Administrator of Christian school admits to forging diploma signatures

Published 2:21 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

Several families in the Picayune area recently received a letter stating that the diploma their children received from The Christian Academy of Picayune contained a forged signature, invalidating the document.
The school was being held at the House of Refuge Church located at 105 Highway 11 South in Picayune. Pastor Brad Heffner said that the school had no affiliation to the church other than leasing space on the weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon. However, Heffner said that the church will continue to pastor to the schools’s administrator, Candace Downey, in her time of need.
Several parents and teachers are now upset that the diplomas received are invalid. Amiee Tebo says that while she can continue this semester at Pearl River Community College, she will most likely have to obtain a GED to enroll next semester.
In a phone interview with the Picayune Item, Downey backed up Heffner’s comment that the school had no direct affiliation with the House of Refuge Church, and that while she declined to directly admit it was her hand that forged the signature, she is taking full responsibility.
“The bottom line is I’m responsible for the school, so I took responsibility for any and all wrong-doing,” Downey said. “I dropped the ball and the children should not have to suffer the consequences.”
Representatives with the Mississippi Department of Education say that an investigation is ongoing, and confirmed that the school was not accredited with the state, which is a voluntary process for private schools.
For complete coverage of this story, see Saturday’s Picayune Item.

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