by Hamadeh Educational Services, the company that manages their school, for critical graduation speeches that put it at the center of a social media tempest last month.

School officials, who deny claims of retaliation, sent a letter to parents on Friday saying that transcripts will be released next week. Students at other schools operated by the company say their official transcripts were sent as early as two weeks ago.

The letter to parents was sent after a group of students and parents went to the company’s Dearborn Heights headquarters on Friday to demand the transcripts. They were locked out, and someone inside the building called the police, who asked them to leave or risk being charged with trespassing.

“They care more about their reputation than how we do in college,” said Sarah Nasher, who plans to attend the University of Detroit Mercy. Nasher believes that the school is pushing back against a group of top students who have demanded improvements at Universal Academy, some of whom are working as student organizers for the education advocacy group 482Forward.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: