Tag Archives: #CSFES

2016: STS: Orlando, Florida, USA

Chaotic room 2
Chaotic room 2

When exchange students have had a wonderful or decent time during their language course or exchange semester/year, it can be difficult for them to accept that there are many students who have poor or horrible experiences. Very few students find out about the organizations (like CSFES) that are willing to help them find a way to solve their problems when their exchange agency fails them. Students are even told by some exchange firms that CSFES is not a serious organization.

Most youth who go on some form of language travel have a decent time. Sadly, many do not. They are placed in homes that aren’t prepared to take care of them. One such student is a 14 year old Finnish boy who went on a language trip to Orlando, Florida with STS. Considering the state of the host-house we are shown, CSFES is troubled, once again, by the apparent lack of background checks. It is obvious from the state of the house, that the owner had been struggling for quite some time. However, many students are placed in such homes. Thankfully, the Finnish language student took pictures and filmed the state of the host-house. He, and the the other three students living in the home, had to pay for food that the host-mother was supposed to provide. When he bought food, the host-mother ate most of it. You will see that sleeping space was tight. The rule that most exchange/language organizations follow is no more than two students per room unless the room is very spacious.

Laundry pile in host home
Laundry pile in host home

In addition to problems with the host family, the organization did not keep its promises regarding activities the students had been promised. This student found out that other students in other places and homes had completely different and safer homes and representatives. From the video, pictures and post, what this student went through was a clear case of neglect by the host family and STS.

Finland’s country manager, Mira Silvonen, tried to claim that the boy had not gone on a trip this year. This is how most of the organizations respond to complaints, by denial. That is what frustrates parents, students and helpers most: The complete inability to admit that the exchange service is at fault for choosing the wrong host family.

Towards the end of his recollection, the former Finnish language student informs us that a Swedish student, who had written a poor review, was offered money by STS to remove his review.

2014 May 04: The Californian nightmare of an exchange student / Der kalifornische Albtraum eines Austauschschülers

Von: Andreas Leisi | 04.05.2014

Bei der Gastfamilie unerwünscht, von der Koordinatorin als «Dreckskerl» bezeichnet: Der 16-jährige Konstantin wurde bei einer Schüleraustausch-Organisation zum Spielball von Geldinteressen.

Die Abschlussfeier an einer Highschool ist ein Höhepunkt – Konstantin hatte an seiner Schule nur Ärger. Foto: S. Demiroz (Getty Images)
Die Abschlussfeier an einer Highschool ist ein Höhepunkt – Konstantin hatte an seiner Schule nur Ärger. Foto: S. Demiroz (Getty Images)

Mit der Firma EF Education First reisen jährlich Millionen von jungen Erwachsenen ins Ausland. Die Angebote von EF verheissen unter anderem das hautnahe Kennenlernen anderer Länder und Kulturen, kombiniert mit dem Erlernen der Sprache. Beworben wird beispielsweise das zehn Monate dauernde High School Year in den USA von EF so: «Bist du bereit für das grosse Abenteuer? Während deines EF High School Years hast du die einmalige Chance neue Herausforderungen anzunehmen, viele nette Menschen kennen zu lernen, eine Fremdsprache zu erlernen und erwachsen zu werden.»

Ein Abenteuer und viele Herausforderungen hat zwischen September 2012 und Juni 2013 der damals 16-jährige Austauschschüler Konstantin im nordamerikanischen Kalifornien tatsächlich erlebt. «Es begann mit Verzögerungen, obwohl bei der Buchung bei EF Schweiz für den August ein Platz in einer Gastfamilie garantiert war», sagt die Mutter Franziska Stöcklin, die in Zürich lebt und für den USA-Aufenthalt ihres Sohnes 13’500 Franken bezahlte. «Konstantin konnte dann erst im September, drei Wochen nachdem die Schule bereits begonnen hatte, nach Kalifornien reisen. EF sagte uns, man habe früher keine Gastfamilie gefunden.»

Das Zuhause als Kontrollhölle

Die Probleme hielten an. Konstantin war in seinem neuen Zuhause von Beginn weg mit Vorwürfen konfrontiert: «Meine Gastmutter baute ein Kontrollsystem auf, verbot mir auszugehen, drohte mir mit Konsequenzen bei Alkoholkonsum und nahm mir mein Laptop und mein Handy weg», so der Austauschschüler im Rückblick. «Zudem behandelte sie mich kalt, und ich hatte nie das Gefühl, willkommen zu sein. Später erfuhr ich auch, dass sie mich beschuldigte, 500 Dollar von ihr gestohlen zu haben.»

Die Gastmutter und die Hauptkoordinatorin von EF in Kalifornien, Sandra Woods, standen dabei in permanentem Kontakt miteinander. Nach diversen Vorwürfen an die Adresse des Schweizer Austauschschülers drohte die Kündigung des EF-Programms und die frühzeitige Heimreise. Mutter Stöcklin sagt über ihr einziges Telefonat mit Woods: «Sie sagte mir, in Amerika würden Kinder nicht selbstständig Entscheide treffen. Hintergrund war, dass er nicht sofort gemeldet hatte, dass Konstantin nach der Schule nicht umgehend nach Hause ging.»

«She is very driven by money»

Es kam der Verdacht auf, dass die Hauptkoordinatorin von EF sehr daran interessiert war, Konstantin wegen Regelverstössen frühzeitig nach Hause schicken zu können, um einen anderen Schüler in der Gastfamilie platzieren zu können und mehrfache Provisionen einzustreichen. Diese Vorgehensweise wird durch den Ex-EF-Koordinator William Alexander bestätigt, der sich nach seiner Kündigung an das Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in Washington wandte.

Alexander wies darauf hin, dass Sandra Woods aus Profitgründen mehr Austauschschüler ins Land geholte hatte, als Plätze in Familien zur Verfügung standen. Sandra Woods sei eine «sehr unethische Person», die nicht mit jungen Austauschschülern arbeiten sollte. Und: «She is very driven by money.»

Zudem bestätigt Alexander, dass Woods gegenüber Konstantin eine persönliche Aversion hatte. Das ging gemäss Alexander so weit, dass sie einen anderen Schüler anstiftete, den Schweizer Schüler an eine Party mit Alkoholausschank einzuladen, um dann die Polizei anzurufen, den 16-Jährigen anzeigen zu lassen und ihn wegen dieses Vergehens nach Hause schicken zu können. William Alexander war es schliesslich, der für Konstantin eine neue Gastfamilie fand, in der er – diesmal glücklich und durchaus anpassungsfähig – sein EF Highschool Year zu Ende bringen konnte.

