Terrible Lesson? Teenaged twins put in class with younger children

(WSVN) - One of her twin daughters was put in a class with kids as young as 5 years old, another was put with third and fourth-graders. The problem? The twins are 15 years old … and why were they put in classes with little children? Tonight Patrick Fraser has the answer in a story we call Terrible Lesson.

Having twins brought Laranda twice the fun — and, of course, twice the headaches…

Laranda Pinnock, upset at school: “When one gets sick, the other gets sick. When one wants an iPhone, the other wants an iPhone. It’s hard and it’s costly.”

Something else that’s hard and costly is finding the right school for the 15-year-old girls.

Laranda Pinnock: “Because they have delayed developmental learning and they have ADHD.”

Two years ago, Laranda found an academy in Sunrise that would take the state-funded scholarship the girls have.

Laranda Pinnock: “The principal said she was a Christian and they know how to handle kids with disabilities, and she said she would be a good fit for the girls.”

But this September, the school principal made a decision to move the girls out of their eighth grade class and put them into different classes…

Since the school is so small, different grades are in the same room.

Sinaii Howard, class with first and second-graders: “First and second and kindergarten — The same class all day.”

While Sinaii was with kids as young as five, Simaya was put in the class with third, fourth and fifth-graders … and both girls say their learning stopped.

Patrick Fraser: “Is there a teacher helping you?”

Simaya Howard: “Sometimes. Sometimes she can’t help.”

Laranda says neither the school staff nor the girls told her what was going on.

Laranda Pinnock: “I wasted four months, but I just found out about it three weeks ago.”

Laranda then contacted the principal and asked why her eighth grade daughters were in classes with little kids.

Laranda Pinnock: “She said, ‘The girls were boy crazy,’ and I said, ‘What do you mean boy crazy?’ She told me one of the twins was talking to too many boys and she is too friendly with boys.”

Laranda wanted to transfer the girls to another school, but was told if she wanted their records, she’d have to pay the $9,000 tuition for the rest of the year — money their scholarship would have paid if the girls stayed at Christi Academy, and money the school was counting on to pay its staff.

Laranda Pinnock: “Of course I did not have $9,000, so they have had to stay at Christi.”

The girls say they are not allowed to socialize with their eighth grade classmates, and only hear from them through taunts.

Sinaii Howard: “A girl from my class — she called me a whore.”

Laranda Pinnock: “So they are making fun of them via internet, and when they are in school, they make fun of them calling them names, dummy and so forth.”

I contacted the principal at Christi Academy. Shirley Gil didn’t want to talk on camera, but said she was really trying to help the girls.

She told me that they were too social, that they had raging hormones and she moved them to elementary classes so they would not be distracted by boys their age.

As for learning, she said their teachers came in every day and gave them one-on-one tutoring sessions.

The principal then said she would release the girls’ records so they could transfer to another school … and it may be just in time.

Sinaii was so upset about sitting with 5-year-olds, she told me the girls started thinking about taking a terrible step.

Sinaii Howard: “They make us feel suicidal sometimes because of the way they treat us.”

But now the girls are happy…

With all the details sorted out, Laranda has been able to move them out of Christi Academy and to a public school.

Laranda Pinnock: “No more kindergarten, no more first grade, no more second grade. That’s good, that’s awesome.”

And instead of talking about suicide, Sinaii and Simaya are excited and talking about what they want to do with their lives.

Sinaii Howard: “Be a nurse because I want to help people.”

Simaya Howard: “I want to be a doctor to save people’s lives.”

No more classes with first-graders. Time to plan their future.

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