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  • Heartland Christian Academy!

    Hi Everyone,

    My roots on my father's side go back to rock ridge foothills of the Meramec River located between Leasburg and Cuba Missouri. My grandfather farmed the clay rock ridge tops located right next to Lick Creek. It was not easy to make a living on that land.

    My grandfather plowed with mules, or should I say that my uncles plowed with the mules, once they were able to catch them. It seemed as if every time that they wanted to work the mules, they would spend half a day chasing those mules over 120 acres in order to corral them. This was an intolerable situation for my grandfather. My grandfather expected his children and his animals to come when he called them.

    When the mules were finally caught, my grandfather would place them in the corral, and then my grandfather would take a board and beat those mules unmercifully saying, "I am going to teach you blankety, blank mules to come when I call you." I don't think my grandfather ever learned why his mules would not come when he called them.

    Rovivus recently asked: "Dad, how do you teach a dog to sit? Do you command the dog to sit, pushing the rear of the dog down, and then proceed to beat the dog when he gets up? No, you give the dog the command, you make the dog to sit, and then you give the dog a treat." I have never trained a dog, but I suspect that if you want positive results, you had better concentrate on the giving the treats instead of giving punishment.

    This is a true statement: Human beings are motivated by both pain and pleasure. Human beings will do more to avoid pain than to receive pleasure. So, our behavior can be modified through pain. How many times did each of us need to experience "hot" before we learned to avoid "hot"? Even so, while pain and fear does have its place in shaping our behavior, lasting change can only take place in our lives when we want the change to take place or when we desire the change. This can take place in our lives only through positive reinforcement.

    How do I know that this is true? Well, ask yourself this question? Is the good spirit, which was given to you by your Heavenly Father, a treat or a punishment?

    Heartland Christian Academy is abusing my nephew. He is being constantly paddled, and he is not allowed to keep the Sabbath Day in freedom at that institution. I have made several inquires concerning Heartland, and this is what a good friend and counselor told me, "I would not send my dog to that place!"

    Recently, the St. Louis Post Dispatch Newspaper ran several articles on the religious reform schools that operate with complete autonomy in the State of Missouri. Missouri places no regulations on these institutions. If you are interested in this issue, here is a link that will take you to some recent articles that have been published in the paper:

    The above link will only be active for the next couple of days. Hear are a couple of other links which discuss the issue of Christian Reform Schools in Missouri:'s+choice%3A+Dale+Knowlton+sent+his+unruly+sons+to+a+religious+boarding+school,+but+he+now+regrets+t hat+decision[/url]

    I do not know how long these links will be active. What do you say, brothers and sisters? How, do we train our adolescents in the way that they should go?

    Sincerely, Spying
    The Currahee Band Of Brothers Are Beginning To Arise In The HOLY PLACE! Listen to them!!!

  • #2
    Hello everyone,

    I’m here to put my two cents in, as usual.

    I am very personally disturbed, angry, and worried about the fact that my cousins are living in an institution based on the abuse of power and control. For those of you who may not understand-- You may remember us talking, a while back, about my cousins being “sent away”. Nearly one year after we filed charges against Uncle X, he and his wife sent their three youngest children away to Heartland Christian Academy.

    Heartland Christian Academy is owned and operated by a man named Charles Sharpe. Sharpe is a millionaire. Many of his staff members have been charged with child abuse, but all have “gotten off” in court. It’s amazing what money can buy these days. Charles Sharpe is a long time friend of United States Attorney General, John Ashcroft. This, as I conclude, is just one of the reasons why Missouri continues to permit people to operate un-licensed facilities that house children--in the name of religion.

    As I see it, Heartland is a really good place to hide your kids away and shield them from the “state” when you are being investigated and charged for child sexual abuse. The children are not allowed any outside contact through letters or phone calls unless approved by their parents. It’s literally like they are in prison. It has also become a last resort, or dumping ground, if you will, for parents who have lost control of their children. They send their kids away to be “fixed”. But mind you, those who do the fixing are not educated or trained in anything other than the opinions of Charles Sharpe.

    Charles Sharpe claims that his religious rights would be violated if he were to be licensed by the state. Those of us who support such legislation don’t see this as an issue of religion, but one of the safety and protection of children. Staff members of these types of reform schools are not mandated to have background checks done, nor are the facilities held to any standard other than that of Charles Sharpe’s personal values and beliefs. It literally is “his way or the highway”. And those staff members who choose the highway, sneak out in the middle of the night in order to do so.

