Consumer Complaints and Reviews
My son is a Junior at Riverside Military Academy and is wrapping up his second full year at RMA. I'll start by saying we love RMA and think it is the best thing that has ever happened to our son! His teachers, TAC officers, coaches and others have just been fantastic! My son struggled his Freshman year at a private Christian school in Roswell. In my opinion, that school was more interested in evangelism than they were in education! While they claimed to have a program for kids with learning disabilities (ADD) - that program was a joke! RMA has been fantastic for him! Small class sizes, mandatory study hours, hands-on curriculum, structure, structure, structure and a fantastic staff make all the difference in the world. No public school or private day school can provide this the way RMA does.
He is making straight A's, member of the National Honor Society, playing varsity sports, planning for college - and most importantly - he has become a kind, polite, respectful young man! I have read some of the negative reviews of RMA on this site and others. I think those reviews are GARBAGE - written by disgruntled parents whose children have manipulated the hell out of their parents! Are there bad kids at RMA? Yes there probably are. Do some kids sneak in tobacco, drugs or alcohol? Yes - they probably do. Are there fights at RMA? Yes I'm sure there are. Now ask yourself - do those problems exist at EVERY SINGLE HIGH SCHOOL in America? Yes - they do!!!
I have two more children that graduated from one of the larger, more affluent public high schools in North Fulton. They had drug sniffing dogs searching the school and the parking lot all the time! Fights all the time! Kids sleeping in class or skipping class all the time! Kids in car accidents after midnight on school nights all the time! None of that stuff is tolerated at RMA. I know three families that pulled their kids out of RMA, in one case - because of some of these negative stories. All three families regret their decision to pull their sons out. All three families say their son was exaggerating the problems at RMA. Two of the three families say their sons are now running with the wrong crowd at their new schools. One family has returned to RMA and could not be happier! Please be careful - do not believe the negative online reviews. RMA is a great place!!!
I am Oliver ** and I was a cadet at Riverside Military Academy. My experience at Riverside was a good one. I will admit that I was sad to be away from home. Throughout my experience at Riverside during summer school it was tough because, when you are there you miss family and you start wishing you had them back. The people at Riverside are very diverse, there are good and bad people and I had a very good group of friends. I met people from all across the world and I am still friends with them today. I would suggest Riverside summer school program for student struggling in school, it is a good experience. Sometimes you wanna give up but you have to keep on pushing yourself everyday.
Our son is a ninth grader who is in his first year at Riverside. He has transformed into a respectful young man who makes straight A's and speaks with a plethora of yes sir and yes ma'am. He actually has not become a robot, rather he seems to enjoy the surprised look on the faces around him when he speaks in a respectful manner to adults off campus. The school is amazing from the grounds and facility to the people that run the school. It's a serious military school that does not pretend to be something it's not. If you are looking for a "real" experience with people who take teaching and turning young boys into respectful young men, then this is the place for you.
Our son is at Riverside by choice and thrives in the structured environment. He went from a timid young middle schooler that had social anxiety, some depression, and barely passing grades to a very happy, straight A student who enjoys advanced weight lifting and competing in the Airsoft club twice a week. He comes home some weekends, but actually looks forward to going back to school. It's the perfect environment to learn about himself and build self-confidence. Riverside is not easy or for the faint of heart, but if a young boy embraces the school, he will surely thrive there. Yes, there are kids with 504 plans and IEPs and they are supported here. There are also AP and honors classes offered in many subject areas. Additionally, students are encouraged to pursue classes for their best academic fit.
During our first parent homecoming weekend we were touched by the tremendous display of "brotherhood" and the bond that ties these cadets together. When speaking with older alumni who returned to the school that weekend, we were thoroughly impressed with their intense loyalty to the school and the virility of the alumni spirit. Yes, this is not a school for every boy, and of course, it is challenging; however, it is truly an educational adventure for a strong willed boy. The best way to see if the school is a good fit for you and your child, is to try the summer "LEAD Program". It's a condensed six week course over the summer in which the boys get to do all kinds of team building along with attending classroom studies of their choice.