«He’s a punk»

Hinter den Kulissen erreichte der Fall nach verschiedenen Interventionen der Mutter eine höhere bürokratische Ebene. Danielle Grijalva, Direktorin des Komitees für Sicherheit der ausländischen Studenten in Kalifornien, wandte sich im Mai 2013 ebenfalls an das Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington mit einer Beschwerde gegen Sandra Woods. Darin wird neben der allgemeinen Bemerkung, dass ausländische Austauschschüler immer wieder ausgenützt und schlecht behandelt würden («Abuse of foreign exchange students remains rampant») aus der SMS-Kommunikation zwischen Sandra Woods und William Alexander betreffend Konstantin zitiert. Darin äussert sich Woods unflätig über Konstantin: «I wish we could just send his ass home.» («Ich wünschte mir, wir könnten diesen A… einfach heimschicken. Er wird mir das ganze Jahr Probleme machen.») Oder: «He’s a punk.» («Er ist ein Dreckskerl.»)

In einem Artikel des «K-Tipps» gibt Grijalva zudem Folgendes zu Protokoll: «Das Problem von EF und ähnlichen Organisationen ist, dass sie nicht genug passende Gastfamilien finden. Deshalb werden die Kinder ständig hin- und ­hergeschoben.» Und: «Wenn es zu Problemen kommt, heisst es immer, die Schüler seien selber schuld – aber nie die Gastfamilie, der Betreuer vor Ort oder die Vermittlerorganisation.»

Grijalva kritisiert zudem das Besoldungssystem für EF-Betreuer, die auf Provisionsbasis arbeiteten. Pro Austauschschüler gebe es mindestens 300 Dollar. Je mehr Schüler EF-Betreuer unterbringen würden, desto mehr Boni bekämen sie. Und desto höher wird auch der Bonus pro Schüler.

Keine finanzielle Entschädigung

Zwischen der Mutter Franziska Stöcklin und der Zürcher Stelle von EF gab es am 19. März 2013 – ebenfalls erst nach diversen Interventionen der Mutter – ein Gespräch, bei dem EF Schweiz gemäss Stöcklin eingesehen habe, dass im Fall von Konstantin die einem von EF vermittelten Schüler zustehende Betreuung nicht funktionierte. «Zuvor wurde ich von EF Schweiz immer als Mutter behandelt, die einfach nicht einsehen will, dass sich ihr Sohn nicht an die Regeln hält. Eine tatsächliche Überprüfung vieler klarer Falschinformationen aus den USA machte EF nicht.» EF Schweiz habe bei dem besagten Gespräch auch akzeptiert, dass ihr Dienstleistungsversprechen nicht eingehalten wurde und die Kommunikation von Sandra Woods inakzeptabel sei. EF Schweiz hat in der Folge jedoch weder auf die Forderung der Mutter nach einer offiziellen Entschuldigung vor Konstantin reagiert, noch offerierte die Firma eine finanzielle Entschädigung.

EF schweigt

Im Rahmen der Recherche für diesen ­Artikel nahm Mario Tschopp, Programmleiter EF High School Exchange Year, folgendermassen Stellung: «Der Fall ist uns bekannt, und wir haben die angezeigten internen Schritte unternommen. Wir bitten Sie jedoch um Verständnis dafür, dass wir aus Gründen des Persönlichkeitsschutzes zu Angelegenheiten, welche individuelle Kunden- und Arbeitsverhältnisse betreffen, in der Öffentlichkeit keine Stellung nehmen.» Damit bleibt unklar, ob Sandra Woods weiterhin in Kalifornien als Hauptkoordinatorin von EF tätig ist und Schweizer Austauschschüler betreut.

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Google translation:

With the host family undesirable designated by the coordinator as a “bastard”: The 16-year-old Constantine was at a student exchange organization at the mercy of money interests.

Traveling with the company EF Education First year millions of young adults abroad. Offers by EF promised, among other things, the skin-like learning about other countries and cultures, combined with learning the language. Applied, for example, ten-month high school year in the United States of EF as: “Are you ready for the big adventure? During your EF High School Years you have to accept the new challenges unique opportunity to learn many nice people to learn a foreign language and to grow up. “

An adventure and many challenges has actually experienced between September 2012 and June 2013, the then 16-year-old exchange student Konstantin in North America California. “It started with delays, although when booking at EF Switzerland a place in a host family was guaranteed for August,” the Mother Frances Stöcklin, who lives in Zurich and paid 13,500 francs for the US whereabouts of her son says. “Constantine was then only in September three weeks after the school had already started to travel to California. EF told us that they had earlier found any family. “

The home inspection as hell

The problems continued. Constantine was gone confronted in his new home from the start reproaches: “My host mother built a system of control, forbade me to go out, threatened me with consequences of alcohol consumption and took my laptop and my phone away,” says the exchange student in retrospect. “In addition, she treated me cold, and I have never felt so welcome. Later I learned that she accused me of having stolen $ 500 from her. “

The host mother and the main coordinator of EF in California, Sandra Woods, therefore were in constant contact with each other. After several criticisms of the address of the Swiss exchange student threatened termination of the EF program and the early departure. Stöcklin mother says of her only phone call with Woods: “She told me that in America children would not independently make decisions. The background was that he had not immediately reported that Konstantin not immediately went home after school. “

“She is very driven by money»

It came on the suspicion that the main coordinator of EF was keen to send Konstantin by rule violations home early to place another student in a host family can be brushed and multiple commissions. This approach is confirmed by the ex-EF-coordinator William Alexander, who turned in his resignation to the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in Washington.

Alexander pointed out that Sandra Woods had brought more exchange students into the country for profit than there were in families. Sandra Woods was a “very unethical person” that should not work with young exchange students. And: “She is very driven by money.”

In addition, Alexander confirmed that Woods against Constantine had a personal aversion. So much so that they instigated another student to invite the Swiss students at a party serving alcohol, then call the police to display the 16-year-olds and to send him home for this offense according to Alexander. William Alexander was finally who found a new host family for Constantine, in which he – could bring his EF High School Year to end – this time happy and quite adaptable.

“He’s a punk»

Behind the scenes, the case reached a higher layer of bureaucracy after various interventions of the mother. Danielle Grijalva, director of the Committee for Safety of foreign students in California, turned in May 2013 also at the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington with a complaint against Sandra Woods. This is in addition to the general remark that foreign exchange students would always exploited and mistreated (“Abuse of foreign exchange students remains rampant”) quotes from the SMS communication between Sandra Woods and William Alexander concerning Constantine. In it expresses Woods foul-mouthed about Constantine: “I wish We could just send his ass home.” (“I wish we could just send home this A … He will make me all year problems..”) Or, ” He’s a punk. “(” He’s a bastard. “)

In an article in the “K-Tips» Grijalva are also following the record: “The problem of EF and similar organizations, that they can not find enough suitable host families. . Therefore, the children are constantly back and forth “And:” If there is a problem, it always means the students are to blame – but never the host family, the Service Representative or the intermediary organization “.

