Heartland Christian Academy in Bethel, Mo Abuses Students

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Hurt Adult in Bethel

Columbia, MO

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#1
Jan 23, 2010
 

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Heartland Christian Academy in Bethel, Mo.(their website is http://www.heartland-ministries.org/ ) seriously abuses its students. Not only does the school promote sexual dysfunction due to extreme repression, the school also mercilessly paddles the students on the buttocks, thus causing a spanking fetish that follows the student for life.
its a cult

Columbia, MO

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#3
Jan 23, 2010
 

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Even their towns water tower has a cross on it. It is a cult that physically hits children. Former students have sexual disfunction due to the extreme repression there.
second one

Alsip, IL

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#4
Jan 23, 2010
 

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Hurt Adult in Bethel wrote:
Heartland Christian Academy is a cult masquerading as a school. Heartland Christian Academy was even raided by the feds! From an article found here: http://www.corpun.com/usr00201.htm we read:“The school's reliance on corporal punishment has led to abuse allegations. In June, five workers were charged with felony child abuse for allegedly forcing children to shovel manure as a punishment. In August, four workers were charged with excessive paddling of a 16-year-old student.”
When you get to the site: http://www.corpun.com/usr00201.htm look at the second article.
Rebecca

Shelbyville, MO

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#5
Feb 6, 2010
 

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you dont know what your talking about...It is a fine Christian school. Those children are cared for and provided for , to some its their only chance.
Lindsey

San Jose, CA

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#6
May 24, 2010
 

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All of these posts are such crap...Im sorry, but shoveling manure as a punishment....??? Are you kidding me? Some people do that as an every day job. These kids are complaining of being abused....yea... I guess they would think that after coming from nice warm homes...Most of these children have extreme reasons for being there...Many are court ordered due to violent crimes.

These kids are spoiled and out of control....Manure nothing....Clean up the horse crap, the cow crap, wash the dishes, paint the house...and if you still have an attitude....then we'll talk.

The one thing that I do not agree with about this school is that they have sex offenders working there..Other than that. Abuse nothing!
Lindsey

San Jose, CA

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#7
May 24, 2010
 

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What do these kids think happen if they were to be put in "real Juvenile." facilites. Hey...Maybe we should let them get sent to jail...then they can see what real abuse is.
MOMWHOCARES

Miami, OK

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#9
Aug 16, 2010
 

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I was in the process of helping my son enter Heartland Men's recovery program when my husband asked if I had really researched this place. I had a relative who had been there about 10 yrs ago, and she felt that it was a good program, founded in love and there to help. However, when I looked online for reviews and comments, I could find none. Finally, I did locate a few and 90% of their comments were awful. They described a punitive and shaming environment where tactics were mean-hearted and control through fear was the norm. Yikes! The LAST thing my son needs is more torture. Its impossible for me to know the real story, but I can't risk these possibilities for him. There is so much isolation and lack of transparency in their program that these kinds of stories create way too much doubt. Sad all the way around.
Troubled SOn

Cleveland, MS

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#10
Aug 20, 2010
 

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MOMWHOCARES wrote:
I was in the process of helping my son enter Heartland Men's recovery program when my husband asked if I had really researched this place. I had a relative who had been there about 10 yrs ago, and she felt that it was a good program, founded in love and there to help. However, when I looked online for reviews and comments, I could find none. Finally, I did locate a few and 90% of their comments were awful. They described a punitive and shaming environment where tactics were mean-hearted and control through fear was the norm. Yikes! The LAST thing my son needs is more torture. Its impossible for me to know the real story, but I can't risk these possibilities for him. There is so much isolation and lack of transparency in their program that these kinds of stories create way too much doubt. Sad all the way around.
- I too was thinking of sending my son there- but like you now am afarid for him- he needs help, love understanding - not cruetly, I thought this was suppose to be a christian place.
ALERT - Abuse Warning

Wentzville, MO

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#11
Nov 19, 2010
 

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Thinking of sending your kids there???? DON'T DO IT!! Heartland enslaves those kids to keep their Dairy Farm running and make millions of dollars. Don't be fooled...it's ALL about $$$$$$...and NOTHING about helping troubled kids. But worst of all, they take 'corporal punishment' to the extreme and physically, emotionally and spiritually abuse these children. Then they use the $$$$ they made off the sweat of those kids to pay off courts so that they don't get in trouble for it. STAY CLEAR!!!! I pray God helps those children
Been There Done That

