Mom Pulls Twins From Eagle Point After Riot
April 16, 2005
By MOLLIE REEVES
Christy Depasquale has her twin 17-year-old sons at home with her in
Oklahoma after they spent more than a month at Eagle Point Christian
Academy, formerly known as Bethel Boys Academy.
was concerned for the boys' welfare after hearing of the riot that
took place at Eagle Point last weekend. During the riot, windows
were broken, bunks overturned and a barrack was trashed.
students were transported to a hospital for treatment, and six
others were taken into custody for disorderly conduct.
said she followed her instincts and, escorted by a George County
sheriff's deputy, arrived at Eagle Point around 2 a.m. on Friday to
retrieve her sons.
said her sons were "very relieved to be coming home."
"It's not a
good place," she said of Eagle Point.
phone calls Friday to Eagle Point director John Fountain were not
Depasquale's sons reportedly had "plenty of bruises and cuts and
scrapes" when she picked them up. One of the boys reportedly has a
bruise on his back where an Eagle Point staff member allegedly
"grabbed him and slammed his fist in his back" because he was
said Eagle Point uses "hazing-type discipline tactics." The twins
reportedly have scrapes on their knees from being made to kneel on a
hardwood floor for long periods of time when they got into trouble.
reported that the riot was really destructive and the "kids just
Depasquale's sons were two of four boys that ran away from the home
on Sunday after the riot. They were picked up and returned to the
home the same day. "They were scared. They wanted to get out of
there," Depasquale said.
also told their mother that the kitchen of Eagle Point was infested
with roaches and rats, and that if there was trouble during
mealtime, the boys either couldn't finish eating or were given 30
seconds to finish their meal.
also alleged that when the kids got into fights, the staff members
would just ignore it and leave the room. One of Depasquale's sons
was in a fight, and the brothers said the instructors just stood by
also told their mother that mace was being used frequently at Eagle
Point when anybody steps out of line.
said she felt Eagle Point was misrepresented to parents. She said
they didn't provide a 100 percent safe and secure environment,
there's a lack of supervision, and the education is not what it
said their family representative, Ada Gunter was a wonderful person.
"I really felt she did care," she said.
improvement plan for Eagle Point was established at a hearing in
George County Youth Court on Thursday. The court adopted a plan of
improvement recommended by the state and by Eagle Point.
documents from the hearing are sealed, but one step in the plan has
already been implemented by Eagle Point with the hiring of the
Mississippi Security Police, a private firm, to provide security
services for the academy. The Mississippi Security Police were
called after the riot and have been present at the facility since
"I hope the
actions that were taken will prevent future problems," District
Attorney Tony Lawrence said.
said he had certain concerns he wanted to see addressed including
kids escaping and kids being injured.
of a security firm will certainly go a long way to alleviating a lot
of problems we've seen in the past," he said.
said he could not confirm case-by-case allegations against Eagle
Point, but allegations made to him will be investigated. "Any matter
alleged to be of criminal activity will be investigated and
presented to a grand jury," he said.
County Youth Court Prosecutor Mark Maples said the recommendation of
the court were to "ensure the safety and security of the students as
well as the community."
agreed that the issue of security needed reconsidered, Maples said.
County Sheriff Garry Welford said he felt the plan "would be good
for the security of the kids and for the community."
Mollie Reeves can be reached at email@example.com or