- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

ST. LOUIS (AP ) — A Christian reform school has filed a lawsuit over Missouri’s removal of 115 students whom officials said they were trying to protect from abuse.

Heartland Academy and its parent corporation, CNS International Ministries Inc., were joined by more than 50 parents and children in the federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The school, located 150 miles north of St. Louis, relies on a strict Christian doctrine and corporal punishment to try to turn around wayward students in kindergarten through high school.

In October 2001, a state juvenile officer ordered 115 students removed. Among the accusations was that students were required to stand in manure and shovel it.

Several parents came to the school’s defense after the students were removed, and a judge later allowed the children to return. In 2004, a federal judge in St. Louis prohibited future removals unless students were deemed in imminent danger, a decision affirmed in 2005 by a federal appeals court. In December, the state agreed to pay $775,000 to settle a lawsuit Charles Sharpe, the school’s founder, filed over the students’ removal.

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