SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - "I am absolutely shocked and outraged that an agency would subject any human being to this type of treatment," said Caddo Parish School Superintendent, Dr. Gerald Dawkins.
Dawkins publicly scolded Universal Placement International after hearing that the company has been accused of extorting money out of teachers through reported incredibly high fees, and their work visas.
"Universal Placement would say you're going to have to reapply for this, this is going to cost you some additional money, and that was the kind of leverage they could hold over them," said Louisiana Teachers Federation President for Caddo Parish, Jackie Landsdale.
"We've also heard that some of the housing issues about where people are staying and we're going to track that down starting tonight," said Dawkins.
We did the same.
We found a Filipino teacher at a local apartment complex.
He did not want to be identified but said his living conditions are very uncomfortable, and that most of his check goes to UPI.
"I paid 8,000 dollars before I came here," said the teacher. He was talking about how much he paid before he even came to America to begin a career as a special education teacher.
Four Filipino teachers live in one apartment, which is a two bedroom two bathroom. Two teachers share one room, two share the other. They each pay about 300 dollars a month in rent. One Filipino teacher says at the end of each month he has no extra money.
"Some of these allegations are in fact true," said Dawkins who was quick to distance Caddo from UPI, and said the deal to bring them to Caddo was brokered before his arrival in 2008.
"I can't disagree with that, the only thing I can say is sometimes saying I don't know is not good enough," said Landsdale.
Caddo employs 43 of the Filipino teachers.
"We're better than this, we should not be participating in these types of behaviors," said Landsdale.
The Caddo Parish School Board is expected to discuss a proposed policy change in an upcoming meeting, to deal with the situation.
KSLA News 12 has placed a call to UPI, but the call has not been returned.
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