Job Corps Fraud Blog

Nationwide mismanagement of Job Corps calls for action!

Our Stories

Mismanagement
I was the TEAP Specialist (Substance Abuse Counselor) at Kittrell Job Corps Center in Kittrell, NC in 2005.  Although I saw first-hand, the efforts of many dedicated teachers and staff who tried to make a difference in the students lives there,  the program was rife with mismanagement and there was an obsessive focus on numbers and “retention.”
The one word I can think of to describe my experience there was “chaos.” Even though I had a lot of job requirements to fulfill, I never knew from one moment to the next if I would be called out for something unexpected.  (Like attending a spur of the moment meeting, or having to suddenly teach a class unprepared.) There was little time left over to do my job in a satisfactory way. I honestly felt that my students were getting short-changed by the lack of stability and non-existent emphasis on quality on center.
I also worked at Shriver Job Corps Center in Devens, MA from 2007 – 2009 as an Employment Coordinator for the Construction Services Trades and again, I saw many highly skilled and compassionate staff, educators and counselors who were committed to making a difference in their students lives.  However, most of these efforts were thwarted by the program’s mismanagement and emphasis on “numbers” and focus on all the various ways our reports could be manipulated to make our center seem to be meeting or surpassing performance standards.
Some of the things I personally witnessed or endured at Shriver:
Lack of Proper Tools to Perform Job Requirements
I shared an office with another employment coordinator.  Sometimes we had up to ten students each, assigned to us daily.  We were required to help the students perform an internet job search, update their resumes, take them on job interviews and teach them basic interviewing skills (among many other tasks).  We had one ancient computer to share between the two of us that didn’t have Word installed; we could not update a student’s resume or help write a cover letter for a targeted job.  There were a total of six chairs in the office and many times we wasted time calling instructors and other staff on center to see if they had a vacant computer available for a student to use for job search.  After a short while management came out with an Email telling us that we could no longer “dump” our students on other instructors when they were assigned to us. Apparently some of the over-stressed instructors were becoming irritated with our daily requests.
It was enormously frustrating to have a group of students waiting outside one’s office door upon entering work without anywhere to seat them or without a place to teach.  I have copies of about six Emails I wrote to management asking for at least one more computer for our office so we might be able to accommodate at least two students a day.  The emails were in addition to oral requests and discussions about the lack of proper tools to do our jobs.  All these requests were ignored.  For the entire time I worked at Shriver, we never got another computer in the EC’s office.  During my last few months of employment there I started having students follow me around the center while I attended required meetings (sometimes they sat, waiting for me in the front lobby while I was in a meeting).  Some of the time I had to tell students I could not accommodate them at all and told them to find “someplace to go” on center.  I have no idea where the students went or what they did.
Complaints
While I was still employed at Shriver, I filed written complaints with the Office of the Inspector General in Washington D.C. for what I believed were integrity violations that I knew about/was an unwilling party to.  The OIG investigated my hotline complaints:  The results are published in a Performance Audit Report and in a Report to Congress.
While I was still employed I also filed a written complaint with the Wage and Hour division of the Department of Labor for Wage and hour violations that were occurring at Shriver to hourly and salaried employees.  The results of the Wage and Hour investigation has caused Shriver to pay many of its hourly employees back pay for the violations.  I cannot find the results of the audit on the DOL Wage and Hour website.  I wrote to the DOL and they referred me to the Wage and Hour Division in Boston.  I will follow up as soon as I gather that information.
Untruthful Reporting to Employees
After the OIG and DOL (Wage and Hour) completed their investigations at Shriver, the center director announced at two different management meetings:
“The investigations are over.  No wrongdoing was found.”
She also announed at all staff meeting:
“Employees should to go to Human Resources if they think there is an integrity issue because someone recently ‘picked up the phone and voiced an OIG hotline complaint’ and, it cost taxpayers a lot of money to have the OIG respond to a complaint.”
(I’d like to be first to reassure Ms. Telesford that the subsequent fines Shriver had to pay for their wrongdoings repaid the costs of the investigation to the taxpayers.)
You can read the written report about Shriver’s wrongdoing in the OIG performance report here.
As a result of the DOL investigation, Shriver has had to pay back their hourly employees restitution ranging in the thousands of dollars for violations of Federal Wage and Hour Laws.  I am in the process of requesting the total amount of fines and repayments under the Freedom of Information Act. Keep watch on this website for more information.
Also, as a result of a remark I left on the “Youth Today’s” article about Job Corps, Adams Corporate Headquarters had a state trooper question me (six months after I resigned from my position).  During our conversation the state trooper “suggested” that my use of  “inflammatory” language may be disturbing.  I stand by my assertion in the comment posted on 11/6/09 on Youth Today. I did however promise that in the future I would “clean up the tone”  of my communications about Shriver (if ever I posted one again.)
You will admit that this website is true reflection of that promise… I resolve to only publish facts about Job Corps with links to supporting documents and evidence to back up my assertions.  My tone is certainly factual, logical and unemotional.
