LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - For the second time in two years, students protested and walked out at Vogue College of Cosmetology in Lubbock. This time they’re upset over the firing of the head educator “for no reason.”
“It’s been kind of a rumor around school that somebody was going to get fired. We had no clue as to who was going to get fired, but we all showed up this morning knowing something was about to happen,” said Kiara Brown, a student at Vogue. They said they packed up and left “because it wasn’t right, at all.”
The students and the CEO of the college confirm an educator, Amber Soliz, was fired today.
“Amber is probably one of the only educators there that goes the extra mile to genuinely help the students out,” said Brown. “I feel like Amber was our last leg of hope that we had in our school.”
When Soliz was fired, the students said it was the tipping point. They claim there were inadequate supplies, an insufficient number of educators, loss of their hard-earned hours and poor health and safety conditions. These were just a few of the grievances the students say they have complained to the management about. They say they’re not satisfied with their education.
“Where are our hands-on experiences? I waited a really long time to further my education and when I signed up, I thought I made the right choice,” said Chelsea Clark, a student at Vogue.
“My experience has been teaching myself with my textbook and you know, practicing and doing everything on my own, and then having to go teach all the new esthetician students that are coming in as well,” said April Hutcherson.
“If I would have known how the school was ran before then, I wouldn’t have went there,” said Mikaela Ingley.
The students said they want a change.
“I would like to be provided with the things that the school told us we would be provided with. I’d like to get an education that’s not from YouTube or the internet,” said Madeline Cook.
“I think a lot of us have taken steps and taken things into our own hands to further our education, because we’ve all just kind of realized that we’re not going to get what we were told we were going to get,” said Cook.
According to the students who reached out to KCBD, they were told they would be suspended if they left the school.
“As of where it stands now, we are told we have to sit in our classroom and watch YouTube videos or we will be suspended. I’m not paying to go to school here to watch YouTube videos,” said one student to KCBD.
Other students say they were told if they speak to KCBD, they would be suspended for three days.
KCBD contacted the owner and CEO of Vogue College of Cosmetology Teena Ball and she emailed a statement saying:
“We are not allowed to discuss the circumstances of Amber Solis departure from the company due to confidentiality and HR policies with anyone. There is no protest happening at the school. A few students were saddened when they learned of Ms Solis departure. Classes and the student salon are in progress and business is as usual. Thank you for your inquiry.”
KCBD reached out to Ball for a response on the grievances the students spoke about, but have not received another response from her.
In April 2017, students protested, claiming they weren’t getting what they paid for. They claimed there weren’t enough instructors and the class sizes were too large. According to one student, the complaints from the students and faculty members were not being heard and they did not receive responses from the dean.
Ball released a statement in 2017 saying her number one focus “has and always will be providing the best education for our students so that they graduate and become successful in their careers.”
Ball said in her statement she owns five schools in Texas and New Mexico. She opened the doors to the Lubbock location in Sept. 2015.
In her statement from 2017, she also said, “While I respect the right of others to peacefully and respectfully express their opinion, I am saddened that anyone is or was unhappy with the education they received at Vogue College. We strive to meet the needs of all students at all times and for the most part, are able to do so but we cannot make all the people happy all the time. Generally, we have a very happy student body and I have spoken to most of them this week and in the weeks past through surveys and in formal meetings. We address concerns as they arise in the school. It’s our job to listen to feedback and improve our education for our students constantly on all campuses and I take that job seriously.”