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School behind viral college acceptance videos reportedly faked applications

School accused of abusive culture
School behind viral college acceptance videos accused of creating culture of abuse 02:15

A Louisiana school that made headlines for sending working-class black kids to elite colleges is accused of cutting corners and doctoring college applications, the New York Times reports.

Videos of students from T.M. Landry College Prep opening acceptance letters from top universities, have become an internet sensation. "CBS This Morning" is one of many news sources to report on this.

The New York Times investigation found the school located in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana allegedly falsified transcripts and made up student accomplishments.

Michael and Tracey Landry, who run the school, are accused of fostering a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse. The Landrys denied falsifying transcripts and college applications, but Michael Landry admitted that he hit students.

Ana Lewis was a student there. She told CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez that she "got this education that meant nothing." 

Her mother, Latasha Lewis, pulled her and two other children out of the school. "We feel betrayed -- I saw the videos and I wanted exactly what I saw in the videos for my children," Lewis said. 

Ashlee McFarlane represents them and several others.

"These kids were mentally, emotionally, severely affected by their experience at TM Landry and continue to be so," MacFarlane said.

Louisiana high school accused of doctoring college applications 01:00

T.M. Landry is now an unaccredited private school that the state does not regulate or approve. CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca reported last year that Landry is a no-frills school located in an old fabrication shop in a low-income area near Lafayette. Though it's a college prep school, it's not the kind that's filled with rich kids. 

"Their parents have made sacrifices to send them here. We make sacrifices to make sure that they can stay," Tracey said. "The average income is $32,000."

Tuition costs up to $675 a month. There are teachers, but no textbooks, no homework and no specific class schedule.

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