TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Revolution Academy, located on the campus of First Christian Church in Tyler, closed its doors in early October.
The school was leasing a building from the Church. First Christian Church in Tyler was not related to anything concerning Revolution Academy.
Outside of the school, management posted a letter to the public, explaining the school was shut down due to the health of one of the owners.
Since the school closed down, parents and employees have reached out to KETK News, claiming children were left without a teacher, and the staff was never paid.
Concerned citizens created a Facebook page “Take a Stand Against Revolution Academy of East Texas,” where hundreds shared similar experiences.
“MY DAUGHTER NEVER STEPPED FOOT BACK IN THAT SCHOOL”:
Inside the school, bright colors paint a pretty picture of Revolution Academy, but if you ask Brandi Williams looks can be deceiving.
“I was shocked and I was like what kind of care has my four year old been getting these last 2 and a half weeks, and it’s just […] I felt sick to my stomach,” said Williams
Williams sent her 4-year-old son to Revolution Academy on the promise he would be receiving private school education, but red flags began to catch her attention.
“All of the teachers had left because they weren’t getting paid, so he hasn’t really had a teacher this whole time, he hasn’t been learning anything,” said Williams.
Williams says she began to hear other families complaining about the same issues, but the final straw was when she picked her son up, “when they brought him to me he was filthy from head to toe, like from head to toe.”
After two and a half weeks, Williams withdrew her son from the school.
“There was literally no adults in the morning. so when I would drop my daughter off they would not be anybody but the security guard there,” said Stephanie Hoover, another parent.
Hoover sent her 3-year-old daughter to the school after being told she would receive one on one learning within a smaller classroom size.
However, she says that quickly changed.
“The teacher was never there, we would get there early, the teacher had already gone for the day, there was always some kind of excuse”, said Hoover.
Another parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, told KETK, her daughter started attending the school in August of 2019. The school seemed perfect, describing it as “what I was looking for.”
Months later, things changed, stating “my daughter never stepped foot back in that school.”
The parent says things went well for months. However, things changed in the 2020 school year. With more children and new teachers, came concerns stating, “I wasn’t aware of who were teachers and who were parents.”
In March of 2020, the anonymous parents concerns increased,
“My daughters face was red/purplish and she was extremely sweaty when I picked her up, as well. I was told they had just come in from outside. She got in the car and almost finished a whole bottle of water! My daughter didn’t want to return anymore that week, so she didn’t.”
Many parents blamed themselves, stating they should have seen “the red flags.”
“I’LL NEVER SEE THAT MONEY”:
Parents weren’t the only ones who claim they were mistreated by the school. Former employees reached out to KETK, explaining the were never paid for their work.
“Each week some sort of money, some sort of money would come, and it never did,” said Hayli Hughes.
Hughes and her fiancé thought they had found their dream job. Stepping out on their own, they looked forward to starting work and obtaining benefits like a steady paycheck and insurance benefits.
But, months into their employment, the couple claims they were only paid once, after they asked management for enough money to pay certain bills.
According to former employees, Brandy Castaneda was one of the managers. In an email from Castaneda to the staff on August 30, she wrote “I assure you that everyone WILL be paid for time worked. As soon as I know ANYTHING, I promise I’ll let you know.”
A week later on September 4, Kacee Mullikin, one of the owners sent another email to staff stating, “I would like to begin by apologizing for the situation our payroll is currently in.”
“I’m genuinely worried that I’ll never see that money,” said Georgianna Dumas.
Dumas says she was told employees would be paid weekly, based on a conversation before signing a work contract. Weeks later when she thought she would be receiving her first paycheck, she was told they would be paid monthly.
“Probably a month went on with all these excuses back and forth, and at that point, I gave them one final notice. I said that if I don’t get paid by the end of the week, then I’m going to go ahead and file a claim with the Texas Workforce” said Andrea Martine, another former employee.
All three former employees say they have filed claims with the Texas Workforce Commission, hoping to receive the money they feel they are owed.
“That was our biggest concern for me and several other employees, we just wanted the school to close down, we wanted the kids to get somewhere better, anywhere is better than going to revolution academy,” said Dumas
KETK reached out to the owners, Eli and Kacee Mullikin for a comment on the accusations before we aired the story, in an email, we were told:
“My wife is currently in the hospital and is unable to be interviewed at the moment. I am a full-time student and have midterms to study for. I will do my upmost best to have the letter done before you air. However, my top priority is my wife’s health, and nothing else.”-Eli Mullikin
In an email from Kacee Mullikin to staff, she informed them about her health. Stating she had been diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
“Due to this hypertension, my body produces too much spinal fluid which puts an immense amount of pressure on my brain. In direct result of that there is a lesion on my brain, although this lesion is not cancerous I am having to do oral chemo,” wrote Kacee in an email provided to KETK from a former employee.
TEXAS PRIVATE SCHOOLS:
According to the Texas Private School Association, “there is no requirement that a school be accredited in Texas.” Unaccredited private schools are in the same legal category as a home school.
However, if a school has children who are 5 years old or younger, they need to be licensed by the Department of Family and Protective Services Child Care Licensing division.
KETK went to the Department of Family and Protective Services Child Care Licensing division website to confirm Revolution Academy was registered and found no documents linked to the school.