Elmwood Park, IL

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#12
Jan 3, 2011
 

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For those who are insisting that this school is a good idea, a loving and Christian place, and that the problem is all with the "horrible, messed up children" not being "appreciative of the chance they're given" and other such crap that people spout-- SHUT UP!! I lived there in the youth program for over 2 years, and while there are a few wonderful Christian families, the majority of the leadership is all stuck up, holier-than-thou fakes.
Before going to heartland, I was a A-B only student, a good kid, my hobbies were drawing and reading, and I had never had any interest in drugs or alcohol. But I did suffer from some serious depression after major bullying in jr high, and my parents thought that this place could help me get better. Wanting to take me off my meds and surround me with loving Christian people was a great idea--if only that had been the case.
Unfortunately, a lot of the staff there doesn't really care about the kids. I've heard female staff tell the girls "If your parents cared about you, they'd have taken you out by now!" and "you wouldn't be here if you didn't have problems!" and other such demeaning, horrible things. It's not a very encouraging environment, to say the least. There are, of course, a handful of very sweet people who really want to help the girls, but there's only so much they can do without getting in trouble.
Want to know what's funny? I was there when Maiah's mom took her out of the program. I remember that. We were very happy that someone had parents who cared enough to listen to our pleas. When my friends tried to save up money and start a website to get me out of heartland, I was treated like a criminal for 2 weeks. they took away my part-time job (where I had been working for a year) and my teacher's aid position which I had been doing for 5 months. They interrogated me and acted as if I had done something horrible, even though all I had said on my friends' site was "please pray for the leadership cuz they need help."
Finally, before they kicked me out, here are some of the things Charlie, the founder, and his wife, Laurie, had to say to me about me: "Without heartland, you would not have the grades you have! You would probably be dead, or on drugs, or in jail, or pregnant!" "You don't deserve the mission's trip we sent you on! you deceived the other girls into thinking you're a good example, a Christian, but you're not! the devil masquerades as an angel of light!" "you started an anime cult in my school!" (because i drew pictures for girls? because i liked to design outfits? at one point they confiscated a year's worth of sketches and threw them away, without asking at all!)
Does this sound like someone who loves children and wants to help hurting teens? Does this sound like someone who can admit their wrongs and try to improve for the better of everyone? NO, it sounds like a selfish person who insists that they are doing God's work: "Look what I'VE done for God!" At that moment, I knew that they did not love the kids in the program or make any point of getting to know them. They did not care about us or want us to be happy; they wanted to brag about what GREAT THINGS they were doing FOR GOD, using God as an excuse to do what they wanted.
And you know, i'm a fairly strong person emotionally, so I really didn't care that they said these kinds of things to me. I mean, it hurts a little, when you think someone is a Godly person and cares about you, then turns around and acts like this. But you wanna know what really hurt? Knowing that I was leaving behind some very vulnerable girls, as young as 12, in the hands of such people. Girls who had messed up family lives, girls who's step-mothers had forced their fathers to send them away(at least 2), girls who had been adopted from Russia and then abandoned here in the middle of a cornfield, never visited more than once or twice a year (I knew 3 for sure). The sad part is that we really weren't the horrible insane druggies they portray at all
Been There Done That

Elmwood Park, IL

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#13
Jan 3, 2011
 

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Oh, and to "Lindsey" and "Rebecca":

You don't know what the hell you're talking about. These are not druggie, alcoholic, totally mental kids. they are not homicidal or anything like that. If anything, there are a couple of girls who got sent away when daddy caught them messing around. Almost everyone else that was there between 2006 and 2008 was adopted and abandoned, came from a really messed up home, had a new stepmom who forced them out of the picture, or had parents that meant well but just didnt do enough research.

I am not even kidding when I say that- I know for a fact that 2 girls were sent there right after their dads got remarried. I know at least 3 girls who were russian orphans, were adopted by american families who then left them at heartland and didn't visit them. And most of them just came from screwed up houses, where their parents had not raised them right, had not paid attention to them, and then wanted to insist that all of the kid's problems were totally NOT the parents' fault, but that the kids was just screwed up.

These are NOT juvenile delinquents, people. These are NOT gangbangers and druggies. These are NOT alcoholic kids who go around hitting their parents. Those of you who believe Charlie and Laurie's insistence that these are terrible, terrible teenagers who are just out of control and need to be "fixed" LISTEN UP!! That is such a total LIE. These are hurting kids whose parents neglected them, or abused them, or encouraged them to do bad things, or left them to their own devices, and then refused to take the blame for the problems that came up. These are kids who are in pain, who have been betrayed by the people who should love and care for them.