A full high school credit is awarded for the course of study they choose. LEAD is very physically demanding and structured, but a perfect way to test the waters first. Our son was ready for fall enrollment after attending the summer program. It was hard. He struggled, and had serious doubts transitioning to such a rigid environment with high standards and discipline; but he persevered and felt great about the accomplishment and wanted more.
Being the parent of an intelligent child that had horrible grades and no motivation was heart breaking, wondering how much he would struggle through his entire life with no direction or purpose. His lowest grade at RMA is higher than what his highest grade was in public school. The relief of a better life for our son and the pride to see him accomplish what we always saw in him is more than I could ever express. Today he walks proudly, speaks with a stronger voice, and has purpose in his life with a plan for his future. Riverside will be the turning point in our son's life, down a path that would never been available in public school. I can say with great conviction, Parker will achieve great things because of Riverside Military Academy.
After reading some of these reviews, it must be another Riverside Military Academy that I'm not aware of in Georgia. I have a Cadet at RMA this year and his experiences seem to differ from some of the reviews. He's like most teenagers... Girls, Sports, and Music was something he focused on more than school, so once he became a Cadet after his ROC cycle at RMA we knew he would have to make a big adjustment in his lifestyle and knew it was going to be tough on him.
To our surprise he transitioned well. Grades went back to above average level and I can only contribute that to the school as a whole. Fellow Cadets keep him focused on his work helping him study. Mandatory OT if grades are not passing, constant weekly oversight to how he's progressing. As far as bullying he has not experienced that type of interaction. He's a small kid with no back down mouth but admits boarding Cadets joking tease Day Cadets. My overall experience with RMA is very satisfactory. You must keep things in realistic terms. You have hundreds of teenage boys on campus. Yes you will have some kids that sneak and smoke, get into fights and even test RMA limits. But the overall mission of the RMA seems to transition well to most students.
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I am surprised about some of the reviews I see here about Riverside. Our experience has been nothing but positive. I know three boys that go there, including my own and none have reported any bullying or hazing. I'm sure with 500+ testosterone filled males in one place there will be some chest beating and posturing from time to time but I've never heard of anything that rises to the level hazing. My son was failing in public high school (at one of the highest rated in the state) before attending RMA. He now has straight As. He has gone from disrespectful and lazy to goal oriented, focused and respectful. He now takes pride in his performance and his behavior.
The rules along with rewards and consequences are made very clear for all the cadets. My son said it best I think. He said if you try understand how RMA's ways help you to become a stronger, better person, you'll do fine and it's easy. If you are resistant and don't relate the rules, the restrictions and the physical training to your betterment, you will have a hard time. This is coming from a kid that was as opposed to us enrolling him at RMA as anyone could ever be. He went with a terrible attitude and an absolute resolve for hating it. He is now thriving.
I am telling the truth to every parent who is deciding to send their child to Riverside Military Academy. First off I decided to use my name as a Roc in this review, since they're the new boys on campus. My ROC cycle was very difficult due to the Bullying and Hazing. A few old boys would hit me for no reason, cheat on my classwork, and totally show disrespect towards me. I am so glad that my parents took me out of that school although I stayed for 1 semester. Also my roommate who was a Roc had tobacco and cigarettes in the room and he blamed ME! For no reason!
He claimed that I was the one who tempted him to do that stuff! I told my Tac who I will not say, but the Tac gave me Punishment Hours! There was tobacco all over the campus, and not even the President would stop it! Parents if you don't want your son to become a drug addict then don't send your child there! Lastly when I came on campus they claim that we could watch Monday Night Football but it was a lie. I am a big football fan, and they don't let you watch television, you can't have a phone, and block so many dumb Websites! Thank you Riverside for messing up my life! I will never recommend that school to anyone!
I am a graduate of the class of 2016 at Riverside. I would like to start out by saying that the two faculty members who took interest in me were MSgt ** and Capt **. With that aside I will say that the environment at this school is toxic to developing boys. I was constantly belittled by faculty members. The commandant Lt. Col ** told me that while I was enrolled at that school that I was not a civilian and I could not enjoy civilian privilege a while off campus which is a bold lie. I became addicted to drugs I had never used before I went to that school such as ** and **. I witnessed a cadet being cussed out by a TAC officer and then found out that the deputy commandant Lt. Col ** told them that he was a liar. The word of any cadet is taken as false when the faculty are treated as though they speak the words of God. One time Lt. Col ** traipsed into the company that I was a part of and then screamed because there was trash on the floor.