    I want you all to know that this issue is urgent. Not only for my cousins, but for any child who lives in one of these religious reform schools. People like Charles Sharpe use God’s good name as a scapegoat, for justifying the way they treat children. There are still a handful of states left who allow such nonsense to occur. Your state may be one of them. I ask you to just simply be aware of the issue, and if you are so moved--write a letter or make a phone call in support of changing this situation for those kids. Please.

    What do you know that you don't know? I know that I don't know what my views will necessarily be in the future.


    • #3
      Dear God,

      I know it’s possible
      I know there is an answer

      Please help us out
      Please work your magic

      Because some abuse the power
      You have given us as humans

      While many sin here and there
      Others have sinned that, multiplied by one million

      I believe sin is measured
      By the damage done to another

      And yet people use your name
      As a reason to control others

      I sure wish you were here
      To put in your two cents

      One thing I know for sure
      Is that you aren’t sitting on the fence

      I know what you would say
      And I know exactly how you would act

      You would shake your head in dissatisfaction
      For the way you’re used as the scapegoat, that’s leading the pack

      You’d say “How sad, how sorry, how wrong, how deceitful”
      And you would then distinguish who is truly evil

      I write this prayer with a dream in mind
      One where you are right by our side

      When the children are protected
      The world is made better, one day at a time

      When the children are forsaken
      It impacts all human kind

      I ask you now, as I’ve ask you many times
      Please go live at Heartland

      Please sleep there every single night
      And watch over their hearts and their minds

      And as I end this prayer
      I just pray you are already there.


      What do you know that you don't know? I know that I don't know what my views will necessarily be in the future.


      • #4
        Dear E, S, and P:

        Listen carefully to that voice inside
        The one that smiles through the tears you want to cry

        Search yourself for everything you’ll need
        To survive the betrayal, the torture, the greed

        We’ll talk through God, one day at a time
        In this struggle you’re fighting, what’s yours is mine

        They can take anything away
        It’s your soul they will not break

        God knows all, sees all and shows
        It’s what you can’t say, that God lets us know

        How hard it must be to understand
        Why you must suffer at the hands of a man

        Who’s power and control turns warm hearts cold
        Who’s manipulation keeps the truth from being told

        One day you will soon be
        Emancipated, whole, and free

        And you will know the difference then
        Between betrayal and a true friend

        We will still be here to support you that day
        As opposed to being the ones who supported you being sent away

        Some will say they were powerless, their hands were tied
        Don’t forget to ask them what they did, and if they tried

        To explore all other options for you
        What did they say, what did they do?

        When my dad called his brother
        They said call your mother

        He tried to get through, just so you know
        But she blocked his number from her phone

        Once again, nothing to say
        They like to put things off for another day

        Anyway, I just wanted you to know
        That we did try to save you from that hell hole

        Love, Rovivrus
        What do you know that you don't know? I know that I don't know what my views will necessarily be in the future.


        • #5
          Rehabilitation or Abuse?

