I was close to finishing the freshman year of highschool when my aunt and uncle sent me to Discovery Academy. I can understand some of the reasons they had. I was experimenting with marijuana and had tried LSD. I was starting to act out. I was into grunge and punk and rock, ( I had long dyed hair, dressed like a freak - way cooler than I dress now) Typical adolecent behavior. I figured that I was doing pretty good for a kid that had spent his first 12 years of life living in the fostercare system. I was on the varcity soccer and baseball team. I had reasonable good grades. I know that I was starting to withdraw from my peers.
Well, I can understand that my parents overreaction to my normal behavior is a typical one. My folks had hired an educational consultant , Miriam Boudean ( bay area , california ) and she had referred me to the private highschool I was attending and she definalty referred me to Discovery Academy when my folks were "trying to save my life". I was fortunate that I wasnt kidnapped and taken to discovery that way. I have heard the stories. I am fortunate that I didnt have to goto any of the wilderness hiking hippy bullshit programs. I flew there on my own accord thinking that this was a boarding school. I thought that I would be gone 3-4 months. Little did I know that there is a year minimum of enrollment. I was there for 2 1/2.
Immediatly on reaching the place I remember being in the parking lot and all of a sudden a huge mutha sucka comes running up and acting very aggressive with a serious hyped up look in his eyes. He wouldnt stay more that 2 feet from me. Well we went in the place and Terry started shmoozin the folks and crap and they took all my stuff to be "approved". Half my friggin clothes and almost all my music, books were NOT approved. When I went to discovery they hadnt switched to uniforms yet. I was still there when they were in the early stages of picking the uniforms. I swear to god that Carol Thorne was like a crazed old child playing with her dolls in her big dollhouse. Often times the new students are put into Unit 1 ( solitary supervised confinement ) Parents are billed ridiculous amounts for this "service". I guess since I thought I was actually in a boarding school they decided to let me into the general population. My second day there they told me that I could go get my hair cut off or they could hold me down and shave my head. Having already spoken to some of the other students I realized that I was )#(%&ed and went the route of the hair cut. Discovery has a punishment system called demerits. One demerit is 25 minutes of standing inches away from a wall, hands at your sides, no talking - deviate from those rules and you will be restarted. I have stood thousands. I have stood till my ankles and knees were ridiculously swollen. I have been restrained, i have been shot up with thorazine. I have been incorrectly diagnosed. My therapist was Alan Thorne. This worm of a man was the owners son. Dr Gene Thorne started this school. He is a evil, self important, pug of a man. And very, very rich.
I have taken the time to read everyones profiles and I empathise with the horrors that you all have had to endure. I feel especially bad for the individuals that had to deal with the jamacian school, paradise cove. I can only imagine the helplessness that you must have felt in the face of not only being trapped out of the country, but also being abused so severly and being coerced to commits acts of abuse.
I might go into detail at a later point some of my experiences that I have gone through while attending Discovery Academy. I cant beleive that the Discovery Academy Forum is down. What a croc. I think I finnaly convinced my aunt and uncle that Discovery was doing more harm than good, and for my senior year of high school I was sent to John Tylers boys ranch. This was a group home facility set in the suburbs of spokane, washinton.
I can say that this place was a huge improvement. John has a true heart and really cares about youth and young adults. There were a few times that I was ready to kill one of the staff there in particular, but for the most part I endured my increase in freedom. One of the things that really messed with me was that I was back in public school. After the pisspoor education system of Discovery I was hard pressed to catch up the first few months. Discovery takes dated text books and chops them up by chapter. They call these "Concepts". You then take a test on the chapter. You are not allowed to test below a B. This is how they maintain thier bullshit excellent GPA of the school. Not only was there a weirdness of being able to react to kids living so called normal lives and not knowing what you are going through but I felt a little socially retarded. My previous contact with girls for the last 2.5 years had been a little supervised coed. Well... there was that one time that involved some serious mission impossible stuff but thats another story. Now Im a senior in high school that cant see anyone outside of school. LAME I had girls wanting to go to the prom with me. Cant do that now. I wanted to get a job so I could have some experience before I moved "home", knowing I was going to be on my own. no go. I know that someone else had mentioned that they felt like they had been robbed of thier adolescence. I feel like I never was a kid.
I have been independant with almost no help from my aunt and uncle. They did help me when they wanted me to goto school. I didnt think I was ready yet. I dropped out after 2.5 years. I have been through substance abuse issues and severe depression since I have been 18 now and have not sought any sort of professional help because of my negative experiences. I was able to kick my meth habit on my own.
At this point of the game I am a 26 year old young adult professional with a great job and a wonderful group of friends. I work as a Youth Support Coordinator for the System of Care initiatives. I now get to tap on to that life experience and hopefully make a difference in someones life. I work as a advocate for youth and Young Adults that have SED or Mental Health diagnose(s). I ran across this site not long ago and was very encouraged to see that there are being steps taken to regulate these child prisons.
I will try to add more to this site in time. Sources:
- Discovery Ranch (The original testimony on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora)
- Factsheet about the facility (Fornits Wiki)
- The new website for the Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth (CAFETY)