By Aaron Payne
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 or 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.