“It’s a good look…getting these bright, high-flying, came-from-nothing-turned-into-something students,” Smith said.
“That dream you see on television, all those videos…it’s really a nightmare.” Alison St. Julien, the mother of former student Bryson Sassau, who was accepted into St. John’s University in New York on one of those doctored applications noted.The Landrys denied manipulating transcripts and applications, although Michael Landry acknowledged that he was a “drill sergeant” who has asked students to kneel before him to learn humility. “Oh, I yell a lot,” he acknowledged, admitting that he has hit students in the past. However, Michael Landry insists that he has dialed down on physical punishments, noting “I don’t do that anymore.” Students who graduated from the college reported mixed results. Some, particularly those who were only at the school for a short time, have reported success. Others have not fared as well. Families that had children or grandchildren attending the school determined that they were not getting the education they needed. One grandmother noted that her 6-year-old granddaughter could not read and spent most of the day playing with Legos. Another family found out through an independent assessment that their 8-year-old, who had been going to the school since he was 3, was writing “chicken scratch” and was two grade levels behind.
“I gave him my son for six years, almost every day, 12 months of the year,” Adam Broussard, the boy’s father, told the Times. “The longer these kids stayed there, the further behind they were.”Despite the issues plaguing the school, the Landrys have announced that they plan to open another school 45 minutes from the old one, unnerving families. In the meantime, the school, which had a total of 180 students last year at its high, has seen enrollment drop after a July meeting during which parents said Michael Landry called them a racial slur. Many of the parents are now shelling out more money for tutoring, or have enrolled their children into home-schools to mitigate the damage done.