Grijalva also criticized the system of remuneration for EF-workers, who worked on a commission basis. Per exchange students there were at least 300 dollars. The more students would accommodate EF-workers, the more bonuses they would get. And the higher is also the bonus per student.

No financial compensation

Between the Mother Frances Stocklin and the Zurich office of EF took place on March 19, 2013 – also after the mother various interventions – a conversation in which EF Switzerland according Stöcklin have come to see that in the fall of Constantinople the one mediated by EF students attributable care not work. “Before, I was always treated by EF Switzerland as a mother who just will not accept that her son does not follow the rules. An actual review of many plain misinformation from the United States did not make EF. “EF Switzerland have said at this week accepted that their service promise was not kept and the communication of Sandra Woods was unacceptable. EF Switzerland, however, has reacted subsequently either on the mother’s call for an official apology before Constantine, still offered the company a financial compensation.

EF is silent

As part of the research for this article, Mario Tschopp, program director EF High School Year Exchange, position as follows: “The case is known to us, and we have taken the next internal steps. However, we ask for your understanding that we take for reasons of protection of privacy on matters relating to individual customer and working conditions in the public no comment. “So it remains unclear whether Sandra Woods continues in California has been working as general coordinator of EF and Swiss exchange student care.

2006 Aug 28: Students Land in US without Schools, Hosts

By Sonia Moghe | Posted: Monday, August 28, 2006 12:00 am | My Plainview

MANSFIELD, Texas — South Korean student Jun Young Kim simply wanted to go to a public high school in America and practice English with friends.

But when he got to America, after his family paid nearly $13,000 to get him into a cultural exchange program, the 16-year-old found that he could not attend a local public school as promised. Then he learned he had to pay even more money to attend a private school.

“I don’t know why they need money like that much,” said Kim, whose stay with a Pennsylvania family ended in May. “I thought this money is for a host family, but they don’t get any money. And what is that money for? School is free, and room is free. That’s ridiculous.”

Kim’s case, involving a Texas exchange program, is one of several examples of programs failing to make the most basic arrangements for students. While most of the 111 U.S. exchange programs report no such problems, the Department of State has ordered a halt to a handful of programs that have left students stuck in hotels or otherwise in limbo.

“When these exchange programs operate under sloppiness and greed, that’s when these accidents can happen and that’s why they do,” said Danielle Grijalva, who once placed exchange students in homes for a Texas-based exchange program but is now director of a watchdog group that looks out for the safety of the students.

Some cases of foreign exchange student abuse with other programs have surfaced in recent years, including one involving Paul Stone of Berea, Ky., who pleaded guilty in April to sodomizing a 15-year-old Taiwanese girl his family hosted.

“Students arriving without homes, forced to live in basements, placed in homes of convicted felons and registered sex offenders is not cultural exchange,” Grijalva said.

In Kim’s case, Mansfield-based United Students Association Inc., a Christian cultural exchange program, had not officially secured a public school for Kim in Allentown, Pa.

The program is one of five U.S. high school programs that have been told by the State Department to withdraw their exchange visitor program designations in recent years.

Moacir Rodrigues, executive director of USA Inc., said the few instances where students were left without homes or schools were due to extreme circumstances and rarely happen.

“Families change their minds – it happens all the time,” he said. “This is a minority of cases.”

Rodrigues also said the group has little control over the final fee charged to students in the program. He said USA Inc. only charged between $3,500 and $3,850 in the past two years for the program, but representatives in 29 countries can charge whatever commission they please.

“I don’t see and I don’t know how much people charge,” he said. “They don’t spend it with me.”

Until earlier this year, Rodrigues brought in thousands of students using J-1 visas, which are issued as part of the Department of State’s exchange visitor program. Organizations that bring students to the U.S. through this program are monitored by the State Department.

In April, the State Department revoked USA Inc.’s designation that allowed it to bring in foreign students with J-1 visas because the program did not meet required standards. Stanley Colvin, who directs the exchange coordination and designation program for the State Department, said the program left several students living in hotels without host families or schools for weeks.

By the end of August, USA Inc. planned to bring in about 80 students by using F-1 visas, which are issued by the Department of Homeland Security and do not require students to have housing or schools set up prior to arriving in the U.S.

Colvin said USA Inc. also failed to have adequately trained staff.

Rodrigues would not go into specifics about how he trains his staff, who help him place students with host families, but said that he trusts them.

“They’re all Christians,” he said. “They’re all fine.”

Barbara Phillips, Kim’s host mother in Pennsylvania, said USA Inc. staff called her using her church’s member directory and asked if they could be a host family just days before he arrived in the U.S. Phillips said she was given 24 hours to make a decision.

“Right from the start I was skeptical about how legitimate they were,” she said. “It almost looks like they’re going from church to church recruiting families that way.”

Tina Sweet, a program development director in the Allentown area who called Phillips, said she only uses church directories with permission from the churches.

2010 Sep 09: Foreign exchange student goes home to Kazakhstan (PIE)

Maryland Community Newspapers Online

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010

Mix-up prevented her from being enrolled in Frederick High School
by Katherine Heerbrandt | Staff Writer

A foreign exchange student who was denied entrance into Frederick County Public Schools this semester returned to her home country of Kazakhstan last week.

Taissiya Kryazhova had hoped to be a student at Frederick High School, but a mix-up with her entrance paperwork and other complications prevented her enrollment.

She was a scholarship student in the Future Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Pacific Intercultural Exchange, based in California.

Her host family, Gerry and Peg Marose of Frederick, tried to enroll her in Frederick Christian Academy, but she was sent to a host family in Massachusetts instead.

According to John M. Doty, president of the Pacific Intercultural Exchange, Kryazhova asked to return to her home country while in Massachusetts. Kryazhova had expressed her unhappiness with the situation in several e-mails to the Maroses.

In an e-mail to the Maroses, Doty called the situation “one misunderstanding after another,” and thanked them for the advocacy and care they provided Kryazhova during her brief stay in Frederick.

The Committee for the Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, a nonprofit also based in California, reported the Pacific Intercultural Exchange organization to the U.S. Department of State, saying the organization violated regulations by not having Kryazhova enrolled in school before she came to the U.S.

Doty countered in an e-mail that he had addressed the allegations with the Department of State, and that interpretations of his organization’s role in the fiasco are “inaccurate.”

The Maroses said in an e-mail they were “extremely saddened” that Taya was sent to Massachusetts.

“This has been an experience that none of us will forget,” the Maroses said in the e-mail. “We are grateful for the community response to the needs of the wonderful student and especially to those in the media that have championed on Taya’s behalf.”

The Maroses said they have been in touch with Yerlan Kubashev, counsel of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New York, who requested contact information for those involved in Kryazhova’s stay in the U.S.

The Maroses assured Kubashev they are happy to assist.

