Mon, Apr. 11, 2005
Boys Home Reopens After Disturbance
A home for
troubled boys was back open Monday after a weekend disturbance that
left at least one dormitory damaged and several youth with injuries.
disturbance began Friday at Eagle Point Christian Academy in
Lucedale, a private boarding school for delinquent boys. The
facility, earlier known as Bethel Boys Home, has a long history of
problems, operates under a court decree and is monitored.
remained in custody Monday. Academy director John Fountain said he
did not plan to press charges but would expel them from school along
with some others.
these kids, this environment just doesn't work for them," he said.
"These young men that started this problem need to be held
accountable. But the way the ball bounces in this type of thing, I'm
probably going to take the heat for it."
there was several thousand dollars worth of broken glass on campus.
ran away from the school Sunday. Three were caught and a fourth was
being sought Monday. Fountain could not say if the that fourth
student has been found.
security company remained at the home.
Bill East, a
former prosecutor with the state attorney general's office, inspects
the school quarterly as the academy's monitor, part of a 2003 George
County Chancery Court consent decree that required the school to
institute a range of changes from allowing restroom and water breaks
during exercise to forbidding the use of electrical devices for
was issued while the school was directed by Fountain's father,
Herman Fountain, and abuse allegations drew the attention of state
officials who sought to close the academy.
Fountain relinquished all interest in the school, which admits about
100 students from all over the country. John Fountain has said he
has worked to reform the academy.
Welford said he kept deputies at the school until Sunday.
the school has 122 cadets from ages 12 to 17.
really don't like it down there," he said. "It was definitely a
riot. They were breaking things, tearing things up. They broke the
windows out of one dorm upstairs. They pretty well trashed it."
students stopped up the toilets in the upstairs area of the home and
flooded the downstairs and destroyed security cameras.
he was told by students that the incident started from a rumor that
there would be a state inspection of the school. Welford said some
students decided to make the school look as bad as they could.
Academy has a history of abuse allegations and state investigations
dating to 1988, when 72 children were removed by state welfare
officials. In 1990, a judge closed the school, then owned by Herman
Fountain Sr. In 1994, Fountain reopened it as Bethel Boys Academy.
year, the school changed its name to Eagle Point Christian Academy.
John Fountain said the name change is an effort to dissociate the
school from the past allegations.