Stop buying into the BS that these kids deserve to be paddled and punished. You know what kinds of things kids get swatted for? Swearing. If they catch you swearing, even ONCE, you can get up to 5 swats. Disrespect of an authority figure--even if the staff member made the whole thing up!! I have seen it happen- i watched a staff member lie to another staff member about how a student was "saying bad things about them and blatantly refusing to obey" when that was not at all the case. And when the student refused to take the swats because it was not the truth and she didn't deserve it? They called down to grown men staff to pin her and restrain her so that she could be give the swats. And, of course, she got more for refusing to take the original set. So she wound up getting 10 or 15 in one sitting FOR DOING NOTHING WRONG. On top of the bruises that she gained from struggling against the men who were restraining her, no less. She was bruised for weeks!

And when I talk about swats, i don't mean like when a parent smacks a little kid with a wooden spoon, people!! They have GROWN MEN, 40+ years old, almost all of whom used to play baseball in school, and they use a wooden paddle that is an inch thick and about 4 inches tall by 6 inches wide, minus the handle. Do you want a grown man swinging that thing hard on your back end, when you're a 14 or 15 year old girl? Should that EVER be considered acceptable?? And for them to do it, without EVER having to ask permission from the parents about ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION! Because once they sign you into the program, Heartland can do whatever they want with you. They don't have to notify your parents that you're being hit for mouthing off to a staff member who told you that "if your parents really cared about you, they would've already taken you out." No, they don't have to say anything at all!

YOU TELL ME--does this sounds like a good idea? does this sounds like the kind of place you want to send your child? does this sounds like a NURTURING and LOVING CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENT where your child can heal?

There are several families living there who are great, loving, Christian people. They have no idea how the program is run because they aren't ALLOWED to. No one is supposed to interact with "program kids." Suspicious?
Been There Done That

Elmwood Park, IL

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#14
Jan 3, 2011
 

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I mean, seriously, who pulls aside people that move into their little "private property" community and say things like:

"So yeah...I'm doing this great thing by helping all these really screwed up kids, women, and men. Our programs are great and really help people get their lives in order and get over their addictions and stuff. But don't talk to the program people, ok? They have issues and stuff. They say they want our help, and maybe they do, but a lot of them just want to keep pretending to be the victim so they never have to deal with their problems. So just keep that in mind."

Cuz that sure seems to be the speech they might get after moving to Heartland. I mean, there are families who avoid "program people" like the plague, won't let any of them near the children, won't speak to them, etc. Some even have the audacity to say to the program people that we need to stop complaining about everything and start appreciating all the blessings heartland is giving us. That we need to stop be so "ungrateful" for "everything Heartland is doing for you!"

Since they are naive, we can forgive them their cruel words. Only those who have been through the program will ever truly understand what it does to a person, and the flaws in the system, and the favoritism, and the holier-than-thou staff that beats down on you. Unless you are an inherently good person, you can't understand without having been through it. But there were a handful of them there, like the Shorts, the Palmers, the Nickersons, the Whites, the Metzgers the Powells, the Newlands, and the Kippings. They all genuinely care about the kids in the program and want to help them learn, heal, and grow. They are wonderful people who will always be in my favorite memories. I hope they continue to do the Host Parent nights every week and that these families continue to participate, because spending time with them, even for a few hours once a week, made life at Heartland infinitely better.

The weeks I spent at the Palmers playing uno and making dinner together made my senior year tons of fun. The games of hide-and-seek with the Nickerson/White kids before church and the times we goofed off during class activities/nonacademic days were always hilarious. The times Mrs. Kipping brought us to her house after school to make delicious cookies was always relaxing. The times Mama Powell interrupted our Life Studies class to go to her house and bake those perfect mini bananabread loaves and listen to hear stories always cheered me up on a bad day. Every afternoon spent working with Mrs. Metzger and the kids was so much fun, so eventful. Every class with Coach Short going on rabbit trails and telling stories and making us laugh makes me smile. I will never forget these great memories as long as I live.