“Taissiya worked all her life to earn the right to the FLEX scholarship, and I am appalled that we were not able to truly welcome her to America with open arms.”

kheerbrandt@gazette.net

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Pacific Intercultural’s downfall

2014 May 05: Exchange year in the US was a nightmare / Austauschjahr in den USA wurde zum Albtraum

From 20 Minuten – Germany
Austauschjahr in den USA wurde zum Albtraum
«Dreckskerl» nannte die EF-Koordinatorin den 16-Jährigen, und seine Gastfamilie kontrollierte ihn von A bis Z. Wie das Austauschjahr eines Zürchers in Kalifornien zum Horror wurde.

storybild
Für den 16-jährigen Konstantin begann das Austauschjahr in Kalifornien – hier die Golden-Gate-Brücke in San Francisco – unschön. (Bild: Keystone/AP/Eric Risberg)

 

«Bist Du bereit für das grosse Abenteuer?», fragt die Firma EF Education First in ihrer Werbung. «Während deines EF High School Years hast du die einmalige Chance, neue Herausforderungen anzunehmen, viele nette Menschen kennen zu lernen, eine Fremdsprache zu erlernen und erwachsen zu werden.» Klingt gut, doch der 16-jährige Konstantin aus Zürich hat keine guten Erinnerungen an den Beginn seines Austauschjahres 2012 in Kalifornien.

Von Beginn sei er in seinem neuen Zuhause mit Vorwürfen konfrontiert gewesen: «Meine Gastmutter baute ein Kontrollsystem auf, verbot mir auszugehen, drohte mir mit Konsequenzen bei Alkoholkonsum und nahm mir meinen Laptop und mein Handy weg», sagte Konstantin dem «Tages-Anzeiger». Sie solle ihn sogar beschuldigt haben, 500 Dollar von ihr gestohlen zu haben. Die Gastmutter und die EF-Hauptkoordinatorin Sandra Woods sollen dabei in permanentem Kontakt gestanden haben. Nach diversen Vorwürfen drohte Konstantin die Kündigung und die frühzeitige Heimreise.

Mehr Provisionen einstreichen

Es kam gemäss «Tages-Anzeiger» der Verdacht auf, dass die Hauptkoordinatorin sehr daran interessiert war, Konstantin frühzeitig nach Hause zu schicken. So könnte sie einen anderen Schüler in der Gastfamilie platzieren und mehrfach Provisionen einstreichen. Diese Vorgehensweise wird im Bericht durch den Ex-EF-Koordinator William Alexander bestätigt, der sich nach seiner Kündigung an das Departement of State in Washington wandte. Zudem bestätigte Alexander laut «Tages-Anzeiger», dass Woods eine persönliche Aversion gegen Konstantin hatte. Alexander suchte für Konstantin schliesslich eine neue Familie, wo er sein EF Highschool Year zu Ende bringen konnte.

Der Fall war aber deswegen noch nicht abgeschlossen. Konstantins Mutter wehrte sich weiter und erreichte schliesslich, dass Danielle Grijalva, Direktorin der ausländischen Studenten in Kalifornien, beim Departement of State eine Beschwerde gegen Woods einreichte. Dabei wurde auch aus dem SMS-Verkehr zwischen Woods und Alexander betreffend dem Austauschschüler Konstantin zitiert. Demnach schrieb Woods Dinge wie «I wish we could just send his ass home.» (Ich wünschte mir, wir könnten diesen A… einfach heimschicken) oder «He’s a punk.» (Er ist ein Dreckskerl).

«Kinder werden hin- und hergeschoben»

Grijalva sagte dem «K-Tipp»: «Das Problem von EF und ähnlichen Organisationen ist, dass sie nicht genug passende Gastfamilien finden. Deshalb werden die Kinder ständig hin- und hergeschoben.» Sie kritisierte auch das Besoldungssystem für EF-Betreuer, die auf Provisionsbasis arbeiteten. Pro Austauschschüler gebe es mindestens 300 Dollar. Je mehr Schüler EF-Betreuer unterbringen würden, desto mehr Boni bekämen sie.

Zwischen der Mutter von Konstantin und dem Zürcher Büro von EF gab es zwar nach diversen Anläufen der Mutter ein Gespräch. Dabei habe EF zwar zugegeben, dass nicht alles optimal gelaufen sei, doch erhielt sie weder eine Entschuldigung noch eine finanzielle Entschädigung. Gegenüber dem «Tages-Anzeiger» äusserte sich EF-Programmleiter Mario Tschopp schriftlich: «Der Fall ist uns bekannt, und wir haben die angezeigten internen Schritte unternommen (…).» Unklar bleibt, ob Woods weiterhin bei EF tätig ist – dazu will man sich aus «Gründen des Persönlichkeitsschutzes» nicht äussern.


Google translation:
He had from the beginning been confronted in his new home with allegations: “My host mother built a system of control, forbade me to go out, threatened me with consequences of alcohol consumption and took my laptop and my phone away,” Constantine said the Tages-Anzeiger, She should have even accused him of having stolen $ 500 from her. The host mother and the EFmain coordinator Sandra Woods should it have been in constant contact. After various allegations Constantine threatened termination and early departure.

Reap more commissionsIt came under “Tages-Anzeiger” suspected that the main coordinator was very interested in Constantinople to send home early. So they could place another student in the host family and multiple reap commissions. This approach is confirmed in the report by the ex-EFcoordinator William Alexander, who turned in his resignation to the Department of State in Washington. In addition, according to Alexander confirmed “Tages-Anzeiger” that Woods had a personal aversion to Constantine. Alexander was looking for Constantine finally a new family where he EF High School Year could be put to an end.The case was therefore but not yet completed. Constantine’s mother struggled further, and finally reached that Danielle Grijalva, director of foreign students in California, the Department of State filed a complaint against Woods. Here the exchange student Konstantin was also quoted on the SMS traffic between Woods and Alexander. According to Woods wrote things like I wish We could just send his ass home.” (I wish we could this A … simply send home) or He’s a punk.” (He’s a bastard).“Children are pushed back and forthGrijalva said the “K-Tip“: “The problem of EF and similar organizations, that they can not find enough suitable host families. Therefore, the children are constantly being pushed around. “She also criticized the system of remuneration for EFworkers, who worked on a commission basis. Per exchange students there were at least 300 dollars. The more students would accommodate EFworkers, the more bonuses they would get.

Between the mother of Constantine and the Zurich office of EF although there were various attempts by the mother a call. This EF had indeed admitted that not everything was done perfectly, but received neither an apology nor a financial compensation. Compared to the “Tages-Anzeiger” is EF program director Mario Tschopp expressed written: The case is known to us, and we have the next internal steps taken (…).” It is unclear whether Woods continues to work with EF – to if one is not comment of privacy protection reasons”.

