anna little

TCA BOARD PRESIDENT accuses someone of slander on social media (AND WHY IT ISN’T ME)

Last night, TCA Board President Bob Thune posted on his personal Facebook account that someone was slandering him. A well-intentioned friend of mine sent me a concerned text about it, and I was so thankful to know that his post was most definitely not about me. What many people do not realize is that the elements of slander include making defamatory statements that one knows are untrue. Everything I have posted is true to the best of my knowledge, and I have even provided the documentation to round out our story. So you see, his post can absolutely not be about me. (Lawyer friends: Can falsely accusing some of slander be slander/libel? Leave me your thoughts in the comments please!)

Bob Thune makes slander accusation on Facebook

Not only is slander punishable legally here in the US, but committing such an action would also would fail to bring about our ultimate goal in telling our story, which is repentance and reconciliation. The day I posted our story, we received a message from our pastor that Bob was wanting to pursue mediation with us. I wholeheartedly agreed to this step with these boundaries in place: 1) Bob would have to apologize for what happened, 2) he and the other board members would resign (see here for more on this), and 3) the mediation talks would be open to all families and staff of TCA since we believe they were sinned against, too. No reply to this offer has been received.

To all my friends who have been abused in any way (including emotional and spiritual): Secrets maintain their power as long as they stay in the dark, and abusive systems require darkness in order to thrive. Tell your story bravely, tell it with your whole heart, and tell it to people who deserve to hear it (see link in recommended resources). You will be shocked, I mean shocked, when you discover how many others have similar experiences.

Blessings to all of you in your healing journeys!


Recommended Resources (includes affiliate links)


TCA Board Members

Bob Thune , Founding Board Member  Pastor at  Coram Deo Church

Bob Thune, Founding Board Member
Pastor at Coram Deo Church

Spencer Finley , Treasurer CFO of Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council

Spencer Finley, Treasurer
CFO of Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council

Phil Belin, Founding Board Member  Attorney

Phil Belin, Founding Board Member
Attorney

Cannon Allen,  Board Member

Cannon Allen, Board Member

Anna Little, Founding Board Member

Anna Little, Founding Board Member

John Batcher , Board Member

John Batcher, Board Member

Sara Breetzke, Head of School

Sara Breetzke, Head of School


Systems of Abuse At Trinity Classical Academy Omaha

I spent most of yesterday fielding well wishes from dear friends and perfect strangers as I watched the view count on my post steadily rise. I also spent a decent amount of time in therapy mode as my children continue to process their trauma. We had to stop by the grocery store for a few things, and the clerk asked if we had another snow day or if we homeschool. I replied that we homeschool, but my very verbal son piped in, “We were fired from TCA!”. I then told her our experience and, with a look of absolute horror about what I just revealed, she asked if she could give my kiddos a sucker. I calmly consented while my internal monologue went something like, “You want to reward my sugar-loving child with candy after he opened up to a total stranger about the most significant trauma he has ever endured in his young life? BRING IT ON!!!” Yeah, that’s how I do things.

Back to people’s responses about my post. Sprinkled within the truly overwhelming support (most victims who come forward with their stories are not very kindly received), there were these sincere moments of confusion as people tried to make sense of what happened. I get it. There is so much of what happened that I find confusing that I can totally empathize with their struggle. But here’s the thing. Most of us expect at least an attempt of doing what is right from a Christian organization. Even the best systems are run by flawed human beings, and yet, when you read our account, there didn’t seem to be even a sincere attempt to handle the conflict appropriately. What’s the deal? Our family’s expulsion was not the first abusive act committed by the Board. It is probably the most egregious and will hurt their reputation of being an institute of virtue the most, but it is definitely not the first.

Just over a year ago Sara Breetzke, the Head of School, met with a group of co-teachers to touch base and talk about the school. As the conversation went on, the issue of how board members are selected came up. It was at this time that we learned that all board members were selected by the President (Bob Thune) and that the President could re-up his term as many times as he wanted. This didn’t exactly go over well. Couple this with the fact that TCA is a registered 501(c)(3) and has never provided a financial statement to the families, and one can really understand why some of us parents began to mistrust the Board. Promises were made (by Sara Breetzke and Spencer Finley) about improving transparency that included providing parents with minutes from the Board’s closed-door sessions, informing the parents of the Board’s governing procedures, and regular financial statements. Not one of these promises were kept. I brought these problems up again last summer with Anna Little, one of the Founding Board Members, and she told me that she didn’t think they needed to release financial statements because the school has no money. Yeah, not ok.

I hope that as one sees the planned and purposeful lack of accountability and transparency that the Board has enabled, one can more thoroughly understand this system of abuse. Also, I hope this further demonstrates why I believe resignation proves repentance. Anyone who so clearly has abused their power should know that they are not capable of handling this kind of responsibility. I do have to admit, however, that this does not provide much clarity as to why Sara Breetzke began to question our family’s standing at the school other than the fact that we elected to not return for the 2019-2020 term, a decision that I am thinking is more understood now.

Please continue to be in prayer for my family, especially my children. Explaining and recovering from trauma caused by emotional and spiritual abuse is hard enough for us adults to handle that I’m sure one can imagine the struggle for us to find appropriate language to use with little ones.

Thank you especially to all of you who have reached out to us this week. Knowing that we are not alone in this is so very comforting.