Censorship
When corporate auditors came to Shriver we were warned not to tell the auditors anything. In my case, a new auditor gave me his card with his contact information on it. I Emailed him with a benign question. I was called into the deputy director’s office and was chastised for communicating personally with an auditor. I remarked, “Why would he give me his card if I wasn’t allowed to use it?” I was warned not to contact any auditor ever again. It was not my “place” to “do so.”
There was another auditor from Adams Corporate Headquarters who gave me her cell phone number. I knew she would help me if I ever had any questions about my records. I was told that all questions to auditors had to be “screened” through management, as, I was not allowed to contact them.
The DOL also came for a routine audit one time and all staff were told that we were not to speak to the DOL and if staff wanted to speak to an auditor, we had to submit a note to the CD telling her why we wanted to speak to the DOL and what our question was about. Only if our question was “approved” by the CD would we have permission to speak.
I was hoping that the DOL would speak to me because I will not be silenced when I know the truth. However, they never approached me and I chose not to approach them at that time because I was still somewhat afraid of being harassed by management.
For me, the subsequent harassment and inflated written warnings I started to receive gave me the impetus to not be afraid. For some reason, the more I was harassed, the stronger and more determined I became to do something about the wrongdoings there.
Negligence of Care and Concern for the Welfare of a Student
I had a student who apparently tried to cut of his arm with a hand saw.  Other students in the shop wrestled the student to the ground to prevent him from further harming himself.  Allegedly, there was blood all over the shop from this event.  The student was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation. Apparently, it was discovered that the student did not have medical insurance.  The hospital released the student a short while later.  The student was immediately separated from our center. The student’s belongings were packed up in plastic trash bags, and the van driver was told to drop the student off at the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to wait for his uncle to pick him up about 6 hours later. The student was left alone without money for lunch to wait by himself.  Upon hearing of this, a counselor on center rushed to stay with the youth until his uncle arrived.  Allegedly, she stated, “I don’t care if I’m fired. I’m not going to leave the student by himself.”
Regarding Carl D Perkins Job Corps Center:
My son attended this run down facility from November 2009 to just recently February 2010. I had to pick him up from a mental hospital just one week after trying to get him back home.
My son had told me the goings on of this center and I found it disturbing that gang activity was condoned and drinking and smoking weed. My son told me the influence was every where and the staff (even security employees) did nothing to stop it.
Not wanting to be a snitch for not participating in the activities of these students makes a child stand out in this setting and my son always worried that eventually, he would be forced to do what everyone else was doing.
After several upset phone calls from my son saying, “He had enough of this place,” he called his father and me to tell us he wanted out that day because he could not take anymore of that center.
So, we we made arrangements for him to come back home with me in Atlanta. However, shortly after this phone call someone from Job Corps called his father and asked why our son wanted to leave. My son’s father told them what our son had been telling us about what was going on there. The person form Job Corps told him that our son never told them anything like that and these things “were not true.” We had no reason to disbelieve our son so, his father said “It didn’t matter. If four son wanted out of Job Corps he could come home.”
Apparently a gang of staff cornered my son while he was packing and were trying as best they could to convince him to stay and not leave {YOU KNOW THAT MEANT THEY WERE GOING TO LOSE MONEY.}
Meanwhile, as this was going on, someone from the center called my son’s dad back to say that my son “would not be provided transportation to the bus stop”, which was an hour’s drive away. My son called me and told me what Job Corps said and I told his dad to call them back and to call our son a cab and no matter what it cost we would pay it.
The next thing Job Corps came up with was telling us it would take two weeks process my son out of the program. BULLSHIT. We all know that is not true. After these phone calls went on for about 1 hour my son (I guess he was feeling defeated by these people) called us back and said he would “try to stick it out a little longer” (this was Feb 19th). On Feb 22 my son called me and with the same urgency said “get me out of here”. I told him that it would a couple of days but he would be home by Friday.
I didn’t hear anything back from my son and I discovered that his cell phone was dead so by Thursday his dad and I were trying to figure out what was going on. {HIS DAD LIVES IN ARKANSAS} Neither of us had heard anything from our son.
Friday I received a phone call from the mental hospital asking me if I could identify my son because all they had was a phone number no identification at all.
I have yet to receive a clear answer from anyone about what happened to my son. He is home with me know and diagnosed with paranoia. He has no memory of Job Corps or even that he was ever a student there. This is so frustrating for a parent who didn’t send him to Job Corps to get rid of him but, I thought he would benefit from the program.
I would never recommend this program for anyone’s child and if you know someone who is thinking of joining, tell them this story. I still don’t know what happened and the administration is close-mouthed, even when I showed up to this dump in person to get my son’s things they still acted like they did right by my son. My child is now forever changed by this situation. If someone could tell me, when is the DOL going to realize this program is about numbers and not our kids?
     

