Education Director Reigns Terror At United Methodist Children's Home
Chairman of the Board of Directors
United Methodist Behavioral Hospital
United Methodist Children’s Home
Judy Stockrahm, M.Ed.
I was hired in August 2001 to be the Day School Teacher at the Maumelle hospital site. I entered this position with 9 years of teaching experience in psychiatric settings. I have a Master’s degree in Resource and Consulting plus have finished all the coursework for a doctorate in Education. I was appalled at the level of unprofessional behavior that was exhibited by Mrs. Elizabeth Sadler. It became so bad that I voluntarily terminated my employment. You need to know what is continuing to go on at United Methodist. I have outlined what I personally witnessed and was subjected to as an employee.
Our Director of Education, Elizabeth Sadler, hired me personally. When I met her, I provided her with all the information of my experience and academic background. During my employment she often brought up the fact that I almost had my doctorate degree and stated to me unprofessionally “we aren’t going to recognize your degree even if you get it.” She went about asking visitors at open house “Do you know what abd (sic) stands for” while she glared at me from across the lobby.
What is probably the most disturbing about my employment situation was the everyday normal use of profanity by Mrs. Sadler. Knowing that her father was a pastor and CEO at the Children’s Home made it that much more of a surprise. She cursed when she was speaking directly to me both in the classroom and in meetings plus she used profanity in the hallways of the hospital where children were in close range. On several occasions, I heard her curse administration and the physician while in the hallway outside my classroom. She often spoke negatively about Mr. and Mrs. Altom as well as our medical director. While at the copier one day, she stated, “I don’t care what fucking Dr. God wants…” She made comments to me that the medical director was “a fucking fag” and “light in his shoes.”
I could not bear the unprofessional behavior any longer and resigned in November. On two distinct occasions, Mrs. Sadler called me to her office. She expressed her displeasure in how the program was going and used constant curse words and explicatives while yelling and complaining. She told me that I had to turn in lesson plans weekly. Another teacher, Cindi Wolff, told me later “don’t get mad at me, but she told me I only have to do them monthly”. Clearly Mrs. Sadler was showing favoritism among her employees. She offered Mrs. Wolff opportunities to work at the home downtown to earn extra money that she did not extend to the rest of us teachers. Coincidentally, of the initial 6 teachers hired, Cindi Wolff is the only one remaining employed by United Methodist at this time.
2). The lack of support:
I personally offered to assist during the start up of the hospital with organizing or pulling together of any necessary paperwork or guidelines or to work with policy and procedures. Every attempt I made at offering assistance was denied and refused by Mrs. Sadler. Once at a teachers meeting I asked if we could not start some committees to assist. She quickly yelled at me “Just because you do not see them does not mean they are not there already.” To ensure that I was doing everything correctly or as she wanted them done, I often asked Mrs. Sadler how she wished things to be done. She yelled at me in front of my co-workers in an angry tone, “You’re too hung up on goddamn paperwork.” She refused to assist. We did not receive even a standard orientation for the education department. We had the opportunity at our “job fair” which was held after our grand opening, and it was placed on the agenda. However, no one manned that booth despite Elizabeth Sadler’s name appearing as the responsible person for having all employees trained in that area. She signed off that we received it, but we did not.
We were given only minimal school supplies to work with. We also had a minimal amount of books to teach from. The textbooks that I was issued consisted of a science, social studies, biology, and a set of dictionaries. The textbooks were above a 5th grade level, and I had very few students that were on a level that high. At our educational meeting Mrs. Sadler told us to start a list of supplies that we needed. Upon the next meeting, which occurred after Oct. 11, 2001, Mrs. Sadler entered the room stating, “don’t even ask for fucking supplies, there is no money.” From that point on, we had to buy our own pencils and supplies.
3). The care of the children:
I worked with, Angela Ventress, Direct Care Staff within the classroom. Ms. Ventress stated that Mrs. Sadler asked her when and how I was doing the paperwork on my kids and how much direct instruction I was giving them. Ms. Ventress also stated that Mrs. Sadler instructed her to tell the students that they were not to receive lunch unless all their work was done. I at that time, had students that were mentally retarded, that were to receive Community Based Instruction, and normal range of functioning for 16 years of age. I had students from age 11-16 all in the same class. Not only was this unprofessional, unrealistic, but also illegal. I observed the students miss their lunch on more than one occasion. I did send an email to Joe Quinn, (DHS) in regards to this and received a reply. I did report this, as I am required to do.
I continue to worry about the care of those children. I worked with those children both at Methodist and at previous placements. Those children are not receiving the services that they legally require. I witnessed educational plans that stated that the kids received speech therapy, but they did not receive therapy as long as I was employed there.
One of my students suffered from autism. He was receiving care from our physician, which meant changing his medication. The doctor gave me instructions regarding the child; part of my responsibility was to dispense medications while the students were at school. He handed me a paper copy of the new prescription to give to the caretaker. I did so and later mentioned it to Mrs. Sadler. Mrs. Sadler in an angry tone, stated, “Oh no, that’s not your job. You don’t take fucking orders from Doctor God. He needs to go through Dr. Lange for that.” She instructed me, “Don’t spoon feed these goddamn parents. They need to learn to do things for themselves.” I was a representative of the hospital. On many days, I may have been the only person from UMBH that the parents spoke to as they dropped off or picked up their students. Any business or professional person knows that how you interact with the public reflects on the type of service you provide. I shared my concerns with the CEO’s wife, my consultant assigned to my room, Myra Altom. Mrs. Altom also has called my home crying, upset about being the recipient of unprofessional tongue-lashings by Mrs. Sadler. I also shared my concerns with other management at the hospital, Cherie Hill and Matt Spain. My husband even called the administrator, Mr. Andy Altom, and Mr. Altom’s comment was “Well, that’s just her management style.” I could no longer work, where unprofessionalism is accepted as a “management style.”
I attempted to file for unemployment. During my appeal with the Arkansas Tribunal, and under oath on tape, Mrs. Sadler along with the Human Resource Director, Kim Cox, lied and stated that my witness I asked for “did not work for United Methodist any longer.” Myra Altom was the witness, and coincidentally, following the appeal, Mrs. Altom called me from her desk at work at UMBH that same day. I learned that things had been added to my personnel record since I left. Under oath, Mrs. Sadler could not account for why my signature was not present on “write ups.” That was because I had never been written up while employed there. I had not received an employee handbook or grievance policy. They gave us a signature sheet in our initial packet to sign prior to our first day of employment. These things were to be covered and presented during our orientation, indicating that we received the handbook. Mrs. Sadler said we could go ahead and be filling out the paperwork in advance to save time. I signed that sheet, but no administrator signed off on it showing that they acknowledged giving me a handbook or grievance policy. I have a copy showing my signature but never received a handbook while I was employed at UMBH. I have emails where I requested knowledge of such, but on tape under oath, these individuals stated that I had received such material. This is not true. I emailed a grievance document, that I typed myself to Mr. Altom and Mrs. Cox, but they did not respond to it either in written form or verbal.
Judy Stockrahm, M.Ed.
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