(NewsNation) — Agapé Boarding School for Boys in Stockton, Missouri, is facing 19 lawsuits alleging acts of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, including forcing students to roll around in camel poop.
Nicole Fernandes, one of the plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit, claims the boarding school abused her special needs son. During a visit, she said she noticed he was “fifthly, shaved head, scrawny. Discolored. He was kind of grey and blue-looking. That was my very first red flag.”
During an appearance Thursday night on NewsNation’s “Banfield,” Fernandes also accused the school of, “brainwashing the parents,” saying she felt like she’d be a failure as a parent if she ever removed her son from the program.
Former student Robert Bucklin attended the school from 2007 to 2013 and has been actively trying to get the school shut down, saying while a student he was restrained for hours at a time.
“They have 3-4 staff members on top of you. Just literally beating you down, kicking you in the ribs. In the head. Punching you. Throwing you against the walls,” Bucklin said during an appearance on “Banfield.”
The abuse happened daily, Bucklin said.
“You could hear kids from upstairs in the Church, or the dining room, screaming for help because they were getting beat down by the staff,” Bucklin said.
Bucklin believes that the school has been able to act this way because they’ve “hid under the cloak of religion for decades,” and that the school is “pretty well connected to Republican politicians in the state of Missouri.”
NewsNation reached out to Agapé Boarding School for comment but has yet to hear back.