    Job Corps Fraud We hear stories like this over and over… we are trying to get the media to listen to us; we are contacting the press and, unfortunately, Job Corps has been around for so long and so many in power have publicly supported it, it is going to be difficult to have people stand up and take notice. Job Corps has a sophisticated method of ensuring that everything they do in the community is highly publicized. Centers are even told to get as many “good press releases” into the papers as they can. These are called “STAR” reports. Every quarter I was given a “required” task to ensure that something “postive” was submitted to the newspapers. Tell everyone you know to share their stories here. We deeply appreciate your courage in telling us your story. Our prayers are with you and your son.
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22 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Jenn says:

    at the guthrie jobcorps center in oklahoma, i witnessed numerous gang fights and race wars inside there walls, i left before it got to dangerous the fact that i hadto leave this place because of safety issues and becuse the staff wasnt doing anything about it was rediculous, i was hit in the face when i was attending a meeting by a male student that was working psi during that time, staff embers witnessed it they even caught it on tape but sadly when i tried to do something about it i was harrased by (name removed by Job Corps Fraud) an emplyee, constantly yelling at me and telling me what do u want me to do about it, i told him that i wanted it handled and he kept asking me how i wnted it handled , my reply was im not an emplyee at this center im just a female student here but hes a hugeguy and he hit me in he face, i cried running into a friends arms because when i walked out of this employees office id felt violated by this employee, and when i tried to report the employee i got into even more trouble because his bos said he would never do anything like that, if theres one job corps that should get shut down its guthrie, personally ive seen many decidated emplyees here , one ofwhich that became like a father to me, sadly i was told that he would be on the verge of bing fired if i ever contacted him again.

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    • Howard says:

      Jenn,

      Why were you hit in the face by the male student? I find it hard to believe that he just walked up to you and hit you in the face. What’s the rest of the story?

      Howard

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      • Royce says:

        same thing happened to a roomate of mine once while i was there. you could just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.some people are like that. sorry to hear about that jenn

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  2. Utah Clearfield Job Corps Fraud

    There are many forms of corruption and injustices that happen at Utah Clearfield Job Corps while the management continues milking the Federal Government at the expense of youth. Many crimes: rapes, assault, theft( including theft by staff blamed on students), misappropriation of youth funds and punishment or threat to punish youth for reporting crime on the centre to outside authorities are on the cleanest pages of Utah Clearfield Job Corps.