I got a tobacco offense for chewing tobacco off base when I was the legal age. I also was on the receiving end of the deputy commandant trying to overturn the commandants will and give me a punishment that I had wiped away. Eagles challenge is intense physical training from 4:30 a. m to 11:00 pm with only a sandwich, water, and an apple every 9 hours. Also I was denied the ability to call a guardian and disclose the events of Eagles challenge under fear of having to repeat it. This school was the worst experience I have ever had to suffer through. Drug use is rampant, cadets are constantly belittled, and cadets whose parents donate lots of money often have their discipline swept under the rug. This school is toxic.
I sent my son there a couple of years ago because he was struggling in reading and math. He came out to be a successful student while attending Riverside for 1 year. Once he came home I asked him about the quality of other cadets. He would refuse to answer because he felt the school would put too much pressure and stress on him. I got to the bottom of things and figured out that the school was not strict on hazing/bullying. I would not want my son to go back to Riverside. The only thing I was pleased was the education of the school. Besides that the school earns 2 stars from my son and my opinion.
As a parent I did not like the academy for my son. He attended there for 2015-2016 school year. He would tell me how boys would influence him to do drugs, tobacco or smoke on campus. My son did tell me that he smoked on campus but he didn't get caught. I do not approve for my son to be in that kind of environment. He would often be bullied and hazed and the school would do nothing about it. The students would say mean things to my son and it would make me angry. I AM TIRED OF MY SON BEING TREATED UNFAIRLY! I would truly not recommend telling my friends or family to send their child to Riverside. And also it is a wasted of $30,000 and if you are a parent who is reading this take this precaution.
This is the worst school I have enrolled my child in. The school is greedy and constantly wants payments. They lie about the facilities and options, and the school is filled with bullying and hazing. About 10-20 kids a month are kicked out. The kids are constantly yelled at and treated like crap. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY. They brainwash your child!!!
Riverside Military is a good school for discipline and for a good education. My son attended there a few years ago and he did not enjoy the school because of the boys. Some boys would consume drugs, and alcohol. It was not a good atmosphere.
This is my son's second year at RMA and I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made. Reviewers should be required to provide some basic information so their comments can be taken in context (such as the parent's reason for sending their son to RMA, the age of the cadet, how long they attended, GPA, what activities/sports they were involved in, where they suspended or expelled, parental involvement, etc). With that said, here is my son's story.
My son entered RMA last year as a 13yo freshman. He waffled on his feelings about RMA throughout the school year. One minute he would complain the next he was telling me funny stories about cadet life and saying things were fine. What I found is that the first 6 months were a transition period, and that's when he complained the most. He didn't like the food or the drills, but loved his teachers (which is half the battle). So I made him a deal… Finish out the school year at RMA and then he could decide whether or not to return for his sophomore year.
Needless to say, my son wanted to return to RMA this year and even attended leadership camp on his own volition. My son started school last year as a defiant lazy teen, and came out a respectful motivated goal-oriented young man with good grades to boot. Over the summer he talked of preparing for college (Yale), and attributed his new found drive to his teachers and counselor at RMA. Cadets will only get out of RMA what they themselves put into it.
Reality check, the boys will have good days and bad days, and no doubt there are boys who will push the envelope (smoking etc) and disagreements that occur and so on. But seriously parents, your boys will experience those exact same issues (if not worse) at ANY school they attend. If anything our boys are shielded from many issues plaguing our public schools because of the structure and oversight RMA offers. So please, check out the school for yourself and make up your own mind. Don't let anyone's personal opinion or a random review drive or impact your decision on what school your son should or should not attend.
I can't imagine the circumstance of which you speak. I hope you are not in denial of facts, that will not help your son to grow up to be a strong young man of character. My son joined Riverside Military Academy after a year & a half at a relatively well thought of public high school. He was directionless and barely achieving passing grades. I kept thinking I could help him but was unable to. He joined Riverside Military Academy as a 2nd term freshman. The change in him after the first 30 days of school and earning the rank of Cadet was huge. I could not believe it. He was happy, proud to say he attended Riverside, and his grades were all As. He will be a Senior this Fall. He continues to grow and develop into a productive, self-sufficient and confident person.