2010 Sep 01: PIE (France)/ASSE/World Heritage v Beddick/Grijalva: 07 CVD 6565 (Forsyth)

In the case of PIE (France)/ASSE/World Heritage v Veronika Beddick and Danielle Grijalva it turns out that the plaintiffs did not have much of a case and had chosen to wait it out rather than take Ms. Grijalva to court. Ms. Grijalva’s and Ms. Beddick’s attorney sent this Letter of Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice to the plaintiffs in order to close the case properly.

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2007 Sep 09: Affadavit of Bachelot

P.I.E. claims ASSE fired Beddick with just cause. Supposedly filled with a need for revenge, Beddick contacted CSFES. Together, Beddick and CSFES supposedly disseminated falsehoods to French students, their natural parents and French diplomacy. P.I.E. call the Defendants’ actions a campaign of falsehood and disparagement.

2007 Sep 21: Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges v Grijalva

  • Defamation, civil conspiracy, interference with business relations and interference with contract. (Appellants’ Appendix (“AA”) 38-49.)
  • PIE’s complaint alleged that Grijalva and CSFES made false or misleading statements about PIE, its students and affiliates in the U.S., including ASSE and World Heritage. (AA 40-49.)
  • The complaint specifically alleged that Grijalva contacted the parents of a PIE student by email and falsely claimed that “all too often students are placed [by PIE and its affiliates] in the homes of convicted felons and registered sex offenders.” (AA 41.)
  • The complaint further alleged that Grijalva contacted the French Consulate regarding the enrollment of a French PIE student into a North Carolina high school, and that
  • Grijalva contacted a French PIE student in Missouri by email and said “PIE France is not interested in the safety and welfare of its students.'”(AA 42.)

2007 Sep 21: P.I.E. files Complaint and Motions for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction against Grijalva and Beddick

2007 Sep 21: Court issues Temporary Restraining Order Against Grijalva and Beddick

2007 Dec 20: Preliminary injunction barring Grijalva from contacting PIE’S students, their natural families and host families. (AA 51-54.)

2008 Feb 8: ASSE and World Heritage v Grijalva

  • Alleged that Grijalva defamed ASSE, interfered with ASSE’s business relationships and contracts, and disseminated knowingly false, malicious and misleading information to students in the ASSE program. (AA 56-59.)

2008 Mar 11: Notice of Related Case Filed By Danielle Grijalva; CSFES

2008 Mar 11: Grijalva v Brandt (this case)

A complaint filed with a retaliatory motive was not barred by the anti-SLAPP statute, so long as the claims in the complaint arose from statements or conduct independent of ASSE’s participation in the North Carolina litigation.

2008 Mar 24: First Amended Complaint Filed By Danielle Grijalva; CSFES.
2008 Apr 24: Demurrer Filed By ASSE International, Inc.; Helga Brandt.
2008 Apr 24: Motion To Strike Filed By ASSE International, Inc.; Helga Brandt.

2008 May 30: Preliminary Injunction Against Grijalva

2008 Jul 16: Notice of Non-Receipt of Opposition
2008 Jul 21: Ex Parte Application for Late Opposition filed by Danielle Grijalva
2008 Jul 21: Opposition to Motion to Strike filed by Danielle Grijalva
2008 Jul 21: Declaration of Danielle Grijalva
2008 Jul 21: Second Amended Complaint by Danielle Grijalva; CSFES
2008 Jul 22: Declaration of David Allen
2008 Jul 22: Opposition to Ex Parte Filed By ASSE International, Inc.
2008 Jul 24: Ex Parte Denied.
2008 Jul 25: Motion to Strike Granted. Attorney fees denied.
2008 Jul 25: Demurrer off calendar as Moot
2008 Aug 04: Motion for Attorney Fees by Defendants
2008 Oct 17: Opposition by Plaintiff
2008 Oct 31: Attorneys Fees Granted

2009 Mar 08: Appeal Brief

2009 May 01: Reply Brief

Electing to work on one client’s matters at the expense of another client does not constitute excusable neglect …. The trial court properly exercised its discretion to deny consideration of Appellants’ late-filed opposition.

2009 Jul 20: Grijalva-Appeal Decision

ASSE and Brandt did not demonstrate that the defamatory statements alleged in plaintiffs’ amended complaint were made in a judicial proceeding or in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a judicial body.

Accordingly, the trial court erred in concluding that ASSE and Brandt carried their burden of demonstrating that plaintiffs’ action arose from petitioning activity that is protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.

2010 Sep 01: PIE (France)/ASSE/World Heritage v Beddick/Grijalva: 07 CVD 6565 (Forsyth)

Voluntary dismissal without prejudice

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Related Links:

2008 Jun 26: The Oklahoman: Advocate for City Exchange Students Says Order Defies Free Speech
North Country Gazette: Agencies Seek to Silence Student Protection Group

2007 Sep 21: Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges v. Grijalva: Conspiracy; Defamation; Tortious Interference

From DMLP

Location of Filing/Threat: North Carolina
Source of Law: North Carolina

Court Name: North Carolina District Court, Forsyth County
Court Type: State

Case Number: 2007-CVD-656

Threat Type: Lawsuit
Date:  09/21/2007
Status: Pending
Location:  North Carolina
Disposition: Injunction Issued
Verdict/Settlement Amount: n/a
Legal Claims: Conspiracy; Defamation; Tortious Interference

PARTIES

Party Issuing Legal Threat: Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges; ASSE International, Inc.; World Heritage, Inc.

Type of Party: Organization
Location of Party: California; New York; France
Legal Counsel: Robert M. Elliot; Richard D. Menaker (Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges)

Party Receiving Legal Threat: Danielle Joyce Grijalva; Veronica Beddick

Type of Party: Individual
Location of Party: California; North Carolina
Legal Counsel: Jennifer Arno (Grijalva)

DESCRIPTION

Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges (P.I.E.), a French nonprofit that organizes student exchange programs, filed suit against Danielle Grijalva, director of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES), over emails and postings on CSFES’s website that criticized the organization’s handling of students. P.I.E.’s complaint asserted claims of defamation, civil conspiracy, interference with contract, and interference with business relationships. The suit also named as a defendant Veronica Beddick, a former employee of ASSE International, a nonprofit that assisted in student placements, alleging that she provided confidential information to Grijalva and assisted in the disputed acts.

In emails and postings to the CSFES website, Grijalva allegedly accused the plaintiff organizations of numerous wrondoings related to their treatment of foreign exchange students.

According to the complaint and other court filings, the accusations included that the organizations failed to place students in schools, failed to place students in permanent homes, placed students in homes with felons, and otherwise violated laws that regulate foreign exchange programs.

According to press reports, Grijalva has said that she sent an email to the father of a foreign exchange student at the student’s request but that she has not engaged in any “mass effort” to contact students, their families, or host families.

