CR England is a very unintelligently run school. From the very first day I arrived in Salt Lake City for trucking school, I was entirely shocked at their treatment. I took a shuttle from the bus station to the school and I checked in at the front desk at about 7:30 am so that I could be placed in a room. I was told that they don't give out rooms till 3 pm. Not having had the luxury of much sleep on my 14 hour bus trip throughout the night before, I was standing in the halls of their school with my luggage and nowhere to sit or relax. My only option was to stand. I stood and stood and when 3 pm came, there was a very long line of new students trying to get rooms. We all were waiting endlessly till we finally got rooms close to 7:30 pm which we had to share with another guy we hardly knew.
The next day, we were to report to the classroom at 6 am. There, many did not have seats because there were not enough chairs or desks. Many took their luggage to class with them because they were told they would not have the same room again the next night. When we asked where we could put our luggage the staff said we had to hunt down the security guard so he could open up a storage unit for us. We found him finally and he said that he only would go out every half hour. We waited but he wasn't anywhere to be found again. We finally tracked him down at the right time, all the while missing our pathetic excuse for orientation going on inside the classroom.
Inside the classroom was chaos. Most of the morning hours were just people doing whatever while crammed into a classroom with far less seats than were necessary. There was a table in the front of the class with stacks of papers and a staff member of the school would every now and then call for the attention of the class to explain how to fill out these papers. This went on for hours. There was no welcoming speech whatsoever. I asked several students what happened while I was gone to put my things in storage. As I sat uncomfortably in my chair that had obviously been broken for quite some time, I was waiting for hours with nothing to do since I had finished my paperwork within the first 15-20 mins after I got it.
The day progressed into afternoon hours and I was eager to get a room again to rest adequately. At 3 pm I was at the front counter ready to get a room. The line behind me grew rapidly as many other students also had the same idea I did. I was told that rooms would not be available till about 7 pm. At 6 pm I attempted to get my luggage and after some difficulty, I was successful. I had it ready so that I could get my room quickly. At almost eight I was given a voucher for a room. I did not get a shuttle to that room till 11:30 pm.
We reported to the class at 6 am that morning. Due to the scheduling of the hotel shuttles, our arrival at 6 required that we wake at 3:30 am, take the shuttle at 4:30, and wait around for over an hour in the halls trying to get our luggage put into storage. If we would have taken a later shuttle, we would have showed up at around 8 because there was so much competition for the shuttles that left at a time close to the class start time.
Class was good and though I had already studied the material thoroughly, it was nice to review it and have it validated. Jim was our instructor that day. He was a reasonable and respectful individual as far as I could tell. His classes were the only productive classes I have memory of.
That night, the same battles took place for hotel rooms. Endless waiting on the front lawn of CR England with our luggage was getting very old. I kept wondering if it was their goal to inconvenience new-comers as much as they possibly could in order to sift them out. I now have no doubt that this is true. They get substantial money from the government for each student they take on. Furthermore, each student has to sign a contract to pay $2,995 for the school at 18% APR and 22% if they miss payment or pay late.
Day three we reported to class. There were doughnuts and coffee for all. This was the only day that people made efforts to be somewhat pleasant. The doughnuts and coffee were undoubtedly there for what would come next. We were all called up by name, an unintelligent process that also inconvenienced us by making us stand a half hour in line. We were handed out packets of paper that had been pre-filled out with our personal information. These were the loan documents. I didn't want to sign mine yet because of how the school was so far. I asked if I could have more time to read it over and sign it later on. I was told I have to read it now and sign it now. I signed it, turned it in and had a bad feeling in my gut about it.
Later that day I started to see some real rudeness from the staff. I was put out and upset. I had spoken to other students about their experiences and some had been through even more inconveniences than I had. A friend I had made pointed out that there are aged men and women attending the school who had hoped it would work out and there they were, left on the lawn till late at night with their luggage and aching back, knees and feet, trying to get a hotel room. This friend wanted to call the media because he was so shocked that a company would operate this way.
The following day was class. Then, Jim, our only decent instructor, turned the class over to Mike at about 2 or 3 pm. Mike came in and immediately started shouting out his rules in a very disturbing tone. His demeanor was not one of respect or decency in the least. He made it obvious that he always wanted to be a drill sergeant and never got that chance so he had to improvise as a driving instructor. He talked down to us all collectively and he was not shy about talking down to individual students who weren't doing exactly what he thought they should.
