A feature-length film aims to tell the story of American teenagers sent to an evangelical Christian boarding school, Escuala Caribe, in the Dominican Republic. According to its website, the school is “therapeutic,” with a mission to help the parents of underachieving kids “train their child in the way he or she should go.”
Several past students allege “physical and emotional abuse” at the “boot camp,” however. Among those featured in the upcoming documentary Kidnapped for Christ are a teenager who says he was, essentially, abducted during the night to be taken from his US home to Escuala Caribe:
One morning I woke up. Two guys were at my house. … Both my parents were standing there, saying: “We love you, David. We love you.” … [The men] tied a belt around my waist, dragged me with the belt to their car. … I got sent down here because I am gay, and my parents, they just weren’t okay with that.
Watch the trailer below:
Here’s a very telling paragraph from the school’s website:
Culture shock is a form of psychological disorientation produced by a sudden and complete change in one’s cultural environment. … [It tends] to make adolescents remarkably more dependent upon our Christian staff for direction and emotional support, while also rendering them more malleable and capable of new perspectives. Culture shock in a highly structured setting greatly enhances meaningful communication, offering young people extraordinary occasions for making enriching discoveries that inspire personal growth.