P.I.E.’s complaint included a request for a temporary restraining order against Grijalva and Beddick. On September 21, 2007, the court granted the request, ordering the defendants to cease communicating with P.I.E. students as well as the students’ familes, host familes, and educational institutions. The temporary restraining order, by its terms, expired after 10 days unless the court renewed it.

On Dec. 12, 2007, the court granted a preliminary injunction against Grijalva that reiterated the prohibition on direct communication with students and others involved with the plaintiffs and further ordered her to refrain from disseminating false or misleading information about the plaintiff organizations via email or her website.

On May 30, 2008, the court granted a near-identical preliminary injunction against Grijalva brought by P.I.E. associates (and plaintiff-intervenors) ASSE and World Heritage, Inc.

2009 Jun 20: Grijalva v. Brandt

The August 8, 2008 order is reversed. Grijalva is entitled to costs on appeal.

D053856.

DANIELLE GRIJALVA et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. HELGA BRANDT et al., Defendants and Respondents.

Court of Appeals of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division One

July 20, 2009

B. Application

The primary arguments that ASSE and Brandt advanced in their anti-SLAPP motion in the trial court in attempting to carry their threshold burden of demonstrating that plaintiffs’ claims arose from protected activity are contrary to well established law. First, ASSE and Brandt claimed that the “`convenient’ “timing of the filing of this action, a “mere one month” after ASSE filed its complaint in intervention in the North Carolina action, demonstrated that plaintiffs’ lawsuit arose from ASSE’s participation in the North Carolina proceeding. However, as noted above, the Supreme Court has clearly held that the fact that a party files an action after protected activity has taken place does not demonstrate that the action arose from the protected activity. (Cotati, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 69 [fact that municipality’s action was filed “shortly after” owners filed separate action did not mean that municipality’s action arose from owner’s action].)

Second, ASSE and Brandt claimed that plaintiffs’ action was a “clearly-retaliatory lawsuit.” Even assuming that plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in retaliation for ASSE’s participation in the North Carolina action, any such retaliatory motive would be irrelevant in determining the merits of ASSE and Brandt’s anti-SLAPP motion. (Cotati, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 77; see Kajima Engineering and Const., Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 921 [“Kajima wrongly focuses on the City’s filing of the amended cross-complaint as a supposed act of retaliation without demonstrating, as it must under the anti-SLAPP statute, that the amended cross-complaint `alleges acts in furtherance of [Kajima’s] right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue'”].)9

ASSE and Brandt made the related argument in the trial court that, “The SLAPP character of Plaintiffs’ action is . . . clear from the obvious insufficiency of the causes of action.” We are not aware of any authority, and ASSE and Brandt have cited none, that indicates that the insufficiency of the allegations in a plaintiff’s complaint may be used to demonstrate that the claims alleged therein arise from a defendant’s protected activity.10 ASSE and Brandt apparently intend to suggest that that the alleged insufficiency of the plaintiffs’ amended complaint demonstrates that plaintiffs’ motive in filing the action was improper. (Cf. In re Marriage of Gong and Kwong (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 510, 516 [“`”the total lack of merit of an appeal is viewed as evidence that appellant must have intended it only for delay”‘”]). However, as noted above, a plaintiff’s motive in filing an action is irrelevant for purposes of determining the merits of an anti-SLAPP motion. (Cotati, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 77.)

Any alleged insufficiency in the plaintiffs’ amended complaint regarding the context in which the purported defamatory statements were made would tend to negate, rather than support, the conclusion that ASSE and Brandt demonstrated that the statements were made in a judicial proceeding or in connection with an issue before a judicial body. ASSE and Brandt implicitly acknowledged this in their anti-SLAPP motion when they stated, “Because plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged Defendants’ allegedly `defamatory statements’ in the instant action, the exact origin of and circumstances surrounding the alleged statements are currently unknown.”

A defendant seeking to carry its burden of demonstrating that a plaintiff’s action arises from the defendant’s participation in a judicial proceeding does not carry this burden by demonstrating that the statements that form the basis of the action were made under “unknown” circumstances. Further, a defendant seeking to establish that the plaintiffs’ cause of action arises from protected activity is not limited to the plaintiffs’ pleadings. Rather, in seeking to carry this threshold burden, a defendant may submit declarations attesting to the context in which statements that form the basis of the plaintiff’s claims were made. (See, e.g., Sylmar Air Conditioning v. Pueblo Contracting Services, Inc. (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 1049, 1057 [defendant submitted declarations of its attorney and employee demonstrating that statements forming the basis of plaintiff’s complaint arose in connection with judicial proceeding]; § 425.16, subd. (b)(2) [trial court shall consider “supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based,” in ruling on anti-SLAPP motion].) In this case, ASSE and Brandt provided no such declarations. Their assertion in their anti-SLAPP motion that the statements forming the basis of plaintiffs’ claims “appear to directly relate to ASSE’s participation in the North Carolina action,” does not establish that this is in fact so. (Italics added, formatting omitted.)

While ASSE and Brandt did request that the trial court take judicial notice of various documents from the North Carolina proceeding, there is no reference in the plaintiffs’ amended complaint to the North Carolina proceeding, and nothing in the complaint suggests that plaintiffs seek to hold ASSE and Brandt liable for statements they made in any pleading in the North Carolina action. On the contrary, rather than alleging that ASSE made the statements in a judicial proceeding, plaintiffs’ amended complaint suggests that ASSE’s statements were “directed to the parents of the students and to citizens with concerns regarding the problems caused by . . . ASSE’s misconduct . . . .” (Italics added.)

Further, while plaintiffs’ amended complaint alleges nine defamatory statements,11 ASSE and Brandt’s anti-SLAPP motion fails to address, in any fashion, eight of these statements. The only allegation from the plaintiffs’ amended complaint that ASSE and Brandt mention in their anti-SLAPP motion is plaintiffs’ allegation that the defendants had falsely accused Grijalva of “making `false statements.'” ASSE and Brandt argued in their anti-SLAPP motion that this allegation arose from ASSE’s allegation in its complaint in intervention in the North Carolina action that Grijalva had disseminated “false and misleading information.”

Even assuming for the sake of argument that ASSE and Brandt demonstrated that this single allegation is premised on a statement made in the North Carolina pleading, or in connection with an issue under review in the North Carolina action, this would not satisfy their burden to demonstrate that the gravamen of plaintiffs’ claims arises from protected activity. (Martinez v. Metabolife Intern., Inc., supra, 113 Cal.App.4th at p. 188.) “[C]ollateral allusions to protected activity should not subject the cause of action to the anti-SLAPP statute.” (Ibid.)

In sum, ASSE and Brandt did not demonstrate that the defamatory statements alleged in plaintiffs’ amended complaint were made in a judicial proceeding or in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a judicial body. (§ 425.16, subd. (e)(1) and (2).) Accordingly, the trial court erred in concluding that ASSE and Brandt carried their burden of demonstrating that plaintiffs’ action arose from petitioning activity that is protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.12

IV.

