Reality TV Star Charged With Child Abuse At School

A former Survivor contestant and member of the Republican party board has been arrested for child abuse claims at a private school he heads.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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It’s not every day you hear breaking news about a former reality tv star, but when you do, it’s usually not good news. This was the point in case for John Raymond. Raymond appeared on the hit reality TV show Survivor during the series fifth season filmed in Thailand in 2002. He is also a member of Lousiana’s Republican party governing board. But most importantly, the Survivor contestant is a pastor and headmaster of a religious private school in the state where he is alleged to have carried out child abuse.

According to a local news outlet, The Daily Advertiser, the former Survivor contestant was booked into the Slidell City Jail on April 7th after turning himself over to authorities. He is being charged with three counts of child cruelty for allegedly taping students’ mouths shut for talking too much. John Raymond served as the headmaster at the private school, the Lakeside Christian Academy, in Slidell, Lousiana. 

According to the reports of abuse, three separate students and their parents have all come forward claiming Raymond delivered punishment to students accused of “talking too much” in a horrific manner. Students were brought to the former Survivor contestant’s office, where the children’s mouths were closed shut with packing tape wrapped around their heads. Sent back to classes that way, it is reported that the students were forced to remain in that state for nearly an hour, only being freed from the punishment after another school administrator removed the tape, saying that they felt “uncomfortable” about the choice of discipline enacted by the headmaster. 

Survivor contestant

To make the situation worse, children complained about difficulty breathing under the mouth constraint. Similarly, they described the pain felt when the school staff had to yank the strong tape off of their faces. The story has drawn nationwide attention because of Raymond’s status as a former Survivor contestant, but also due to his status as a Republican party leader in Louisiana. 

USA Today reached out for comment from constituents of Raymonds from Lousiana’s GOP leadership. Louis Gurvich, the Lousiana Republican party’s chairman responded after the Survivor contestant’s arrest, saying he had no comment because he didn’t know enough about the situation. Before his current political role, Raymond served leadership roles in a plethora of Republican-led parties within The Bayou state. He even ran for the Lousiana House of Republicans in 2018. 

While Raymond did appear as a Survivor contestant on the hit reality show in 2002, his time on the island was short-lived. Raymond was the first cast member voted out of his tribe. According to reports, his exit from the show left his fellow contestants calling him “bossy, dominating and (who) irritated his tribemates.”

Survivor contestant

Raymond did speak out against his allegations condoning his choice. Within his reports, he said the student’s disruptive behavior was a form of bullying to teachers. The former Survivor contestant also backed up his choice of punishment saying that he gave the students the option of either being brandished with tape, or suspension, to which he claims the students chose the tape. 

The issue is just one of many recent reports of child abuse happening inside private schools. For this reason, many leaders have been wary to pass school choice laws looking to allocate more state funds to non-public schools. Many believe the reason so many stories break about atrocities happening inside the private school is because of the lack of regulation mandated by states.