206. Agape Boarding School

A parent writes about the sons stay:

Our son attended Agape in 2010. I now pray daily for these boys in this school. When we visited our son, it took me more than half a day to get him to speak loud enough so I could hear him. With the exception of one staff member, I found the staff arrogant, condescending, and hypocritical. I did not EVER see this firm, but loving environment. I think it is he’ll on earth. Ask yourself why they had to leave States where these schools are regulated! I desperately tried to find the former congresswoman who tried to get it regulated to no avail. My son is doing wonderful now, but no thanks to Agape. he had PSTD after returning and we had to have ALOT of counseling to overcome the trauma of our decision to send him there. Ask about the relationship of the staff members to each other. Research whether any of them would be able to stand up and say if something was wrong. Ask to talk to other students and kids. And, don’t just take a tour..GO WATCH EVERYTHING for several days. These kids are totally isolated!!! I’m glad it works for some…others are injured horribly for life! If I could do anything it would be to get this school regulated and held accountable!

A student writes:

I was a student. I was miserable. They turned me more away from Religion than I was before. This school did nothing good for me. I considered suicide on a daily basis. It was the worst place i’ve ever been. I’m not a bad kid now however. But that is due to me growing up not Agape. Agape is Hell on earth. Please for your son, do not send him here.

It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.



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About Rotsne

Danish immigrant, but very integrated. After having worked for another research center, I have recently started working for International Culture Exchange where I serve the youth and their families wanting to become an exchange student.

2 responses to “206. Agape Boarding School”

  1. Joe Barnett says :

    I was at Agape for a year. It’s almost cult like in the way they brainwash you to their particular extremist religious views, except unlike a cult if you are disobedient they will either isolate you, force you to do physical labor or exercises for hours on end, and the unlucky ones are physically assaulted. I saw a 12 year old get picked up and slammed face first into the tile floor by a 6’+ 250lb+ former marine. I’ve seen a teenager shoved down a flight of stairs. The worst of it goes on behind closed doors but we saw the aftermath, black eyes, broken noses, contusions, split lips and anyone evolved in such an incident had their possessions including clothes comphenscated and forced to wear only a robe and flip flops for up to three months, even winter months. I was smart, I complied and was rewarded for it but I became brainwashed as a result making my reentry into society very difficult. I don’t think I will ever forgive my parents for sending me there.

  2. Amanda Clidence says :

    I’m married to a former staff member, and this place still gives me the chills. Here’s my review I left on Yelp (one of three separately-written reviews. I’m now barred from leaving reviews on their business, thanks to Agape staff for flagging my reviews).

    I am the wife of a former staff member at Agape Boarding School, yet I was treated as an indentured servant whilst there.

    But really, why would you trust what I say here? Let me tell you about myself: I grew up in a solid Christian environment. I went to a private Christian school and Bible college where I met my husband. Our senior year, Mr Rich Kascak (a good man who is now a pastor in Texas) visited and encouraged students to consider Agape Boarding School for their future employment. My husband took him up on that and moved there after graduation. Before you write me off when you read what is to come, let me preface by saying this: I am not a troublemaker. My only problem is in stating the truth too transparently even when it is unwelcome. While at Agape, I was told that “honesty is not always the best policy.”

    My husband was under the impression that I would be allowed to take a job when he was working for Agape Boarding School. When I moved there, many of the staff wives came to me to recruit me into their various departments: kitchen, secretarial, grading boys’ papers, staff school monitor/teacher, nursery, etc. They were quick to point out to me that I was prohibited from working an actual job. Kathy “Ma’am” Clemenson approached me and inquired as to when I’d want to start work. Having previously discussed the whole job situation with my husband, I told her that my husband did not want me to work for Agape. I explained I was still unpacking my things and needed time to adjust. I told her if she didn’t press me into a job and gave me time, I would become the hardest worker she’d ever have. A week later she again approached me with my husband present and started on the same conversational track. I again told her, husband standing right there, that he and I both knew that I wasn’t ready. She told me not to worry about it, not to fear, and that I wouldn’t know unless I tried and proceeded to assign me to a job and told me I was to start that Tuesday. Shocked, I turned to my husband and he was just as flummoxed as I was. Agape teaches that the husband is to be the head of the home, but time and time again they convinced us that that was opposite from the truth.

    At Agape, “Ma’am” threatened to fire my husband when I approached her a month after working there. I asked her why I couldn’t work off campus, that we needed the money desperately, that I had a college degree, that I wouldn’t get into trouble in town, etc. She sternly looked at me and told me that if I did so, they would have to fire my husband and kick us out of our home. With only one source of income and bills accumulating, I had no choice but to keep quiet (or as polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs once put it, “Keep sweet”). The next day, my husband had an add’l check in his mailbox: $128.32-ish and addressed to him. That was my monthly allowance, a “gift”, to thank me for “volunteering”. I was informed by other staff wives that all the wives who “volunteered” made the same amount no matter where they worked or how many hours they put in. Some months I’d put in over 90 hours. Some months I put in only a few dozen. One of the wives informed me that it took an entire YEAR of working for Agape to get a “gift” check. If I stayed on their “good side”, the checks would be there. Towards the end of our time at Agape, it had been about 7 months or so since I’d last seen one in our mailbox.

    While at Agape, I pointed out to the leadership various issues that I thought could use improving, such as poor treatment of the staff, abuse of the rules by the upper staff, poor treatment of boys and inconsistencies between the boys’ school and staff kids’ school, lack of proper safeguards to protect students and staff (strep throat, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, the flu, etc. would cause epidemics resulting in a third of the campus getting sick), and improper cooking environment such as a pool of blood lying on the refrigerator floor for three days. My husband and I would mention how the school was becoming more of a dictatorship than a Christ-honoring place to help others. We even mentioned how some staff were intentionally abusing the system, and we complained that I’d been coerced to work for them against my husband’s wishes. Eventually my husband was fired without warning by Robert Graves. Some of the staff contacted us not knowing he’d been fired. In the coming weeks, Robert tried blackmailing my husband repeatedly for his letter of resignation by accusing us of having marital issues (we who had been warned to stop snuggling in church)! My husband refused to write such a letter as he had not resigned.

    Look at the statistics for successful graduates. Read the reviews. Judge for yourself. Realize most of the reviews are truthful. An upper staff man once told my husband that “Sometimes I lie awake at night and cry because of what we used to do to the students. All the things in those reviews? They’re all TRUE!” Those were HIS words, not ours.

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