    The youth centre I am talking about is west of I-15 North on Antelope Drive.

    I recall human resources calling me into the office because they were worried that I was going to write about ” something that might violate centre policy”.

    When I came to the facility, a girl had just been raped. This was not in the news. While I was there, a girl was raped. This was not in the news. While I was there a girl was sexually abused/harassed, had reported to management. When I asked them about the issue, they said it was being handled. The girl was still looking for help when I left.

    A colleague was almost beaten to death. I came to work and saw his face with dark black bruises. He was playing with his front teeth that had been knocked out in an attack by a student. The same student who had threatened me and promised that he would get with his buddies to ” remove me from the centre”. The same student now almost killed a staff member and a war veteran. This story was not in the news.

    A colleague shared stories about his sexual activities in front of youth. One of the students said to him once, ” ….she is listening”, alerting the staff caller who was intimate with his lover back East. I reported to the management. It did not matter.

    Ultimately, the same staff got angry with me in the office, pointing his finger a few inches into my face. I ran out of the office and that was my exit from job corps. I can handle this. But the management knows very well that the students from whom they get numbers for pay by the US Federal Government have very little to say.

    Many times I told the students that their own constitution allows them to report rape to police or to anyone as they chose, but many were afraid they would be ” termed”.

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  3. David Akins says:

    I attended the Knoxville Job Corps Center from 91 to 94. I was lied to by my recruiter who told me that I would qualify for the Transportation Communication Union program, so I applied myself to the fullest. One year later, I was informed by the representatives from TCU that I was ineligible because I was on probation. After presenting these facts to both my probation officer and recruiter, I was blamed for their oversight. I witnessed horrible crimes and behavior in this place, many of which went unnoticed by the staff.

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  4. Dave Crockett says:

    I have known Job Corps since its inception at Catoctin. Todays Job Corps bear very little resemblance to the early days. Contractors now run a “candy store” for their companies. The government centers are all now under the Forest Service. Nothing is perfect in life, however the FS centers do a much better job of preparing youth for employment. Job Corps is not a college as Esther Johnson thought! Job corps needs to return to its’ CCC roots to enter into this new century.
    To those who say we spend too much money on training our youth I can say only this, the 2010 DoD budget is over 700 billion dollars. Job Corps has existed for 45 years on a fraction of that budget, and could stay in existence for the next 300 years on that dollar amount. I think the disadvantaged youth of America surely deserve such a small pittance. Corruption needs to be cleared up in the JC program. USDA control would be an integral part of that cleaning up process.

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    • Eric says:

      The disadvantaged youth who attend this program could use the money that is paid to unscrupulous contractors. The money should be going into the program, not a contractor’s pocket. I agree with you Dave – today’s Job Corps does bear very little resemblance to the early days. Why do we need contractors anyway? How do they add value to anything? Most aren’t even educators and most of the administrative staff at the centers aren’t educators either. Any serious educator doesn’t last long at a Job Corps; they are either fired for trumped-up reasons because they know the contractors are running a bogus program, or they quit because of the lack of professionalism.

      Dave, it sounds like you work for a center run by the FS. Have you worked for a JC run by a contractor – especially in the last 15-20 yrs? Even contractor-run centers are very different today from 20-30 yrs ago. Much more corrupt and blatantly abusive to staff. They get away with it because government oversight does not result in serious punitive measures and the government and the contractors play this shell game.

      Doesn’t this sound just like the mining industry? Education and Training Resources (ETR), like Massey Energy, has figured out how not to pay fines – just contest a finding and then they don’t have to pay the fine as long as it is under review. If they were put out of business, instead of paying fines, maybe things might change.

