Comment HERE

This is the best place to leave your comments if you want them to be as visible as possible. If you want to comment on a certain post, you can refer to it, or link it here. If you leave comments after updates, unfortunately, they are reduced to a small link such as: “3 comments” at the bottom of each update, which is not really visible. Here, comments are shown whole.

But of course, this is only a suggestion and you can continue to comment anywhere you like.

I hope to include comments that further productive discussion, favorable or unfavorable. Bone-headed, I-live-in-a-bubble-and-have-limited-lateral-thinking-skills comments are more difficult to find merit in. (I’m just saying…)

18 responses to “Comment HERE

  1. A Concerned Parent

    As a parent with over 15 years of experience with administrators at St. Mary’s and having spent over 35 million yen in tuition fees, I know the situation well at this school and certainly have a financial investment in the success of this institution. However, over the years I have never been ceased to be amazed at the lack of urgency felt among the administrators to develop a mature dialogue with a broad cross-section of the parents. Their unprofessionalism and general arrogance toward the “consumers” of their services has been a constant source of frustration for us a parents of children at St. Mary’s and, frankly, sadness for our children.

  2. You can do something

    I work at another international school in Tokyo and this is certainly an interesting case to be a fly on the wall about…we have similar issues here, but not to the extent that St. Mary’s does. Every year we see a new flock of “St. Mary’s refugees” at our school…

    All the great minds and business acumen of the parents of St. Mary’s do have the potential to gain rightful inclusion in the decisions of the school. Up until now, individuals are rightfully wary of being the first ones–or only ones– to say something, when they feel something isn’t right. Shut up and take it. That is not something that would be taught to the students–why should adults in their lives live it that way?

    There is no such legal thing as a parent’s union, that is backed up by a set of laws like there is for trade unions, when workers are being mistreated. So, parent groups, as many and united as they may be, still need to set up consequences for the school when things are not agreeable. An honest administration would respect parents’ wishes (reasonable ones) just by virtue of their being customers–our school is more like this. One consequence for example: parents do fundraising they hold long purse strings with all that cash and should leverage it.

    As well, the problem is that parents, although they pay a lot per family, are weak because they are individual customers. In business, large customers or shareholder blocks always have power. The families should unite their tuition payments in a large trust fund to the school (by grade for example) and have elected parent trustees to release 100% or 85% etc. of the funds to the school per quarter–if the school meets certain criteria. If the school persecutes any one of the families, more money is withheld. There needs to be a meeting set up with parents, teachers and students (or student surveys) and administrators every quarter to ensure that things have been going as they should: deadbeat teachers are coming back to life, concerns are being tackled, administrators can identify at random at least 85/100 students by name each etc (ha!). And just by uniting like that by lumping their financial power together, the parents can really make an impact on any decision of the school.

    The parents cannot hold back all the money because teachers’ salaries and bills have to be paid. But, they can certainly curb any bonuses those Catholic Brothers or administrators were going to treat themselves to. Parents also should be careful not to be drunk with power and cripple the school financially over nit-picking BS, because they will alienate the teachers and after all, most parents are not professional educators. Parents should think about how to orchestrate this as simply, yet meaningfully as possible.

    If any money is withheld, at the end of the year, it can be forwarded to the parents’ fundraising account and be distributed among the students or buy new equipment etc. for the students. Or donated to charity in the school’s name!

    As well, not all parents have to be in this Tuition Guild / Trust Fund Payment, just a large number of parents. Just by having that at the school, the administrators will certainly listen to parents more (probably because they don’t want more people to join and pay them indirectly).

    With all those bankers, CEOs and diplomats! Someone can certainly think of something. Think about it. And do something.

  3. Caterina

    I am also a long time a St. Mary’s parent and feel that there has not been a fair representation and portrayal of the school’s administration. These are people extremely dedicated to a good education of the children and very open for a mature dialog, be it at an individual level, be it as a group of parents. Certainly the critics should try to communicate directly with them to understand what I say. Of course, there will always be room for improvement, but if there is one thing that I do not see, is the administration’s arrogance or unwillingness to dialogue. Just try it.

  4. concerned alumnus

    As an alumnus I have to say that I am not proud of my alma mater and have lost faith in that school. I was a victim of bullying and was almost expelled from the school because the administration took the side of the bullies. I survived because the psychological tests the school had me undergo revealed that the problem was with the bullies being mean to me and that the school was acting inapporpriately. Also, a brother who was the retired provincial (now deceased may he RIP), stepped in to protect me.

    Thanks to the school, I am no longer on speaking terms with my father. I complained how my Dad was physically abusing me. A certain lay administrator told me that I make my Dad look evil and to submit to him since he really cares for me. I was later diagnosed by a psychologist as a victim of child physical and emotional abuse.

    There have been so many students, alumni, teachers and even high school principals who have been victims of the nonsense that has gone on at the school. How sad. I wished that I had never moved to Japan and attended that school.

    That school was a great and superb school until 1978, the year that Br. Michel Poitras stepped down as high school principal. All was downhill ever since that time. Now, the school has disintegrated. There used to be a time when the school would have high numbers of students attending ivy league colleges from a single graduating class. Such is not the case any more.

    I consulted with one of my former teachers who told me that the problem is that the school had abandoned its Catholic roots and principles. O St. Mary’s, you unfaithful child, return to the Lord your God with your heart and ask for forgiveness and reform your ways.

