SALEM, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Education has revoked the “exemption (k)” status of Miracle Meadows School in the wake of child abuse allegations.

A letter was sent to the school Tuesday morning.

“The only oversight on k schools, they just have to file their test scores with us once a year and they get exemption k status,” said Liza Cordeiro, the department’s executive director for communications.

According to the department, the school was compliant in fulfilling this requirement.

As long as test scores are filed, no other education provisions apply, except for those respecting fire, safety, sanitation and immunization.

“If there is, for example, a health issue of some other safety issue like the fire marshal goes in, etc., etc., that is found in these particular schools, then we can pull exemption k status,” Cordeiro said.

Without the status, the students are no longer considered to be attending an academic facility, in essence, shutting the school down.

There are about 134 exemption k schools in the state, Cordeiro said.

Last Thursday, Miracle Meadows employee Timothy Aaron Arrington, 36, of Salem, was arrested and charged with child abuse after allegedly choking one of the students to the point of unconsciousness in June.

The criminal complaint against Arrington alleged the child woke up handcuffed in his room. Arrington may have handcuffed other students at other times.

This allegation was discovered after a different child was brought to the hospital to receive medical attention.

The state DHHR took emergency custody of the 19 students from the Seventh-day Adventists-affiliated school, and 14 of those were returned to their parents by Monday. The agency expected the remaining children to be picked up by the end of the week, said communications director Allison Adler.

The investigation into the school continued Tuesday.

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  • Scott

    Board of Miracle Meadows School unanimously votes to file suit against West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

    On August 17, 2014 the board of Miracle Meadows School (MMS) of Salem West Virginia unanimously voted to file a law suit against the DHHR pursuant of the recent wholesale investigation of MMS.

    According to the school’s attorney, this investigation blatantly violated the 2000 Supreme Court verdict granting “parochial alternative school” status to MMS, requiring DHHR to handle MMS as all schools are handled. This requires speaking only to students listed in the initial allegation and forbids wholesale removal of all students and access and confiscation of school records.

    On Thursday August 14, a sudden arrival of police vehicles and DHHR personnel entered the campus and without presenting search warrants or court orders, even though requested, corralled the students in a room forbidding staff access.

    They interrogated the students seeking allegations in spite of being informed by staff that the parents had requested legal representation for their children if ever interviewed by authorities. Furthermore they took every student into custody and gave the parents a limited time or face charges of abandonment and neglect. Their children would then be placed in West Virginia foster care. This activity and others understandably traumatized the students, parents, and staff.

    The students of Miracle Meadows School come from all over the United States and are enrolled by parents/guardians, who pay tuition, have ongoing contact with their children, visit the campus on a regular scheduled basis, and keep abreast of the progress and safety of their children. Miracle Meadows School does not enroll any student from any social services in which parents have lost their parental rights. MMS is an independent Christian school and no state or federal money is accepted by MMS. A typical parent at MMS is a caring, involved, and invested parent who has a high level of expectation for the safety, privacy, and progress of their child. They retain the right to remove their child at will unless their child has been court ordered.

    The DHHR seeks to require MMS to be licensed. But licensure by the DHHR legally forbids the requirement of religion. As with all religious schools, there are components of the program that require religious involvement by the students. Miracle Meadows School has fought successfully to be under the Department of Education rather than licensed by DHHR.

    Miracle Meadows School has been taken to court by DHHR in 1994 and again in 1999. Both verdicts were against the DHHR and in favor of MMS. Both times the allegations against MMS were demonstrated false.

    After losing the verdict in 1999 the DHHR appealed to the WV Supreme Court. That ruling given in December of 2000 was again in favor of MMS and highly protective of it as a school. The MMS board has decided that it has no recourse to protect the school but to initiate a law suit.

    As of current status we have not received any formal information about the allegations against the school, and after 26 years of harmonious relationship with the WV Department of Education we currently have received no communication regarding any change in our status. Once we receive the formal allegations we will communicate that to the public in a different statement.

    • steve davis

      Scott, are you affiliated with the school?

  • Scott

    How do these writers even get jobs. There is all kinds of horrible grammar and spelling.