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  5. Alice J. Scott says:

    Job Corps
    I am a strong advocate of the Job Corps Program and its purpose of educating and training our youth, but having worked in t he system for more than twenty years as an educator and manager I dealt with a lot of frustration and disappointment within the program. I started out as a instructor became the Director of the Education and Training Departments, worked with the corporation and spent many hours in Washington working on PRH changes and program needs. I traveled across the country to many of the centers doing program reviews; troubleshooting with the center’s records systems and putting new programs in place. After my initial corporation phased out of the Job Corps business I worked with and was employed by several other contractors and became very frustrated and disappointed in what was happening with their approach and focus on the program needs.
    Reading the fraud blogs I sympathize with these students that are so frustrated with the system and I agree that their claims are very valid in many ways. There are also many success stories from the program and am very proud to see these young people succeed, but there are many people that take advantage of this program and they are not all students (far from it). Student come to this program from many walks of life looking for education and training to be able to become independent in the work force and start a career path. In most cases this is true but there are some there that are in it for the free ride and these individuals need to be eliminated from the program as soon as possible. Keeping them in the program causes a lot of disruption in the classroom as well as in all areas on the centers. Teachers/instructors become frustrated trying to meet their quotas as well as spend quality time teaching the ones that are interested. The government needs to listen closely to these complaints and I do hope that this fraud blog is reaching their eyes and ears.
    The Job Corps Program should not be eliminated but major revisions need to be made to make it a success and provide a program that addresses the needs of its consumer- the students. I believe that no further additional funding should be allotted to centers or new centers opened until a task force is formed to assess the programs and centers that are already in existence with a new approach. I would recommend federal and state oversight of center operations and programs. Maybe even a grassroots effort with states in control of their programs to address the specific needs of their young people with training focused on the geographical area being serviced. I think the system has become too large for good oversight and contractors running the centers are not all capable of handling the extent of the system and are not focusing on the actual needs of the students. Safety in the program should be up front with a good certified training that will provide the students graduating with good knowledge and skills for their chosen profession. Hopefully the government will see the need for upgrading the program and not completely eliminate this program.
    There are so many problem areas within the system that need to be changed and a task force consisting of a well rounded team with all disciplines involved could review the whole program and tighten up on controls and requirements. I could write a book on Job Corps good and not so good. My whole Job Corps career was attempting to put into place a better educational/training program with quality . I love working with youth and know that they are the future. We need to look at what we are doing for these young people and as we retire from the work force assure that we are building a good background for our country with tomorrows citizens

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    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful post and its important suggestions.

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    • Thomas says:

      I agree with Alice’s recommendation for an overhaul of the Job Corps system. Nowhere in her posting, however, does she zero in an the significant contributing factor to the problems she cites; that is, the contractors who are more interested in “cream skimming” than in educating and training youth. (She states that they are not all capable of handling the extent of the system. I maintain that the contractors care about one thing – playing the system to make money.) The Upjohn Institute for Employment Management article that was posted on this blog does an admirable job of addressing this issue. Assigning a task force at this point is like beating a dead horse unless the government eliminates contractors and up-to-date standards are implemented that conform to and are monitored by state education departments (which she does mention).

      When Alice came into the system, mid-late 1980s, the forerunner of today’s obfuscated performance measurement system was already in place and the seeds for fraud were planted. The contractors contributed to the development and lobbied for the continuation of these performance measures because they fit their self-serving needs – to make money. They know that they can commit fraud by manipulating numbers and receive only a hand-slap from the government while getting rich at taxpayers’ expense. The government is like the goose that laid the golden egg when it comes to contracting. If contractors were eliminated and the program assigned to the state education departments, or the federal Department of Education, many of the the problems would be lessened or disappear because the contractors who run these centers have a very different agenda from that of the government.

      Over the years the program has become skewed away from education toward the contractors’ game of warehousing at-risk youth and providing sub-standard academic, vocational training and residential living programs. Job Corps openly disregards the education standards of the states in which they are located and government officials now think it’s perfectly acceptable for centers to grant out-of-state on-line high school diplomas; one such diploma is granted from Mississippi. Imagine your child receiving an on-line high school diploma from Mississippi when you live in New York State. Needless to say, this “high school” is not accredited in New York.