Rachel



Recommended Resources (includes affiliate links)


TCA Board Members

Bob Thune , Founding Board Member  Pastor at  Coram Deo Church

Bob Thune, Founding Board Member
Pastor at Coram Deo Church

Spencer Finley , Treasurer CFO of Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council

Spencer Finley, Treasurer
CFO of Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council

Phil Belin, Founding Board Member  Attorney

Phil Belin, Founding Board Member
Attorney

Cannon Allen,  Board Member

Cannon Allen, Board Member

Anna Little, Founding Board Member

Anna Little, Founding Board Member

John Batcher , Board Member

John Batcher, Board Member

Sara Breetzke, Head of School

Sara Breetzke, Head of School


Our family's experience at TCA Omaha

On November 14, 2018, my husband I and I received an email from Sara Breetzke, Head of School of Trinity Classicial Academy (TCA), inquiring if we were available to meet with her the next morning to discuss our experience at TCA and “the rest of the school year”. As the conversation continued, Travis and I became more and more alarmed about the repeated mentions of the current school year especially because we had just made our second tuition payment. Fast forward to December 20 when we received notice of our dismissal from the school because of our “dissatisfaction”, and we knew our concerns that day were rightly justified.

So how does a situation like this escalate so quickly? Below, I’ve set up a timeline of events so everyone can see at least the communication we had with the Board. I wish I could more fully explain it, but there is so much that we still don’t know. We don’t know which Board Members voted to have us removed, and which ones didn’t. We don’t know how many of them had made their decision about us before Anna had cancelled our meeting set for December 14, 2018, versus those who did so after we spoke to a lawyer. And we still don’t know why Sara began question our intention to finish out the school year. We do know one thing however: the Board members of TCA abused their power when they disregarded the expectations set up in the handbook and expelled us. Composing a post like this is hard. Going back and reading and listening to Sara act as though nothing serious was going on while our family felt under threat exposes how open those wounds still are for us. It is my hope that as we shine the light on the private sins of TCA’s Board, they will be moved to quickly repent publicly (to not just my family but to all TCA families) and resign from their positions of leadership.

Our children have good days and bad. Knowing that they did nothing wrong and that their teachers are not mad at them helped. We are having to go outside of our current textbooks to develop the curriculum we will use for the rest of the semester as they process the trauma that they have experienced. Resignation proves repentance, repentance proceeds reconciliation, the virtue of restitution, the blessing of boundaries, and telling the truth about your story is courageous (not gossip) are all lessons that are being added to our scope and sequence.

Yesterday I was talking to my best friend, and she wanted to know what she could “do” to help because she is a woman of action. I’ll tell you what I’ve told her and everyone else. Pray. Pray for healing for our family and for the Board of TCA to repent. Also, believe victims. We are not the only family to be mistreated by TCA and should others choose to come forward, we hope that you will be generous in how you receive their experiences as well.

Thanks for taking the time to read our story.


Time line of events

11.14.2018 Email exchange with Sara Breetzke. Anna Little reached out to schedule meeting without Sara present.

11.15.2018 Sarah interrupts a conversation I was having with two other moms in the pickup line. “We will still meet. I know we are in the middle of an email back and forth, but I will get back to you and we WILL meet.” Asked other parents if Sara was trying to meet with all them, and the answer was no.

11. 20. 2018 Sara sent the children outside for pickup while I was inside (safety issue and pickup protocol was not followed).

12.06.2018 Began to stay in van at drop off and pickup until I saw other families around. Wanted to make sure than all in-person encounters would be witnessed by other parents. A member of the school’s administrative team asked how we were doing at the school, and I broke down crying. The stress of the harassment just got to me.

11:53 a.m. Received voice mail from Sara. Her message indicated that Travis and I had been wanting to meet with her. Sent a response via email that we were not comfortable meeting with her (due to what we deemed as passive threats about the spring semester). *see article concerning Gaslighting at bottom of post

12.10.2018 Received a Facebook Message from Anna Little (was sent previous day) cancelling our meeting without giving a reason or an option to reschedule. I told her that given the continued harassment and hostility that Travis and I were experiencing at TCA, we would be speaking with a lawyer as to how to protect ourselves moving forward. Anna had previously indicated that she was interested in providing more direction at Valor School in Omaha. I felt that her focus should be on fixing the problems at TCA before trying to work with another school. I had begun writing a memo to list out actionable steps the Board could take to improve TCA but did not finish it once the meeting was cancelled.

12.12.2018 Received email from Sara Breetzke concerning our claims of harassment and hostility. Anna Little had not yet responded to my FB message but instead had the person harassing us try to schedule another meeting. I asked Travis to respond this time because Sara was not respecting the boundaries I was attempting to establish. He replied to the email saying that we are not comfortable having a meeting with her (3rd request) and to not approach me when I am at the school to pick up or drop off our children.

12.14.2018 Email exchange with Phil Belin I chose not to meet with Phil in-person for reasons that I’m not comfortable posting here at this time.

12.18.2018 Learned that Anna Little had approached my mother at church (on 12.16.2018) to discuss our situation and to discredit our claims of harassment.

12.20.2018 Received letter from Spencer Finley on behalf of the Board dismissing us from TCA for our “dissatisfaction”. A pro-rated refund of our tuition was included.

12.21.2018 Learned that Anna Little had informed my mother of our expulsion the night before, and was squarely putting the blame on us. First it was because we consulted a lawyer, but then we learned that she had cancelled the meeting with us because the decision had already been made. Ironically, we only called a lawyer once we realized Anna had no intention of telling Sara to just leave us alone for the rest of the year.


TCA Board Members

Bob Thune , Founding Board Member  Pastor at  Coram Deo Church

Bob Thune, Founding Board Member
Pastor at Coram Deo Church

Spencer Finley , Treasurer CFO of Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council

Spencer Finley, Treasurer
CFO of Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council

Phil Belin, Founding Board Member  Attorney

Phil Belin, Founding Board Member
Attorney

Cannon Allen,  Board Member

Cannon Allen, Board Member

Anna Little, Founding Board Member

Anna Little, Founding Board Member

John Batcher , Board Member

John Batcher, Board Member

Sara Breetzke, Head of School

Sara Breetzke, Head of School