DISPOSITION

The August 8, 2008 order is reversed. Grijalva is entitled to costs on appeal.

WE CONCUR:

HALLER, Acting P. J.

O’ROURKE, J.

FootNotes

1. “CSFES” is the name plaintiffs used in their complaint to identify this party. Although CSFES appears to be an acronym, plaintiffs did not provide the full name of the entity in their complaint. In their complaint, plaintiffs alleged that both Brandt and Motycka were agents or employees of ASSE. Motycka is not a party to this appeal.

2. “SLAPP” stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. (See Equilon Enterprises v. Consumer Cause, Inc. (2002) 29 Cal.4th 53, 57.) Unless otherwise specified, all subsequent statutory references are to the Code of Civil Procedure.

3. Plaintiffs also claim that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow them to file a late opposition to the anti-SLAPP motion. In light of our reversal of the order granting the anti-SLAPP motion, we need not consider this contention.

4. The original complaint indicated that the case was a “Limited Jurisdiction” case, i.e. one in which the amount in controversy did not exceed $25,000 (§ 85). The amended complaint prayed for a judgment within the “unlimited jurisdictional limit” of the trial court.

5. Several of the pleadings contained in the record, including the demurrer, do not bear a file stamp. We assume for sake of this decision that the pleadings that do not bear a file stamp were filed on the dates indicated in the documents.

6. Implicit in the court’s comment is that the court’s docket no longer precluded holding a hearing on the motion.

7. In her notice of appeal, Grijalva refers to the “judgment entered on August 8, 2008.” (Italics added.) We construe the notice of appeal as referring to the August 8, 2008 order granting the anti-SLAPP motion. The order is appealable. (§ 904.1, subd. (13).)

8. ASSE and Brant did not argue in the trial court, and do not argue on appeal, that either of the plaintiffs’ causes of action arose from statements or conduct defined in section 425.16, subdivision (e)(3) or (4). Accordingly, we restrict our analysis to section 425.16, subdivision (e)(1) and (2).

9. ASSE and Brandt reiterate these arguments on appeal, claiming that plaintiffs’ filed this “retaliatory lawsuit” a “mere thirty-two days after ASSE intervened in the North Carolina action.”

10. We express no view in this opinion on the merits of ASSE and Brandt’s demurrer to the plaintiffs’ amended complaint. As noted previously, the trial court concluded that the demurrer was moot, in light of its ruling granting the anti-SLAPP motion.

11. The nine statements are quoted in full in part II, ante.

12. Although the trial court ruled that ASSE and Brandt demonstrated that plaintiffs’ amended complaint arose from “statements made by Defendants in the complaint-in-intervention in the North Carolina case,” Brandt did not make any statements in ASSE’s complaint-in-intervention. (Italics added.) Further, ASSE and Brandt did not argue in their anti-SLAPP motion that Brandt had any involvement in the North Carolina proceeding. However, we need not resolve whether an employee of a entity may prevail on an anti-SLAPP motion based on its employer’s alleged petitioning activity under these circumstances, in light of our conclusion that ASSE and Brandt failed to demonstrate that plaintiffs’ amended complaint arose from ASSE’s participation in the North Carolina proceeding.

2010: CETUSA v. CSFES

Attempt to ‘Sue’ Child Advocate’s Mouth Shut
Court Date Scheduled for Local Child Protection Advocate 
Oceanside resident, Danielle Grijalva, will be taken to court by a student exchange placement agency for her efforts to protect foreign exchange students in Minnesota.
Grijalva formed the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, a California-based 501 (c)(3) child protection organization five years ago.  She has since been nominated twice for the City of Oceanside Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Award; received a Certificate of Recognitionin 2008 by San Diego County Board of Supervisors for being selected to receive the Channel 10 News Leadership Award for her hard work and service to the San Diego region and is currently Ambassador of Child-Safe, Ltd., of the United Kingdom.
In June, 2009, a lawsuit was filed in San Diego County Superior CourtCouncil for Educational Travel USA v. Danielle Grijalva; Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students; Complaint for Damages; Slander Per Se; Libel; Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary and Permanent; Injunction; Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage.
In 2009, a Norwegian foreign exchange student’s complaints over living conditions he endured with a host family in Minnesota prompted a state investigation by Minnesota Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann.  Gelbmann called upon lawmakers to expand the state’s authority to oversee foreign exchange programs.
Star Tribune’s Aimee Blanchette’s story, “When a foreign exchange year goes bad” dated May 17, 2009, which explained, “Another Norwood parent began making inquiriesaboutEspen’s predicament, and that’s when the secretary of state’s office got involved. WhenGelbmann began contacting some of the 37 other Minnesota schoolswhereCETUSA has placed students, he found more reports ofproblemsencountered by students.”

On July 16, 2009 during WCCO News Radio 830 interview by Don Shelby with Minnesota Deputy Secretary Jim Gelbman discussed the importance protecting these visiting teens.
Part of the interview:
GELBMANN:  … “Sure, Don.  Probably the most common problem that happens with the CETUSA organization in multiple high schools throughout the state is that they would bring more students over to Minnesota than they had families to place them in.  And, again, that is against the federal regulations, as well.  Federal law requires the organization to have as signed contract with a host family one month before the student arrives in the States.  And what would regularly happen is CETUSA would have three or four host families signed up for a specific school and five or six students would be brought over, and then CETUSA would frantically search for host families for the students.  In one case that was documented actually WCCO TV a number of years ago, I think back in 2006 um, one CETUSA organization, uh, uh, coordinator had six students living in her basement, had six foreign exchange students living in her basement because she couldn’t find host families for them —
SHELBY:  And that is violation of law —
GELBMANN:  And that is a violation of law right then and there.”
To read entire interview:
 
CETUSA is allegedly blaming Danielle Grijalva, Director of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES) for the attention given to the vital importance keeping foreign exchange students protected and safe.  “Foreign exchange students deserve a positive impression of our country.” she said.
Director Grijalva, remains firm, “Abuse by those in positions of trust will not be tolerated.”
“Do I believe this is an intimidation tactic?  Absolutely.”  said Danielle Grijalva.  She continued, “Let me emphasize that children’s safety must be first and foremost in foreign exchanges and every other aspect of education.  We want to ensure that visitors to our country enjoy a safe and enriching academic and cultural experience that builds bridges for future collaboration, be it social, educational or economic.”
Court date scheduled Friday, October 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm, San Diego Superior Court, North County Division, Dept. N27, 325 S. Melrose Drive in Vista, CA.
Trial date scheduled December 10, 2010 at 8:30 am, San Diego Superior Court, North County Division, Dept. N27,325 S. Melrose Drive in Vista, CA.
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2005 Oct 30: Exchange Student Abuse Spurs Background Checks, New Rules

From Perth, Australia to Plainwell, Mich., there is a pattern of abuse that is making headlines around the world, according to the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, a group of concerned citizens in the United States, a voluntary organization formed to protect the exchange students that arrive in the thousands from all over the world to study in the U.S.