Per campus life, I can assure you that there is zero tolerance for drug use, alcohol and cigarettes. Riverside is a "substance free" campus. This is sadly a rarity in the USA today and our children can't study if they are under the influence of drugs/alcohol or hungover. The school focuses on character development and leadership, while maintaining high standards for academic performance. They are experts at helping students do their best and I am very grateful and appreciative for the results they achieve.
I went to R.M.A 1994-1995 and was on the standing twelve. There were fights every night. Hazing is very severe. Kids would sneak out for pizza, runs, then on their way back we would steal the pizza. It's more like a prison. The weak kids get picked on bullied etc. Drugs were everywhere especially huffing. The only thing I enjoyed was being a part of the standing twelve. Other than that the school is horrible. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY BY SENDING YOUR SON THERE. IT'S NOT WORTH IT.
This school is terrible. I will not suggest you to bring your child to this school. Hazing and fighting is common. From my short experience with my child being at the school, I have heard about there being drug use and smoking in the school. I have also heard about its over strictness towards students. The school does not help your child when they need help, it forces stress into them which seems to be their old style of teaching which is outdated.
Do not send your children to this place. They will rape your children's mind to conformity. And they play too much. They be trifflin.
I feel the need to comment here as well. I am also a graduate of Riverside Military Academy. I was sent there with a D average in public school and attended RMA the last year and a half of high school. I hated my parents at the time for sending me there. The academics were mediocre back then, but they did focus on teaching students how to learn, developing leadership, confidence, athletic skills and personal responsibility. For most kids, especially those in trouble, this program worked very well. I will say, some of the complaint comments here are troublesome to me. Three meals a day is fine, and at least when I was there, you could always go back for seconds. Also, you have to stay involved with your children. When I had trouble with algebra, my parents hired me a tutor over the summer to get me through it. At the end of the day, teachers will bend over backwards to help kids, but that only works if the child is doing their part, and lets face it, most high school kids are interested in just about anything other than algebra and are not at a stage in life to understand how important high school can be to their future. Parents must impart that truth to them.
Our son is on his third year at Riverside Military Academy. We searched all over the country to find a school that provided the structure and academics to challenge our son without having to be in a "reform school" atmosphere, and we found it in Gainesville, GA. Our son has developed amazing leadership skills, making great grades, has become organized, and is making lifelong friendships among his brothers in blue. This has been a great experience for our son. Okay, he complains about the food, too, but liked it until he found out it wasn't cool to do so. I would recommend it to anyone who has a son that needs more direction or more one-on-one attention.
A great way to try it out is the summer school program, open to anyone. I don't work for the school (or even volunteer since we are out of state), but I felt compelled to tell of our experience with the school when I read the negative review that was posted. All I can say is visit the school and see for yourself! The campus itself is beautiful (as nice as any college campus you'll find) and the staff are all very friendly. Many of the military officers working as teachers there have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan and are great role models for these boys. Enough said. Check it out.
I too want to put in a good word for RMA. I spent two years there and graduated in 1992--the worst class ever. RMA actually completely started top redesign everything in 1994. I was sent there for behavior issues; basically, I was a street punk in Atlanta. My father went to McCallie Military School so when my behavior was too much, off I went. I hated everything about it. However, I did very well while in there. I went from a 1.9 GPA to a 3.8 GPA, and only got in trouble once, at least only caught just once.
The academics were a joke, below public school level. But you do learn what the basics, enough to get you into college. Also, keep in mind that we only remember 30% of what we learned in school. Grade school is not about retaining all that information, it's about learning how to learn. And RMA will do that for any young man out there better than any other school. I stay in touch with other RMA graduates, and we all have done something with our lives. We have confidence, strength, and discipline. We all have the "soft" skill that all employers look for.
As far as this parent that complained about her child's experience, well there were those few kids that RMA did not work for them. My advice to any parent that might be having trouble with their son, and thinking about RMA, go for it! Just not 7th or 8th grade. More than three years there is just not fair for the child because of the social isolation. I speak from experience and two years was perfect for me. I gained what I needed to gain from it but I did not lose out on too much while being there.