      One of the performance statistics that centers are measured by is the GED/high school completion rate; hence, the on-line diploma. The reason for the on-line diplomas rests in the lack of government funding to provide adequate academic materials, facilities and professional, academically certified staffing; un-willingness of local surrounding high schools to co-enroll students or lack of staff and vehicles to transport students to the high schools; and students’ lack of desire or skills to complete a more rigorous high school program or to study for and pass the GED exam.

      Job Corps has become a complex issue: one in which contractors’ contributions to local and federal politicians and news media play a part, as does lobbying for support of Job Corps by the National Job Corps Association. Congressional supporters vote for continued funding, but their knowledge of the inner workings of the system is either non-existent or they just don’t care about the fraud and waste of tax dollars and phenomenal abuse of staff and students.

      Yes, there are some wonderful success stories coming out of Job Corps, I am witness to many of them, as I also worked for many years in Job Corps for several different contractors on several centers. I wrote programs in Washington, wrote proposals for contractors, up-graded materials and facilities, counseled students and staff, and developed and directed award-winning programs to name just a few of my responsibilities.

      I feel qualified to opine that on the whole and in the long run, Job Corps is a very inefficient and for the money, a very ineffective program if you consider only the performance measures that are used to evaluate contractor program delivery. If you consider that Job Corps provides money to economically starved areas by providing jobs and money for goods and services in those local economies and keeps an at-risk population under some kind of surveillance and out of trouble, then it might be considered more successful. Even that is debatable – gang problems exist and on some centers these gangs “run the show” after training ends for the day. Read some of the postings on this blog to get an idea of the crime that exists on centers – not some centers – every center. The high staff turn-over rate on many centers would be considered unacceptable in any other industry but is ignored in this one. It is common knowledge that staff turnover rate is very low at the “best companies to work for”. Job Corps doesn’t fit into this category because of contractor practices and poor government oversight.

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  6. davon says:

    i was wondering if u guys could find anything about the jacksonville job corp and send it to my mothers email because she is trying to get me out the house and she believes that job corps is the best fit even tho i told her storys about friends i knew who parents attended or they thereselves attended it (Email deleted) thats her email

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  7. Neil says:

    Wow. So did you quit because of all that crap or did they fire you? If the latter, what for?

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    • I quit because I had an excellent work record without a single negative in my file. Because I started speaking out, I was suddenly called into the office one day and confonted with a written warning that had three “trumped up” charges on it. I knew the end was near and I knew that I didn’t want to be “surprised” with a termination notice so I found another job and quit without notice. My only regret is that I didn’t quit sooner…

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  8. […] author is one of the most honest and honorable people I know. Her story is here. I would believe her word on a blog over a sworn statement on a stack of bibles from a lot of other […]

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  9. Anthony says:

    There have been many news articles over the yrs about the negative goings-on at Job Corps. You have to search the newspapers in towns near the Job Corps centers.

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  10. What is so upsetting is that I can’t find anything negative about Job Corps in the press. I can find it on the OIG website. I couldn’t find anything on the DOL website, yet, they proudly announced the names of other companies that had to pay restitution to workers for Wage and Hour violations. Shriver was not there. Nor, could I find (at this time) anything about any other Job Corps, and I know personally that complaints were filed from other centers.

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  11. Tonks says:

    Just reading these made my skin crawl. I wonder if the contract companies all use the same script. VERY scary.
    At IJCC, a young woman who was ill, could not get anyone to take her to the hospital, was told to take asprin. The young woman called her mother, who was very upset, as her daughter had a medical condition, told the daughter she was call for the ambulance to come get her. The girl pleaded with her mother not to because any student who called for one would get fined $1000. The staff who called for one would be fired..this was the CD’s order.

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    • juanita says:

      Absolute truth. As a driver in the security department, I was forbidden to drive an ill student to emergency. Granted, before ETR we had a few false calls, but having no medical training no one was around to say this.

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    • Royce says:

      WOW…yeah that is true also. i got hives from a medication they perscribed me and i was scared and security gave me benidril and said “you can call an ambulance but the bills on you”.i did the same thing calling my mom and having her cuss out staff.at 18 and not having any job to pay medical bills that was not a choice anyone should have to make. you guys are really makin me remeber the down side to that place..geese.

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