We were instructed to go outside to the driving range and practice backup maneuvers on trucks. We practiced till 9 pm. The next day we reported to the class at 7 am. Mike was again our instructor and Jim was no longer going to be teaching us. That morning, Mike was angry and made it known by dropping the "f" bomb several times and speaking in an intimidating and derogatory manor. At about 8 am we went outside to do more on the trucks. The sun was out in full and though I had applied sun block the day before, I could feel the sting immediately.
With sunblock on I was hopeful that I could be exposed for the long days of practice out on the hot and seemingly endless sea of black top. There were two small shaded areas with a picnic table underneath them for people to sit. If I wanted to sit down or be in the shade, I was forfeiting my place in the long lines for a turn on the truck. I was baking. I could feel that sunblock was not enough for the long day in the sun. I was also starting to get heat rash on my thighs which was rather an embarrassment to me that I didn't readily want to share. I stayed till we were released to go at 5 pm. They encouraged us to practice till 9 pm which I felt unable to do.
The next day I was feeling the effects of the standing. After getting out of bed I stood up on two sore feet. I hadn't slept well because my skin became sensitive and had been burning through the night. I was definitely wishing that we could take a day off from being outside all day. However, at 7 am I was there in class and at about 8 we headed out to the driving range where there was no shade available. The shaded areas were so full of people trying to get shade that I did not have a place. A student passed out from heat exhaustion while we were out there. I was absolutely burnt and my heat rash was worse. I had a troubling numbness in the left side of my left foot which I assume was caused from standing all day each day. We were out there till 5 pm and encouraged to stay till 9 pm. I again did not get but one turn on the truck.
Sunday I woke up sore, hurting and burning. Spending the day outside again did not feel like a wise thing to do. I started getting a cough, probably from the lack of sleep and prolonged exposure to the sun. My skin stung harshly as I stepped outside briefly. I knew my body was telling me that it was unwise to follow the school's agenda. I knew I would need a day of rest. I told an instructor (John) that morning that I would not be able to go outside that day.
The next day I showed up to class. A student told me that he had been called by an instructor and was asked why he didn't go yesterday. He (the student) had informed me that the call was meant for me because it was my name that the instructor gave him. The instructor had mistakenly called this student instead of me in order to intimidate and harass me for my lack of attendance. This was not pleasing news. As class started, an instructor (Ross) called my name. I raised my hand. He said he'd like me to meet him in the hall after the class. This class dragged on with rude and derogatory tones from instructors. Then, as it passed, I went to the hall I was asked to meet in and waited for almost an hour, standing on my still sore feet.
Finally, Ross showed up. He asked why I wasn't in class yesterday. I said I couldn't make it for medical reasons. He asked what those medical reasons are. I informed him that medical reasons are personal. I wasn't going to tell him about my heat rash and numb foot. I did go ahead and tell him my skin is sunburned. I also told him that the way they have everyone standing out in the sun all day is unintelligent and could be done very differently. He told me to wait there while he went to go do something and I said sorry but all this waiting is disrespectful of my time and standing all day in the sun is disrespectful of my time. He again more firmly told me to wait and I said no sir I will not.
I went to the front desk, asked for directions to the school head and made my way there. I went to see Trina, who is in charge of the school. I told her what had just happened. I told her that I took a day off because of the long time out in the sun and heat and what it was doing to my body. She said that my sunburn didn't look that bad. She also told me that I must have been dishonest on my physical exam for me to be having these issues. I was quite enraged by this point.
I then told her that my skin fortunately had a day to heal because I took such measures to protect myself and therefore I was not as bright red as I had been the day before. I informed her that my physical exam did not test for injuries that I incurred in their program by prolonged and abusive exposure to the sun. She told me that there would be several more days out in the sun. I asked her what spending all day in the sun has to do with truck driving. She said that between loads some waiting in the sun might be required.
I told her that is absurd and that any reasonable person would wait in the shade or indoors if the wait would be long. I informed her of how her instructors had been speaking to us as students with utter disrespect and even vulgar profanity. I asked her what she was going to do about how her instructors conduct themselves. She said that they are experienced drivers and have been doing this for years. I asked what that has to do with treating people respectfully. She continued to show that she didn't think linearly or logically and her answers related poorly to the questions I asked.
So then she asked what I want to do. I told her that I want my contract done away with because I did not learn hardly one new thing and I was unable to get any practice on the trucks. I told her about the endless waiting in the halls with my luggage from day one and that it was all a poorly operated school. At first she wanted me to pay for the week I was there. Then my further insistence compelled her to eliminate any debt that I owed. I called family to arrange my transportation home and left the school shortly after.