  5. International Parent

    I have been a St Mary’s parents for 8 years during a long expatriation in Tokyo. I always thought that St Mary’s had a quite unprofessionnal administration and management, and now that my kids have been in other international schools, in other countries, I can only confirm that there is a great difference between well-managed schools and St Mary’s. The only very positive point at St Mary’s were the quality and dedication of the most of the teachers towards the students – except an “old guard” of teachers who were comfortably waiting for retirement and repeating year after year the exact same lessons, not ashamed of this at all. At the time, we didn’t dare to complain about this fact, as we were just hoping for our kids to sail through unharmed until the next year when, hopefully, we were pushing to get them join (for whatever reason we could find) in a “new guard” teacher class. I must say that now I regret to have been so passive to this, not trying to gather other parents to act on this, and I feel that finally that is Ms Tran who had paid the price for this. I must say that this whole story will not make me to recommend St Mary’s to other parents, on the contrary. Sadly.

    • stmaryslabordispute

      Dear International Parent, I wish families like yours realized how lucky the school was to have children with the DNA of CEOs and ambassadors even interested in their back-waters educational institution. At 8 years, that’s about $160,000 USD per child. Considering that, I think you as a customer had more power than you think. It’s inexcusable that year-after-year, the stewardship of the school is left to a poor and unaccountable management team. It has become a myth that St. Mary’s is the only viable option in Tokyo for private international schools–I think a recommendation system (like Google Review) is an important tool for all former and even current parents to use. I encourage you to use it.

      You are unfortunately right, that a culture of silence among the school community creates a system full of stresses that are unchecked–and it unnecessarily makes martyrs out of people simply bringing up issues. However, Ms. Tran would disagree that she’s had to pay the price. In terms of finances, learning experience and the educational benefits of this matter, it’s been a net benefit. It’s great that she’s had the temperament and will to push these issues until they burst. Now everyone can see the truth.

  6. concerned alumnus

    Dear International parent,
    There are too many complaints even by parents and former high school Principals. Too bad that the good teachers have retired; these are Mr. Marsh Warfield, Mr. Ed Paradis, Mr. Robert Scripko, Mrs. Carol Melby, Mrs. Maureen Merrit, and Miss Rose Fazio, The school used to be a good school until 1978, the year that Br. Charles Milot stepped down as high school Principal and Assistant Headmaster and returned to Canada. According to Mr. Paradis, a leadership vaccum set in and all was downhill ever since. Things got even worse since 1988 until this day.

    Around 2005, there was an incident when a St. Mary’s student was taken off campus, by force by his peers, to the Tama River and beaten up to the point of near death. How sad! I thought I had it bad. I was bullied also, but not to that extent.

    There were 3 high school Principals who were superb administrators; Fr. Matthew Ehmke, Mr. Harold Fleetham, and Br. Charles Desjarlais. They resigned because of mistreatment by the man who was a long time Guidance Counselor. That man was a corrupt power that be at the school who made life miserable for many teachers and students. He severely mistreated me.

    I am a case of someone who would have done much better at ASIJ.

    Take care.

  7. Teja Arboleda

    As I mentioned in my FaceBook post response, I am a St Mary’s abuse survivor, and producer. I’m working on a documentary called “Ring Around The Collar” about sex abuse by priests. If you think your story will bring about necessary change, please contact me directly at tejaarboleda (at) gmail.com

    • stmaryslabordispute

      Hi, we’ve reposted your comment in “Forum” which is specifically about the sexual abuse cases.

  8. Good replies in return of this matter with genuine arguments and telling the
    whole thing concerning that.

  9. your mom

    This website needs to go away. It is an invasion of privacy. Bully.

  10. http://moneybigandsmall.wordpress.com/about/about-me/#comment-889

    Financial advice from someone who knows the true meaning of work.

    Ms. Tran you are a genius! Can I get a reference?

    • stmaryslabordispute

      I sense some sarcasm. Here are some things helpful to know: First, being a millionaire in yen doesn’t quite make a person a millionaire in dollars. Do you know the level of cash payouts of Japanese courts? Ms. Tran sure has, and she sues anyway. Second, the judicial system of any country is the only place where individuals can go head-to-head with major institutions or corporations because it is based on evidence. When an individual is bereft of the wherewithal to fight using money, politics, physical strength or connections to the mob outside courts, the courts are what forces each side to use what actually matters: evidence. Sometimes, courts don’t get it right and the only evidence is circumstantial, but the fact still remains that this is how civil society is actually set up to solve problems. Unfortunately, this is lost on many citizens and residents of countries that have long fought for this privilege. The rhetoric of “suing for money” as something derogatory comes from entities that don’t want you to use this very simple and important tool against them. An individual taking an institution down through courts is abhorrent to…insitutions. Finally, in the case that started this blog, Ms. Tran hadn’t sued for money at all. Facts. Check ’em.

  11. As another victim of Lambert who has been following the events here, I am concerned about the panel. Why? It has been 10 months since the headmaster lied about Lambert in his letter to parents. Then the lies just
    continued. Why would I trust the panel for all the reasons which the blogs identify.

    Just imagine how many victims are out there who relive their horrors every day who are not aware of the blogs ?

  12. Curious ??

    Brother Michel JUTRAS was Chairman of the school corporation when the sex scandal surfaced. He is now off the radar. But SMIS on Facebook still feature him. He clearly must take some blame for Kagei’s lies and coverup.

    Why after Kagei’s established dishonesty was the panel announcement letter not issued by the current school corporation ?

    Just one more of many questions raised about this PR panel

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