Bright Futures schools in Inland Empire barred from getting new students amid safety concerns

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 11:11PM
Two Bright Futures academies in the Inland Empire have been prohibited from taking any new students after concerns over the safety of the students with special needs.


APPLE VALLEY, Calif. - Two Bright Futures academies in the Inland Empire have been prohibited from taking any new students after concerns over the safety of the students with special needs.

One of those campuses in Apple Valley may have to dim its lights for good.

"We've responded to the campus approximately 132 times. We've made eight to 10 arrests and taken approximately 30 criminal reports," Apple Valley police Capt. Frank Bell said.

Those calls for service range from riots to sexual assaults to gang activity all within the span of 15 months. The school serves children with autism, learning disabilities and other behavioral issues.

"The issue is the control that the administrators, that the teachers, that the school staff has with the kids," Bell said.

The for-profit school is in danger of losing its business license after the police department recommended the town council not renew it.

"We have to follow our municipal code guidelines and have that remedy to revoke a business license if we think it's better for the health, safety and welfare of our citizens," council spokesperson Kathie Martin said.

Last week, the Department of Education paid a visit to the Apple Valley and Riverside campuses. In December, 18-year-old Anthony Corona died while riding home on a bus from the Riverside campus following an altercation.

Both locations are now barred from enrolling new students because of the safety concerns.

"There had been prior discussions with the school administrators. We were told that there would be increased training or different numbers of staff members, things like that, but never saw any direct result," Bell said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Bright Futures Academy. They sent a copy of a letter they sent to Apple Valley's town council outlining ways to fix the problems.

Those measures include the following:
  • Hire a full-time uniformed officer for the campus
  • Hire after-hours security guards
  • Attend town hall meetings regularly
  • Meeting monthly with law enforcement to address concerns

Bright Futures Academy President Betti Colucci said she agrees with the department's suspension on new students while it conducts the investigation and that it will not impact their operations.

Colucci also said the number of calls for service are misstated because 39 of them were for a malfunctioning alarm, 19 were for follow-ups and some other calls were not related to students.

Officials with the Department of Education will do a follow-up on the school next month, recommending whatever guidelines they want to set for the campus. School officials will also go in front of the town council to try and maintain the campus business license.
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