Graduation company emails collection notices to Killeen ISD parents


KILLEEN, Texas – Killeen Independent School District parents say they are stuck in a never-ending nightmare.

This comes after they were mailed the wrong amount for their senior cap and gown refund – and now are getting notifications that in two days, their accounts will be sent to collections.

Killeen ISD parents were supposed to receive a $55 refund check as a good deed from the district, but some got a bit more.

Herff Jones, the company that sent out the checks, voided some – but not all. Parents say they have had enough.

“They wrote the check, they sent the check, the check cleared in my account. All of the sudden, you know, they are going to send it to collections,” says Kristen Lawhorn, Killeen ISD parent.

In the email sent to parents, Herff Jones says, “Beginning August 7th, we will be turning your account over to collections.”

“The main thing that kinda really upset me was they wrote the checks to the kids. The kids had to endorse it, deposit it to their account, and then if they are sending them to collections, that’s going to be a mark to their account or their credit,” says Lawhorn.

Back in June, Kristen’s son Luke received a check from Herff Jones in the amount of $100, instead of the original $55 to cover the cap and gown costs. Herff Jones says it was a clerical error, and they would be voiding those checks and sending new ones with the correct amount. Parents say they still have not received the new checks.

“It made sense to me, because the cap and gown is $55 – and then another $40 was for the announcements that we could never use because they cancelled our graduation. So it actually made sense to me. I didn’t think anything was wrong with it,” says Lawhorn.

Kristen says they haven’t been contacted by Herff Jones – and because there are so many scams out there, she hasn’t paid the money back.

“In this day and age of everybody trying to scam people, I’m not going to just log on to some random account and put money on it,” said Lawhorn.

Which means Luke’s account could be sent to collections.

“Most of these kids, you know, are just starting out. They are getting car loans, or they are getting student loans for the first time, and that’s going to count against them,” she said.

In a new statement to FOX 44, Herff Jones says:

“Herff Jones continues to work with parents to communicate the recent overpayment of cap and gown refunds. Families were able to purchase items other than the cap and gowns, that KISD generously provided this year.  As communicated, KISD’s intention was to pay $55 for students cap and gown’s.  We sincerely apologize for the clerical error we made and will continue to communicate with the families that received a refund for items other than the cap and gown. We are extremely grateful for the majority of families who have returned the over payment.  The new refund checks for $55 are being mailed this week to the families who have not received them.”

Herff Jones

“It’s really frustrating cause you are trying to start life. Kids are trying to go to college, join the military, whatever they are doing, and it’s just constantly a band aid being ripped off,” adds Lawhorn.

Herff Jones did not comment on the collection notices.

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