• Kimberly Fae Gabrielle Thomley

    To Whom It May Concern
    My family and I come from the Big Island of Hawai’i, from the Puna District; diverse in cultures along with rampant poverty, unemployment, early unwanted pregnancies, mental and physical disabilities, drugs and alcohol and school drop outs. Here you will find a different side of Paradise.
    John Christopher is now 24 years old .He is a story of success, a Cancer Survivor of a childhood brain tumor (Medullablastoma), and a recipient of a college scholarship from the American Cancer Society and other generous organizations. He is one of the greatest examples and success stories of the “No Child Left Behind Act.” He graduated 12th grade with a 4.0 GPA, and after graduation (walked the line) worked for Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Restaurant in Kailua Kona, Hawai’i Island, Ala Moana, in Honolulu and in Lahina, Maui, for a year (2007-2008) before starting college. He wanted a year of cooking experience before going to college. John particularly chose Florida because he believed it to be a State most similar to home, that being: full of “ALOHA” He wanted to go away to the Mainland for his degree because sometimes in Hawai’i Mainland College and/or University degrees are acknowledged above local ones. Not only that. The Orlando Culinary Academy in particular, that recently changed its name to the Orlando Culinary College, led us to believe that the Le Cordon Bleu Program they offered us was the most elite and most promising degree of an Associate of Science for future careers in the restaurant management and cooking industry. This was to be a 15 month program along with a three month internship. We were so, so excited when he got accepted. John has requested and accumulated a list of outstanding recommendations, achievement awards, a letter from our previous Governor, Linda Lingle, acknowledging him in an essay contest, subject: Health and Fitness, and a publication in our local newspaper, the Hawai’i Tribune Herald, for a book he read in his High School Book Club titled The Dangers of Methamphetamine. Presently, John is the Chef and Assistant Manager at the Volcano Golf and Country Club. He is also a new father of his 3 week old son, Forest Paul. Sometime before the schools Spring Break of 2009, John was bitten between his upper lip and the bridge of his nose by a venomous spider in the apartment he rented while attending college. The spider was a ‘Brown Recluse’. Two or three days after he was bitten he made his way back to the school but by then his face was swollen out of control. Both eyes were now swollen shut. His teacher sent him to his student advisor. John eventually ended up at the Dr. Phillip’s Hospital, Orlando, but not before going to a clinic recommenced by his student advisor, and given a non-effective antibiotic by the doctor there; possibly, and more than likely, a missed diagnosis occurred. John waited 2-3 days waiting for the antibiotic to give him some relief from the excruciating pain and dangerous swelling but the ER was his only choice now. I have requested John’s medical records ‘several’ times from the clinic and hospital but I get nothing back. It also concerns me (disabled school teacher/ age 52), and either joining a Class Action law suit or a personal suite against the Education Corporation. Inc., Lle Cordon Bleu Schools of North America. The subject is the unlawful dismissal of John after he was bitten, and the severe bulling he endured by other students at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College in Orlando Florida. The President, Vice President and John’s Student Services Advisor bullied and intimidated me resulting in a ‘nervous breakdown. I was hospitalized for 3 days in the psychiatric Ward in Cocoa, Florida. I was bullied over a period of 5 months while I was in Orlando trying to get John back in school. John was not granted his request for a medical leave of absence, nor was anything done about the students who cut up his school uniforms, stole his books (bought through a cancer survivor’s scholarship) school shoes and his chef utensils). It was now Spring School Break. He ended up going to Montreal, Canada, where he had a close friend. He eventually hitch-hiked from Montreal back to Orlando and was 4 days late. He was kicked out of school and ended up homeless; and I quote the President, Mr. Joe Hardiman, word or word, “We have students who want this so badly they sleep in their cars

    • mariabalinska

      Hello Kimberley, thank you for sharing your and John’s harrowing story with us. If you want to talk with people who advocate on behalf of bullied children and keep track of anti-bullying legislation, one organization to get in touch with is http://www.bullypolice.org