During their stay, the students share accommodations with a host family, or a welcome family, and in numerous cases the students were reportedly abused by their host parents.

Danielle Grijalva of Oceanside, CA, CSFES director, says that given the recent events in Florida, the U.S. States Department of State should now be requiring the student exchange industry to notify and seek the permission of the natural parents when they plan to place their son or daughter in the home of a parolee or convicted criminal. The form must include the parolee’s background and the Department of Corrections Number, when applicable, and include signature lines for the natural parents granting full permission.

Ms. Grijalva was referring to the situation of the placement of a 16-year-old female Japanese exchange student in the home of a St. Johns County family in Florida where the husband is a convicted felon. The man was convicted for burglary in 1994 and sentenced to 12 years of prison, including three years of prison in Georgia and nine years of parole. On one occasion, the man was charged with sexual battery and rape in Florida He is still on parole.

She said CSFES was notified of the situation last month.

Despite the husband being a convicted felon and a parolee, the family has hosted high school Japanese girls for the past three years.

The foreign student was placed with the St. Johns County family by a Gainesville company, the Foundation of Academic Cultural Exchange (FACE). Executive director Richard Moss, who supervised the placement of the Japanese student, admits that the firm rarely undertakes criminal background checks of prospective families. Moss said that he did not feel it was important to inform the natural parents of the fact that their daughter would be placed in the home where the host father is on parole until July, 2006. Furthermore, according to Ms. Grijalva, Moss did not notify the Japanese foreign partner of the conditions of this placement of its student.

When CSFES brought its concerns to the attention of the Department of State, Stanley Colvin informed Ms. Grijalva that the natural parents had since been notified and are perfectly fine with the knowledge that their daughter is living in the home of a parolee. He further stated to Ms. Grijalva that the 144 months the host father spent in prison and the nine counts against him was for a “minor run-in with the law.” When Mr. Colvin’s rationale was questioned by an overseas expert, he responded rudely on the lines that it was none of her business.

Ms. Grijalva said that what concerns CSFES is the effect this will this have on future placements of foreign exchange students. United States parents who are contemplating sending their son or daughter abroad should ensure that the student exchange agency does not place their children with hosts who have a criminal background. Much seems to depend on the integrity of the student exchange organization, but our experience has been that when things go wrong, the agency protects itself, not the students.

“The fact that this subject is being addressed is absolutely unconscionable”, Grijalva said. “However, due to the fact that this placement was approved by FACE, it must be addressed and brought to the attention of those concerned”.

She urges that anyone having questions or concerns about the placement of foreign exchange students should address them to Stanley Colvin , director of the Department of State office of exchange coordination at ColvinSS@state.gov or Ms. Danielle Grijalva, CSFES at DGrijalva@csfes.org. More information can be found by visiting the organization’s website atwww.csfes.org.

Earlier this year, the Bush administration proposed new rules to screen host families and to regulate the agencies that sponsor the nearly 28,000 high school exchange students each year, nearly all of them minors.

There has been no requirement for a sponsor to report sexual abuse or molestation cases to the federal government nor maintain records of such cases but Colvin said that under the proposed new rules, all adult members of host families and personnel in sponsoring groups will be screened through the sex offender registry for criminal history. Sponsors would be required to report any allegation of sexual misconduct to local law enforcement agencies and to the State Department. If they fail to do so, their program would be closed.

Exchange students would be advised during orientation of inappropriate sexual contact and how to handle such occurrences.

The proposed rules were published in the Federal Register in August and were expected to go into effect after 30 days of public comment. 10-30-05

© 2005 North Country Gazette

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1986: Foundation for Academic Cultural Exchange, California (Fred Gonzales)

1998: Foundation for Academic Cultural Exchange, Inc., Florida (Richard Moss/Regina Bach/Beverly Moss/Roger Riske/Mutsumi Terui/ )

2005: Are Foreign Exchange Students Safe?

2005: Exchange Student Living With Convicted Felon

2005: Loophole landed student in home of felon

2012: The Foundation for Academic Cultural Exchange, Nevada (Richard Wiseman/Kunxiang Chen/Judith Counter)

 

2008 May 07: Agencies Seek To Silence Child Protection Group

Posted on Wednesday, 7 of May , 2008 at 10:24 am

OCEANSIDE, CA—A child protection organization is being taken to court by student exchange placement agencies due to efforts to protect foreign exchange students.   

Danielle Grijalva of Oceanside, CA, director of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES), will be in court in North Carolina on May 15 facing student placement agencies, which have obtained a restraining order to thwart her efforts. At issue is whether a child protection advocate should be restrained from reporting incidences of abuse of foreign exchange students. 

CSFES is a non-profit advocacy group for the protection of foreign exchange students. A New York teacher allegedly witnessed the physical assault of a French female exchange student by her ASSE International, Inc.  representative and sent a complaint to ASSE. The teacher provided the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES) a copy of his complaint, complete with translated letters from four exchange students who witnessed the assault. The teacher’s complaint was forwarded by CSFES to the Buffalo Police Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the U.S. Department of State. 

On Sept. 26, 2007, the ASSE partner in France, Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges (PIE France) filed a Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and Expedited Discovery against the director of CSFES. ASSE and World Heritage, Inc. filed a separate Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order against the director of CSFES.“Do I believe this is an intimidation tactic?  Absolutely.”  said Danielle Grijalva, director of CSFES.  “Let me emphasize that children’s safety must be first and foremost in foreign exchanges and every other aspect of education.  We want to ensure that visitors to our country enjoy a safe and enriching academic and cultural experience that builds bridges for future collaboration, be it social, educational or economic.”Grijalva remains firm, “Abuse by those in positions of trust will not be tolerated.”  The May 15 hearing will be held at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice, 200 North Main Street, Courtroom 4C, Winston-Salem, North Carolina  

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1999 Jul 27: Exchange student testifies in rape case

1999 Jul 29: Witness: Student, host father had consensual sex

1999 Aug 05: Company blamed in exchange student sex case

1999 Aug 05: Exchange student may get USD 649 000 for assaults

2000 Nov 15: 233 F. 3d 441 – Kristin Beul, et al. v. Asse International, Inc., et al.

2007 Sep 03: Complaint to USSD re. ASSE temporary homes

2007 Sep 21: Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges v. Grijalva

2008 Jun 26: Advocate for exchange students says order defies free speech

2008 Nov 03: Grijalva v. Brandt

2009 Feb 04: Foreign exchange program controversy