Revolution Academy of East Texas closed Friday Oct. 9, after less than two years as a school.
TYLER, Texas — Revolution Academy of East Texas closed Friday, Oct. 9, after less than two years as a school. It was advertised as a Cognia accredited private school specializing in children with special needs or those who didn’t acclimate well to public school.
However, according to the Better Business Bureau, the only license Revolution Academy has is as a child care center, not a private school.
“It’s just a flat out lie,” Brandi Williams said.
Williams and her friend Stephanie Hoover enrolled their children at the school in September after theirs closed because of the pandemic. Williams knew Revolution’s owner, Kacee Mullikin, and had heard great things about the school, but her sons time there would be short.
“I had a weird gut feeling that something was just off,” Williams said.
Her concerns grew after the first day when her son appeared to have spent the whole day outside in the heat and was covered in dirt. Williams said one day he had a slight fever, and she wasn’t notified. Her suspicions would then be confirmed when she noticed her sons water bottle almost always came home full, and she caught Mullikins in a lie.
“I sent him to school every day with a pretty good-sized water bottle,” Williams explained. “I asked Kacee, ‘does he drink his water throughout the day?’ She was like, ‘Oh, yeah, he takes it with him everywhere and we have a water filling station so that we can refill water.’”
Williams found it hard to believe and realized she had a way to find out the truth. Every morning, Williams puts vitamin C powder in the water bottle before taking her son to school.
“Had he drank all of it, and then refilled it, you wouldn’t taste that vitamin C powder in there,” she said. “So, I took a drink of it and lo and behold, it tasted like the vitamin C powder.”
Williams had also never met her son’s teacher, she would later learn the reason why, which would lead her to pull her son out of Revolution Academy.
“I think his teacher was only there for like three days after he started, and then she quit because of the same reason that all the other teachers quit,” Williams said.
Hoover enrolled her 3-year-old daughter thinking she would receive one on one time with teachers at an accredited private school. She said she never would have taken her to Revolution Academy if she knew then, what she knows now.
“There were babies crawling in the hallway, there was no adult supervision so I would end up having to stay until an adult would get there,” she explained. “There was even an incident where we went up there, where they didn’t know where my child was.”
The last day her went to Revolution Academy, Hoover said she was upset after having peed her pants, something the girl hadn’t done in a while.
“I’m assuming that she wasn’t allowed to go back inside to go to the bathroom, and I really don’t know how long she was in those pants,” Hoover said. “Whenever I took her home to bathe her, she had a hickey mark on her shoulder.”
Tonia Castaneda was a teacher at Revolution Academy from March until August, and she said Mullikins had staff keep the students outside every day for hours on end.
“They [administration] often got mad because I would ask for a break,” Castaneda said. “I would be outside from 7:30 until 5:00 or even sometimes as late as 7:00 and I had no breaks whatsoever. I even had to eat my lunch while watching the kids.”
Castaneda was let go from the school without receiving a single paycheck the entire time she worked there. She said her partner also worked there from January to August and received only one paycheck.
The pair have filed a wage claim with the Texas Workforce Commission as have several other former teachers. A Facebook page called Take a Stand Against Revolution Academy of East Texas has over 250 likes, and countless stories from former employees who were never paid. Several parents who had a bad experience with the school’s administration also posted to the page.
RELATED: Former East Texas teacher goes unpaid as private school closes
In a Facebook post to the school’s page, which has been deleted along with its website, about Revolution closing, it states Kacee and her husband, Eli Mullikin, are no longer the owners because of “circumstances that have unfortunately made this necessary.”
“She probably had good intentions, but it just took a very wrong turn,” Williams said.
The post went on to mention it will close for two to three months, but provide students with homeschool equipment, as it is in the “planning stages for a new schooling opportunity.”
Mullikin’s husband admitted in a video posted in the anti-Revolution Academy page, to spending school funds for personal use. Hoover said she would pay the school in advance for her daughter’s tuition on Fridays, and would soon be reminded of her next payment.
“It was tuitions due, tuitions due, right there in front of everybody, very, very unprofessional,” she said.
In September, Revolution Academy started a fundraiser to raise money to expand. The since deleted page showed the cost of tuition for the school as $1,700 a month per student, $10,200 for half a year, and $20,400 for a whole school year. It’s unclear if money raised from the fundraiser will be used for the new “schooling opportunity.”
CBS19 reached out to the Mullikins about Revolution’s closure, no longer being owners, and the money owed to staff. It was shared the family is focusing on a medical emergency and could not issue a statement at this time.