          On any given day at Heartland Christian Academy, hundreds of young children and adolescents are forced to live an extremely different life than the lives led by children their same age. Heartland Christian Academy is one of many unlicensed religious reforms schools in the state of Missouri. The institution is owned and operated by Reverend Charles Sharpe. Sharpe made millions as the founder of Ozark National Life Insurance Company and decided to use his fortune to contribute to the lives of children. Each day, the young children who reside at Heartland are expected to adhere to strict rules governed by Sharpe. “Since 1995, Heartland has welcomed not only defiant teens, but adults and even entire families who come to work the ranch and farmland while they shed bad habits” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 19, 2002). Despite Sharpe’s intentions to positively influence the lives of children and their families, his attempts have been strongly criticized. The dilemma that arises from this issue is one that attempts to respect an individual’s right to religious freedom, while simultaneously upholding the safety and protection of children. As religious reforms schools in Missouri are permitted to operate without a state license, children’s advocates are outraged. For the safety of the children, religious reform schools must be mandated to register with the state.
          Most of the children that live at Heartland Christian Academy have been ripped from their homes and sent to Heartland by their parents. Many of the parents who mislead their children to this school are seeking the rehabilitation that Charles Sharpe promises. As a result, Heartland has become a final resort for desperate parents who no longer possess the ability to rear and control their, often defiant, children. Sharpe has created Heartland’s environment to reflect his personal values and beliefs, based very strongly on his religious faith. He has, in essence, designed his own set of rules to correct the misconduct of children. Heartland is not subjected to standardizations of any sort, and therefore Sharpe sets his own standard. He employs techniques such as swatting, as a form of punishment for children who do not adhere to the rules of the institution. Such techniques are not permitted in state regulated facilities. The most highly publicized demonstration of child punishment involved children having to shovel cow manure, waist deep. This practice resulted in criminal child abuse charges for five Heartland employees. A jury in rural Missouri later dismissed the charges.
          Rather than provide professional counseling and proven positive reinforcement methods, Sharpe firmly believes in physical punishment. In fact, he believes it to be sinful to rear children in the absence of physical punishment. Consequently, his staff members are permitted to strike the children with a wooden paddle as a form of discipline. Some children are swatted on occasion, and others are swatted daily. Another disturbing story retold by an ex-employee is the metaphorical punishment of forcing disobedient students to literally dig their own graves. After they were finished digging, there were required to sleep in their graves as symbolism of burying their sins.
          Many question how Sharpe, who maintains that he will “save” all wayward children, is capable of the practices he employs within the walls of his establishment. He exercises complete control over the individual rights of his entire student body, and he answers to no one. The attendants at Heartland are forbidden any contact with the “outside” world with the exception of the people who are responsible for their placement. Still, even those communications are limited and monitored. Such practice appears to be a pretty airtight way of keeping the ongoing controversial style under raps.
          Sharpe has, so far, been able to hide behind the constitutional right of religious freedom. The state virtually has no say in how he operates his facility. It seems rather simplistic that religion is used as the basis for providing exemptions to state licensure and registration. Technically, anyone can establish and operate an institution such as Heartland, as long as one’s intentions are based upon religious beliefs. “In fact, the exemption is so specific, that the state can't even keep a list of religious boarding schools that have opened. Nor can the state challenge a school to prove that it deserves to be excluded from licensure” (St. Louis Pos-Dispatch, February 5, 2002). On the contrary, some wonder why an individual such as Sharpe would object to inspections and regulations, since he claims that his practices are justified and harmless.
          Despite the licensing exemptions that are granted to religiously based reform schools, those who care for children in any setting are still held to the same child abuse and neglect laws as everyone else in society. Sharpe’s rules and forms of punishment are abusive in the eyes of many. Yet, how would family services and law enforcement find out if children are being abused? How would anyone know if the swatting techniques are leaving bruises? The children have been silenced by their inability to freely communicate with others outside of the facility. There is no way of knowing whether any given Heartland employee has a criminal child abuse record, because no one has been mandated to find out. Nor is anyone permitted to randomly inspect the institution, in order to monitor the well-being of the children who live there.
          Attempts to pass legislation that would license and regulate religious reform schools continue to be shot down. Like many other political battles, money and power continue to reign. For example, Charles Sharpe is a long time, personal friend of United States Attorney General, John Ashcroft (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 6, 1998). Sharpe also donates large sums of money to the Republican Party, many of whom continue to vote in ways that protect his operation. While representatives, such as Phil Smith of Louisiana, have filed and backed bills that would require religious schools to be licensed, the “resistance is potent” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 1, 2002). Instead, those same supporters hope to pass legislation that would at least require minimal regulation, such as fire codes, health and safety standards, and employee background checks.
          Unfortunately, the impact on a child’s emotional, mental, and physical health that might result from life within Heartland Christian Academy has yet to be recorded and researched. Since Heartland has only been operating for approximately six years, its graduates are few. Imagine what life would be like after leaving Heartland. The children likely have the choice of moving back home to live with the same parents who sent them to Heartland in the first place. How does a person learn to live independently, after being controlled for so long? One might compare it to inmates who are released from prison after a long number of years, who find it difficult to function as part of society once again. The future will only tell what life was truly like amongst the rooms, the halls, the church, and the many acres of Heartland Christian Academy.

          Written By: Rovivrus2
          What do you know that you don't know? I know that I don't know what my views will necessarily be in the future.