One of the worst examples of religious privilege in this country is that some states like Alabama allow church-run schools to get away with no regulation or oversight. As if worshiping Jesus means you can do no wrong. Of course, anyone who’s paid attention to the Catholic Church knows how problematic that thinking is.
Al.com reporter Anna Claire Vollers has a disturbing look at Alabama’s Restoration Youth Academy, a.k.a. the “worst religious private school” in the state, which in many ways functioned like a jail, going so far as to put students in solitary confinement.
“When you’re inside a tiny room where all you can see is four walls,” [former student Lucas Greenfield] said, “you start — I won’t say hallucinating, but you start going crazy.”
“This kind of program should not be allowed to exist,” said Greenfield, who finally made it out when police showed up in 2015. “All because you put a cross on top of a building and call it a Christian program, we’re supposed to overlook all that happens in those places?”
Police raided that school [which was renamed Saving Youth Foundation and Solid Rock Ministries] in March 2015, and the Alabama Department of Human Resources removed 36 children following allegations of child abuse and deplorable living conditions.
In addition to the isolation, students were allegedly forced to beat each other up in boxing matches, meet with a “licensed certified counselor” who wasn’t really licensed, and request toilet paper from teachers since the bathrooms didn’t have any.
And all of that is before you even get to the pathetic curriculum:
The educational component of Restoration Youth Academy and Saving Youth Foundation involved the students sitting at desks and filling out workbooks from the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) curriculum, a self-instructional Bible-based program.
“No teacher taught you a lesson,” said [former students Angelina] Randazzo. “You had to teach yourself.”
Pastor John David Young, instructor William Knott and counselor Aleshia Moffett will all be on trial for multiple counts of child abuse beginning this October. Meanwhile, the state’s laws still haven’t changed, which means there’s almost nothing stopping schools like this from popping up in another city.
I’m sure Alabama’s Republican-dominated government will send along their thoughts and prayers.
(Screenshot via Fox10TV. Thanks to Brian for the link)