A state Superior Court judge has held the Bright Rock Christian Academy and its principals in contempt and ordered the organization to stop soliciting, offering, charging for or attempting to offer or charge for diploma or education services in Delaware until such time as it complies with the investigative demands.

Bright Rock has operated under various names since 2006, including Bertha E. Roach Academy; Bertha Roach Christian High School; Bertha Roach Christian School; Bertha Elizabeth Roach Christian School; BER Academy; BER Christian High School; Bright Rock Christian Academy; and The Enlighten Center.

Bright Rock’s principals include Clifton Maurice Pettyjohn, Derone L. Daniels, Ira D. Roach III, Charmagne R. Quarles and Sonya Yvette Harris.

In the summer of 2016, the Consumer Protection Unit received complaints from former students of Bright Rock and its affiliates that high school diplomas obtained from those organizations were not accepted by employers or institutions of higher education.

The CPU commenced an investigation in August 2016 and served Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates with a subpoena, which Bright Rock ignored. CPU then obtained a civil investigative demand from the Superior Court in April. Bright Rock produced a deficient, incomplete and untimely response to the CID, after which CPU asked the Superior Court for relief to ensure that Bright Rock and its principals and affiliates properly comply with their efforts to further investigate the matter.

The Superior Court issued an order finding Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates in contempt for failing to respond properly and fully to the CID on Aug. 4. The order enjoins Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates from soliciting, offering, charging for or attempting to offer or charge for diploma or education services in Delaware, suspends their corporate charter and enjoins them from organizing in any form for the purpose of rendering diploma or education services in Delaware, and assesses fines and penalties. These injunctions and sanctions remain in place until Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates come into compliance with the CID.

This matter was handled for CPU by Assistant Director Gillian Andrews and Chief Special Investigator Alan Rachko.

Any Delawarean seeking to obtain a high school education or other education credential should be sure that the organization or institution they select is legitimate and that the degree, certification or other credential they obtain will be accepted by the employer or educational institution they seek admission to.

The CPU provided tips to check the legitimacy of nonpublic K-12 education services in Delaware:

— Research the nonpublic education organization to see what accreditations or certifications the school possess, including information provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

— Does the nonpublic school have a physical location or is it an online learning organization — online schools will have different accreditations and standards that may not qualify its students for certain employment or higher education.

— Inquire about the nonpublic school’s curriculum and how academic performance is assessed and results reported — legitimate schools may have routine exams and will report a student’s performance in a consistent manner.

— An organization or nonpublic school promising a diploma or certificate for a large fee and little, if any, actual academic performance could be a scam and are cautioned against.

— A legitimate nonpublic school will require its students to perform academically and will have consistent means of testing that performance through routine exams or practicums.

— Ask the organization or nonpublic school for information on their alumni status such as top employers or institutions of higher learning that their graduates have been admitted to.

— Ask the employer or institution of higher learning whether a diplomas or certificate from that school will be accepted.

The Delaware Department of Education does not endorse, accredit, approve or monitor curriculum for any nonpublic school, or validate any type of credential provided by those schools.

Consumers who believe they may have been scammed can contact the attorney general’s toll-free consumer hotline at 800-220-5424 or email consumer.protection@state.de.us. If the school was an online learning institution, the consumer should also file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, ftc.gov.