2008: AYUSA refused student contact with sick mother

All of the exchange organizations send their students warning letters/probation letters/agreements that make a case against the exchange students. At times these letters reflect reality and sometimes they illustrate how dangerous it is for company representatives to be good friends of host families.

In this case, there are two letters from AYUSA that demand the exchange student sign. As punishment they take away all electronic devices from the student. At the time the student’s mother had contracted cancer and the student needed to be in contact with her. Yet the student had not been allowed to speak with her for more than a month. AYUSA were aware of the situation. He was living with AYUSA regional representative, Norma Latini. Below is an extract of the communications between CSFES and the US Department of State, along with the warning letters:


The mother of a foreign exchange student from Montenegro is suffering from cancer and contacted this child protection advocacy group for help.

Her son, … has not been allowed to speak with his natural mother for over a month.

October 15, 2008 Probation Letter (see below) issued to her son by student’s placement agency, “Your computer and cell phone use has been terminate indefinitely.

Natural mother reported that her son’s Host Mother, AYUSA Regional Director, Norma Latini, … has confiscated his cell phone.

This family has spent approximately $10,000 for their son to come live his dream; live a year in America. Her son is being returned home early on November 3. …


Probation Letter:

Oct 15th, 20008

xxxx (348772)

15101 Woodson Street
Overland Park, KS  66223
Dear xxxx,

I recently received reports that (brief description of the behavior). The purpose of this letter is to inform you are officially on probation with AYUSA for the remainder of the year and to clarify with you what we expect of you as an AYUSA student. Failure to make an effort to (refer to the rule violation) could result in your dismissal form the AYUSA program.

It has been reported to me that:

You recently posted 2 exchange students on YouTube making discriminatory and inappropriate comments about each student on the video. You added personal information about the students which could be detrimental to their relationships at school and their personal well being.

You continue to transfer the blame to someone else for all of your personal infractions. ” Fadi has too much drama.”  “Norma did not have to tell Mary Lou.”

You say, “it is a joke,  just a joke” about serious violations of rules and disrespect you have shown to others.

You have violated Host Family rules and the personal privacy of others.

Because this behavior is considered unacceptable, you will be placed under close supervision by your local AYUSA representative, Tracy Ellenz, who will look for an improvement in your behavior and actions. Probation is a step before dismissal, meaning that AYUSA is giving you a chance to demonstrate a successful program experience.

As an AYUSA student, it is your responsibility to follow program rules and procedures. You were selected for this program because we believe that you have the maturity and capability to deal with the demands of a year in the United States.

xxxx, you must work very hard to prove that you should remain on the AYUSA program. In order to continue to be an AYUSA student you must meet the following requirements:

Your computer and cell phone use has been terminated indefinitely.

You will take responsibility for your own actions and take the consequences.

No more jokes, or what you consider jokes on anyone.

Respect others’ privacy and listen to staff and host family when they tell you that you are being disrespectful to teachers and other.  Change your disrespectful behavior to others upon the request.

An addendum may follow after investigation into the YouTube videos by authorities.

AYUSA expects that you will take this probation notice very seriously and will make strides toward changing your attitude and behavior and completing a successful year in the U.S. We anticipate that you will act, for the remainder of your stay, in a manner befitting an AYUSA student and a junior ambassador of Montenegro.  After reading this letter, please sign the copy enclosed and mail it back to me at the following address by October 20th, 2008.

Mary Lou Dunekacke
Regional Manager
491 32nd Rd
Rising City, NE  68658

I have read and understood this Probation Letter

_____________________________                          _________________________
(Student’s Name)                                             (Date)

Sincerely,
AYUSA International
Mary Lou Dunekacke (Regional Manager)

cc:

Zanka Samardzic
Jenna DeFabio (HQ)
Tracy Ellenz (CR)
Norma Latini (RD)


M( 17 )      9* AICEE-SM 348772

09/04/2008
Dear xxxx,

I recently received reports from AYUSA staff regarding the following

  • You have told others that you have lost 22 pounds in the USA.
  • You have told others that you were made to go to church.
  • You have demanded the food of your native country, not eating the food of your host family. In the meantime, you have ordered delivery pizza and chocolate dunkers on at least 10 occasions after the host family’s meal.
  • You act distant to relatives and friends of the host family when visiting, even though you were explained this and your host mom has a code word for you.  You said you do not think you are disrespectful.
  • You have refused to wash your clothes and wear clean clothing.
  • You spend hours on your Playstation, then ask for  help with your homework late at night.
  • You are talking to your natural mom frequently on your international cell phone and reporting to staff that she has contradicting reports about your issues.

Consequently, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that you are officially on warning with AYUSA and to clarify with you what we expect of you as an AYUSA student.  Failure to make an effort to change your behavior/attitude will result in being placed on probation with the AYUSA program.

As an AYUSA student, it is your responsibility to follow program rules and procedures as part of having a successful year abroad.  I realize that adjusting to a new situation can be challenging.  The following are suggestions on what you can do to show that you are serious about having a successful experience on the AYUSA program:

  • You will follow any and all rules of your host family
  • You will give accurate accounts to others.
  • You will read the in your student booklet pages 2-25.
  • You will report to your representative, Tracy Ellenz as to what you have read.
  • You will discontinue ordering from pizza delivery and try to adjust to American food and the special cooking of your host family.
  • Your host mom has a code word for you when you are acting disrespectful,  she will use it and you will stop your behavior. You will act respectful to teachers and  others.
  • You will wash your clothes and wear clean clothing at all times.
  • You will limit your time on Playstation until all your homework is finished, the time limits will be set as needed by your host mom.
  • Limit calls from home to once every two weeks.

Your local AYUSA representative, Tracy Ellenz, is here to support you and will closely supervise you over the next 4 weeks. She will observe your attitude and effort weekly in making the suggested changes listed above.  On October 2, 2008 Tracy will talk with you to check on your progress.  If, at this time, reports indicate that you have not made any changes or your behavior has worsened, you will be placed on probation.

xxxx you were selected for this program because we believe that you have the maturity and capability to deal with the demands of a year in the United States.  AYUSA expects that you will take this warning letter very seriously and will make strides toward changing your attitude and behavior and completing a successful year in the U.S.  We anticipate that you will act, for the remainder of your stay, in a manner befitting an AYUSA student and a junior ambassador of Montenegro. After reading this letter, please sign the copy enclosed and mail it back to Mary Lou Dunekacke at the following address by September 14, 2008.

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Dunekacke
AYUSA Regional Manager
491 32nd Rd.
Rising City,NE  68658
Fax:  402-542-2277

I have read and understand this Warning Letter.

_______________________________                  _______________
(Student Name)                                         (Date)

(Student Comment)                                                                                                                 

cc.
Zanka Samardzic
Jenna DeFabio(HQ)
Tracy Ellenz
Norma Latini

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