And yes, your son will hate you for sending them there, but when they walk in that graduation parade, standing tall, chest out, full of confidence, they will still hate you but they will have changed for the best. But when they are in their mid-twenties holding down a good career, they will thank you for sending them. Trust me. If it was not for RMA, I would be dead by now. But instead, I am 36 years old with a great career as a land surveyor and expecting my first child this spring.
I am sorry that Kellena of Lexington, SC had such a negative experience with Riverside Military Academy, but I am an ecstatic parent who has had a very positive experience with RMA. Last year, RMA took my son, a very complacent 14-year old freshman and transformed him into a proud, confident, respectable, and achieving young man. The staff at RMA were all very accommodating whenever we needed to contact them. Email messages were always returned to us within 24 hours and often much sooner. Weekly grades are posted online every Thursday (for the previous week's curriculum) and we always had access to his quarterly and semester averages.
If he slipped in a class, an email from us resulted in a prompt reply from his instructor 100% of the time. These teachers do care about the academic achievement of their students--they "walk the walk." Okay, the food isn't so great and we do send our son Care Packages with snacks and drinks from time to time, but not clothes or blankets. The school provides all clothing and civilian clothes are not allowed.
With all due respect, I can't help but wonder what kind of cadet Kellena's son was. Did he go into RMA with a good attitude or did he go in with a chip on his shoulder and do the bare minimum to get by? Did he constantly receive demerits for not completing what was expected of him, either in the classroom, at PT, during drill, or in his barracks? RMA is best suited to help those who help themselves. Tuition and uniform fee is under $30,000/year so I am not sure why Kellena would have had to borrow $70,000 to send her son to RMA.
I feel like I needed to balance a negative experience with the positive one I have had to date. So positive, in fact, that we have decided to send our younger son to RMA for the upcoming school year.
My husband is an active duty military and while we were stationed in Italy, we decided to send our oldest son to Riverside Military Academy, so that he could get his GPA score up and have a better chance of getting into college. Our son had difficulty with math specifically and motivation. RMA had told us that they have very small classes ratio 8-12 : 1 and that they test every child to see how they learn best ("Riverside's Center for Student Excellence is a specialized learning center that provides training and guidance that help our cadets adopt proven study techniques and classroom skills that improve their academic performance).
One-on-one consultation with Riverside's learning specialist introduces and improves cadets' time-management abilities through proper and consistent use of their planning agendas. Students also develop strong organization skills by learning proper material categorization and using color-coded subject binders. The learning specialist also teaches cadets efficient study habits, note-taking skills and test-taking strategies.
The Center for Student Excellence is open to all students either as a voluntary or assigned opportunity to enhance their educational experience). To make a long story short, our son still managed to fail Algebra II in his first year there. The school subsequently made him re-take Algebra II the next year (senior year) but not in a class room, "online", which our son ended up failing as well. Unfortunately, we didn't know that he didn't pass until two months went by after graduation and we didn't receive his diploma and called the school only to find out that he didn't graduate after all. The school still had our son go through the graduation without knowing whether or not he passed math.
We took out a loan for $30,000.00, not to mention paying another $40,000.00 from out of pocket for our son to attend a school for two years, where he didn't receive the individual help that he was suppose to have so that he could graduate. The college counselors didn't help him get into the college he wanted to attend. He was to write an admission request letter for his college application and counselors told him he didn't need to do it. The only college he was accepted to was "Ole Miss" which is not our state of choice as we would have had to pay for out of state tuition. Let's add, in having to send blankets, clothes, and the big topper had to send food because he was hungry all the time.
They only ate three meals a day but were extremely active, so the school should provided higher calorie meals with snacks. $70,000.00 and our son still had to attend a public high school to get his math for graduation, which he finished in Jan 2010. We are currently still waiting on his diploma from RMA. This school is a joke, there are several other things that went on as well that we just recently found out about.
A loss of $70,000.00. Our son had to attend another high school to finish his graduation requirements in math. This cost more money. He wasn't even able to fill out a check or balance a check book. He didn't gain any skills for success. We wanted our son to be successful and have opportunities. We didn't get that even though we paid for it.
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