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July 10th, 2012
10:32 PM ET

"Ungodly Discipline?": School accused of making kids panhandle

In school you expect students to learn math, science and English - but what about panhandling? At St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, California parents say begging for money is part of the curriculum.

CNN's Gary Tuchman found a student as young as six or seven on the streets collecting money at a BART subway station, not for himself or his family - the money was for the school. It's a modern version of Oliver Twist. There was an adult with the boy, who is one of the men who run the school. When Gary asked the man where the money is going he didn’t get the response he expected.

There are also allegations a student was physically abused at the school with belts, and even spoons. And St. Andrew's leaders are accused of fleecing taxpayers. Gary asked the school leader about those charges, as well. See what happens during the latest installment in our special series of reports called "Ungodly Discipline?"

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Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Gary Tuchman • Religion • Ungodly Discipline
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Jodi Hobbs

    Great coverage on this school. This school and many like it need to be exposed. I agree with James P. Mason. Great work, on exposing this abuse.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  2. Shane Norton

    Father and son leading it. Sounds like Pinehaven isn't the only multigenerational fake Christian scam school trying to make money off of unfortunate kids.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  3. Harland_Sanderz

    No one with a functioning brain is surprised by this display of remorseless, thoughtless TNB.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  4. Alexis S.

    My goodness! In my naiveté I called and left a message for the head of this school several months ago to express concern about young kids soliciting donations late in the evening with no adult supervision. I mistakenly assumed their parents had put them up to it and that they were using the school name as a cover. Looks like I was wrong. Now I understand why the school never returned my phone call... Thanks CNN for shining a light on this shameful behavior.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Michelle

      I reported the situation to the Oakland School Board and the Oakland Police at least three years ago when I first saw the kids panhandling all day long on 20th street. I received no response, and now I'm very regretful of not pursuing it more aggressively.

      July 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  5. George A. Meyer III

    I do not think panhandling in an organized manner is appropriate for people to do, e.g. being forced to do so upon anothers command. I learned how to panhandle when I was an adult, e.g. running out of fuel money while traveling across the continent, or having paid all of my bills will my miniscule disability check and requiring monies for leasure time, e.g. a pack of smokes or maybe a restaurant cooked meal. It is actually quite easy to do, (although when I am working I do not) all you have to do is tell the stranger the truth and if they might be able to spare a dollar, or if you have to purchase enough fuel to arrive at home ask several strangers if they all might spare a dollar. You would be suprised at how generous the average american is... If they were to say no, I would thank them for their time and wish them the best. Begging is a truly religious experience, when summounted by impossible odds you would be suprised at the help you recieve if you just have the decentcy to ask? Buddhists often send aspiring monks to do so whne they leave the monestary. Respectfully, George A. Meyer III – B.S. Political Science Associates in Business Administration – Summa Cum Laude.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  6. James P. Mason

    Once again, phenomenal investigative reporting by Gary Tuchman and crew. Evil hides in darkness, and only when exposed to the light, can good prevail.

    Keep up the good work.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

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