This testimony was found on Reddit. All rights goes to the unknown author only known as "Survivor". Located in Idaho the school seemed to use methods as they were used by the now defunct CEDU-chain which closed after some lawsuits.
Using a throwaway here, since my other account links to my real identity. I went to one of these schools back in the 90's. I was one of a handful of kids that survived one of these "schools".
At the time, I was 16 years old, and had never done drugs or drank alcohol. I was one of the only Jewish kids that went to an Episcopal school in South and was kind of a late bloomer. At 16, I looked more like I was 14 and was about 5'6 120lbs. I spent a lot of time playing video games. Specifically, Gemstone and Ultimate Online. After my parents divorced I skipped a week of school.
Around 5:00am, I woke up to see to shadowy figures on either side of my bed. Without my contacts, I couldn't see very well. One of the guys said "Your coming with us". I was so panicked that I didn't even reach for my camping knife which was in one of the drawers, adjacent to my bed. The two men grabbed me when I was wearing nothing but my boxers and I hit one of them in the nose.
I was fighting for my life and it took both of them about 20 minutes to get me upstairs which was about 30 feet away. At that point, I saw my mom and my dad and they said these guys were taking me to a new school. The "escorts" as they were called threw me into their rented car and I quickly locked all the doors before they could get in. Much to my surprise, these guys had left the keys in the car. I turned the keys and the car started. Although I couldn't see anything, I started to back the car up and turn it around.
Moments later, glass shattered all around me. One of the guys pulled me out of the car and I landed in the broken glass, cutting my legs, arms, and feet. The escorts returned with some of my clothes and dressed me. Little did I know, the nightmare had only begun. After I was handcuffed and taken to the airport, these guys returned their damaged car which someone had "broken in". I yelled for help at the airport, but my cries were ignored.
Physically and emotionally exhausted, I passed out on the airplane and woke up in Idaho of all places. I was driven to the northern part of the panhandle where I arrived at my new "school". Upon arrival, I was ordered to strip down to my boxers which I initially refused. After my clothes were removed, the staff member saw the cuts all over my body. He asked if I cut myself. At that point, I told him that the escorts had pulled me out of a window.
I refused to go with him to the dorm and asked to call my parents. He refused my request and about 4 hours later I was taken to a mental hospital where I stayed for 3 weeks under the "care" of a psychiatrist who oversaw all the "patients" at the "school" I was it. Rumor has it that this guy saw over 400 patients at a time. Some of the people at the hospital were bipolar or had other mental illlnesses. Others, like myself, had merely been uncooperative with the program.
In reality, I got the better of it. The other alternative was a 6 - 8 week bootcamp called Ascent, where students were forced to march through the wilderness, dig holes, and move heavy rocks from place to place all the while staff screamed at them and told them they were worthless. One person at a similar wilderness program was attacked by a bear.
When I finally arrived at the school, my clothes were taken away and as part of the program, I had to purchase wrangler jeans, and plane t-shirts. I had a patagonia fleece and they cut off the logo. I was put into a "peer group" and a "team". I would go through "prophets" with the peer group, one every couple of months. These basically involved telling a bunch of people who were either ex drug addicts, admitted child molesters, or mormons who thought they were doing you a favor all the stuff that was messed up about your life. There were weekly or biweekly "rap" sessions where these students and staff would scream at each other at the top of their lungs.
Most students went along with the program, but I refused to yell as the entire thing seemed insane to me. My privilege of clothes were taken away and I was forced to wear a jumpsuit, similar to what an auto mechanic wears. Kids who lost their clothing privilege were required to wear a jumpsuit even if it was sweltering outside.
The staff at this place was a medley of misfits although there were one or two normal folks who were just kind of out of place. Many of the staff were in their early 20's and were Mormons. One guy had tried to kill himself with a shotgun and had actually confessed to molesting children in the past. Other people were ex drug addicts or dealers. About 50% of the staff there didn't even have a college education and nearly everyone was unqualified to deal with kids, many of whom had serious problems.
Why were my parents cool with this? They didn't have a fucking clue. The staff would read all the mail that I sent out and if they didn't like what I wrote, they wouldn't send the mail. Also, I had no contact with my closest friends from back home. The staff withheld all letters from them. What about talking on the phone? My parents spoke with a "counselor" from the school once a week and spoke with me once every 2 weeks for 10-15 minutes. If I said anything that the staff didn't like, they would hang up the phone and simply tell my parents that I was trying to manipulate them.
I didn't leave the campus for a over a year. It was 7 miles to the nearest town and residents were finanically rewarded if they caught students. As a student, you weren't allowed to have any cash on you, which made it more difficult to escape. I started hiding small change and training in cross country. I read Tom Brown books in case, so I would have some survival skills in case I bailed.
The food we were fed was absolute shit. I have a very distinct memory about eating macaroni and cheese that was covered in flies. In fact, it was so bad that I started my own sustenance garden.
I could probably write a book about how fucked up that school was and it's sad that these places still exist. I left the place when I turned 18 and went to another boarding school for 6 months. Even though that put me a 6 months behind everyone else in my grade, it was worth it since it actually helped prepare me for college and I went to a top 30 school. I rarely talk about the past and few people know the full story
The original testimony on Reddit