Family dispute allegedly led to sudden closure of Miami private school

MIAMI – Parents were still showing up Tuesday outside the Allapatth Wynwood School in Miami after the non-profit, private school suddenly closed its doors, leaving its 150 students without a place to learn.

“It ain’t easy,” one father, Quinton Evans, said. “Every day my son is (asking), ‘When the school gonna open? When is the school gonna open?’ I do not know. I can’t lie to him.”

“If the Fonseca’s come back, we’ll be back. If the Fonseca’s don’t come back, we’re not coming back. It’s just that simple,” one parent, Laquita Young, said.

Some parents, like Young, have now transferred their kids to a public school even though they couldn’t get copies of their student records.

“No, we couldn’t get the records. They actually accepted him without the records, only because of the situation that we’re undergoing right now,” Young said.

In a letter sent to parents back on Dec. 20, a lawyer for the school said there had been a change in staff, with the school now in the process of reorganizing.

“Unfortunately, due to missing information and investigations being conducted by several governmental agencies prompted by phone calls, the school will be closing starting December 23, until further notice,” the letter read.

“It’s an internal family issue. I’m not going to get into the personal details about it,” former assistant principal Herbert Fonseca Jr. said.

Fonseca Jr. is the son of the school’s owner and previously served as the assistant principal before he was suddenly fired back in early December.

“It really hurts me — it’s emotional for me to see these kids displaced like that over some nonsense,” he said. “It’s not about me. Right now, it’s not about me. It’s about the school, it’s about the kids, it’s about the parents.”

Fonseca Jr. says no reasons were given and his repeated attempts to reach his father have failed.

“We have a lot of special need kids here,” Fonseca Jr. said. “I realize that the public school system has offered to accommodate these children, but these children have therapists that are involved in the classroom with the children.”

He said he believes his father, who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, is being given bad advice.

“So I call upon (school attorney) Mr. Milian to come out and think about these kids and the displacement and chaos that they have created over I don’t know what,” Fonseca Jr. said.

“It’s really hard because it’s like, we live right across the street, so the fact that their school is automatically closed out of nowhere and now we have to literally, out of nowhere, find somewhere else to go, it’s so unfair,” Young said.

It’s unclear, at this point, when the school wants to reopen.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools has so far taken in nine kids from the school, who are attending three different nearby schools.

The private school, we’re told, has about 150 students — all subsidized by public grants.

Local 10 News is awaiting a response from the state’s Department of Education on whether the school now has to give back that taxpayer money.

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