But the people who treat the "program people" like the plague because they don't know better, you really have to wonder how that came to be. What do Charlie and Laurie tell them about us to get them to fear and loathe us? What do the staff and leadership say about us that makes us seem so terrible? And how can you not find it terribly suspicious when someone says that you shouldn't interact with all the program people, if you're a good Christian person who wants to help? I mean, that's like saying,"No, no, let ME handle it, because only I can fix them. Even though you mean well, you shouldn't try to help. They might try to drag you down. Let me take care of this, and please, just don't interfere." Isn that not toally screaming "HEY LOOK- NO CHECKS AND BALANCES!!"

They can't be held responsible for any wrongdoings if they insist that everyone making claims of said wrongdoings is totally crazy or out for attention, can they? If the people who accuse them of abuse, or unkindness, or unfairness are all mental, or just "trying to play the victim" then of course they don't have to ever admit to any wrongs, and then they never have to fix anything. They can do anything they please- that is BAD.
ashli

Lafayette, LA

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#15
Apr 8, 2011
 

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unless you have been there you would not know. i was there for 3 years in that program for kids. you're right, for alot it is their only chance and it was mine as well. but to say those kids are spoiled is wrong. alot of the kids are sent their because their parents dont have time for them and you only have to pay what you can afford. no, manure is a fine punishment, but paddled on the butt with a board is not. i personally know that it only makes a kid more angry! yes, i call that abuse. not only do they do that, but they also cut girls' hair for punishment, but not by a professional. they just take scissors and chop it off however they want. in the dorm, there are no windows to look out of. just brick walls to stare at. there is no going outside, except for an occasional walk on the weekends. there is also discipline food where you get a tuna sandwich for supper everyday for a week, not to mention it has been sitting out all day cuz you have to carry it with you all day. there are so many things wrong with the program that it does more harm than good.
6 years in it all

Roanoke, TX

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#16
Jun 27, 2011
 

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I was there for 6 years. I started out in the Eve house with a family who cared for several girls of a variety of ages. I was 12 almost 13 years old when I was sent voluntarily to Heartland. I was not a delinquent or a drug abuser. I simply wanted to escape my family and things going on at home that have left me scarred for the rest of my life. No one forced me to go. No one is perfect and neither was I. Both the parents and child need to take at least that responsiblility. Heartlanders also need to settle for the fact that they are not perfect and cannot set any bar/standard for anyone under their "power" to live up to. My experience was horrble to me at the time, but it's also all about how I decided to behave. I broke the rules a lot, while other times I did nothing wrong and yet suffered the consequences for what I was accused of. If I had obeyed the rules, then most of the horrid and painful things I went through would not have happened. Like some have mentioned, there are a handful of people there who mean well and try their best to help those of us who were there just trying to grow up. The only thing I would say about Heartland for those of you who are thinking of sending your children or loved ones there is this...if your kids just have an attitude or a minor issue, then send them to a shrink where they can talk it out and get a lil helpful advice. If they need a wake up call, take them on a tour of a prison. If you think you just can't handle them anymore and you're at your wits end, then take them on a tour of Heartland and hit me up for my email so I can tell them exactly what they are about to go into. Think about every option available before sending them to Heartland, a place where you will only be told the staff member's side of any story and be told that your child is lying when they are really telling the truth. Don't be uneducated, but don't get swamped with all the horror stories, no matter how many may be true. Please, just put yourself in your child's shoes before you make such a life-changing decision for them...and for yourself.
6 years in it all

Roanoke, TX

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#17
Jun 27, 2011
 

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ALERT - Abuse Warning wrote:
Thinking of sending your kids there???? DON'T DO IT!! Heartland enslaves those kids to keep their Dairy Farm running and make millions of dollars. Don't be fooled...it's ALL about $$$$$$...and NOTHING about helping troubled kids. But worst of all, they take 'corporal punishment' to the extreme and physically, emotionally and spiritually abuse these children. Then they use the $$$$ they made off the sweat of those kids to pay off courts so that they don't get in trouble for it. STAY CLEAR!!!! I pray God helps those children
It's not "all about the money" Few kids work in the dairy, creamery, or farms, that's where the men's center works...and gets paid. If it were "all about the money" then wouldn't you think they would require a relatively large tuition fee? There's not one. It's whatever the family can afford, and sometimes that's nothing.
Anon

Johannesburg, South Africa

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#18
Jul 2, 2011
 

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This place sounds like hell on earth! Notify social services, get your kids out of there and shut them down.
6 years in it all

Roanoke, TX

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#19
Jul 2, 2011
 

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Don't judge the place before you have experienced it first hand. It is an awesome place to raise your children. The environment is light and very pleasant. Yes, the programs are hard, but it's also only as hard as the person in it makes it. My experience sucked because I was a rebel, not because Heartland is a bad, abusive, or neglectful place. Would I send my daughter there? No. I know that if she is anything like me, it will have the same effect on her, but I also believe that I deserve to deal with whatever she throws at me. If other post program people would like to share their opinions and horror stories on here, then so be it, but just know that their story isn't a universal truth. Please take the time to see what a place is about first hand before you pass hell-ffire and judgement on it.
HCA Graduate

Bethel, MO

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#20
Jul 6, 2011
 

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You people are ate up in the head. Swatting people is not abuse. All you jokers who think they know the Bible...what happened to training your children the way they should go? I spent 4+ in Heartland and stil live here. You want abuse?try getting neglected as a toddler, shoved down a flight of stairs, and being exposed to cocaine as a young child. Thats not even half of the stuff I have been through. I know what abuse is, and you if you think it is getting a paddel to the behind...I would encourage you to ask some elderly people what they had as punishment when they were young! Heartland cares enough to punish people for stupidity that the students parents did not know how to handle. Trust me I saw all sorts of dumb things done. Im not blaming the kids, they had rough back rounds, but Heartland is trying to correct that. They don't swat you for looking the wrong way. There are a few offenses that will merit swats automatically, but swatting is the last thing done usually. I agree this is not a perfect place, but if you can find one on this earth then I will pay for plane tickets. As for people shunning program people...that is a pretty exaggerated concept. It has been true in the past and for good reason. Back in the day most of the kids were from inner city environments and were really a rough bunch of kids. I believe in helping people, but I also believe in exercising wisdom In doing so. Last thing...money. Heartland rarely makes a profit off of any of the business ventures they are envolved in. They usually break even. Does Charlie really need your money? I don't think so. Try going to any other place like this and see how much there charging. Get your facts straight people.
Anonymous

United States

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#21
Jul 24, 2011
 

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To HCA Graduate (not that you will read this... or believe it if you do)

Well, Paddling in itself may not be abuse, but what about naked paddling? Cos that happened to someone I know. They were held down and stripped naked before being swatted 25 times... is that abuse? And before you call me a liar... I have multiple CREDIBLE witnesses. Oh, and the one who did the swatting is a convicted sex offender now. He raped his own daughter... and he is still staying at Heartland. Charlie's punishment for a man raping his own teen daughter? A year and a half in the program... the poor girl who was raped? she was not allowed to go to the police at first. Then she was made to sit in church with her father who raped he. To promote "healing" and show that Heartland could heal all wounds... Is that abuse?

I personally spent 9 months in Heartland. How can you say that swatting is a last resort, or the last thing done? Maybe Heartland has adopted that policy currently, because they were getting the crap sued out of them. When I was there, swats were, if not the first option, very close to it. Green suits, Heartland Stew, and Swats. I was swatted once for, guess what... telling my mother that I was not being given my asthma medicine. Which was the truth, I was not lying.

Every day after school we would get back to the center and there would be a line at least ten kids long every day... those kids were awaiting swats because of school tallies. They would get a swat for every single tally. I would get a swat for every single tally. I got tallies for getting questions wrong on a math quiz. I got a low grade because I did not understand the material. My "teacher" (didn't have a degree so I do not know how he was a teacher), instead of teaching me gave me tallies. So I got swatted for not knowing how to do some math problems. Maybe the swats themselves were not abuse (I had bruises from them, but nothing too serious), but the ease with which they were handed out I think was.

So, you can sit at your computer and preach Heartland's praises and lie and tell everyone that no one gets abused there... that is fine. But others will tell the truth. And before you talk about the fact that Heartland was acquitted in the court cases, how about you also mention the fact that they paid people thousands of dollars to testify on their behalf. They found people who were going to testify against them, and they offered them large sums of money, and all of the sudden those people did not want to testify against Heartland... funny how that works, huh?
Former Heartland Staff

Saint Ann, MO

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#22
Jul 28, 2011
 

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I was former Heartland Staff. Either you are uneducated as to the activities behind closed doors or are plain lying. Just because YOU didn't experience it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. There are far worse things than "manure shoveling" that take place at Heartland. I guess you have never heard of Charlie Sharpe throwing around his money to keep victims quiet. Did you know that registered sex offenders live in the mens center and attend church with the children. Some even work with the boys. One of the offenders "offended" while at Heartland. Do us all a favor and do your research before making anymore unfounded statements.

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