Sunday, December 25, 2016

Parent feedback of Ashcreek Ranch Academy

DO NOT SEND YOUR SON TO ASHCREEK RANCH ACADEMY!!!!

Their program is absolutely nothing what their website claims to be. I recently had to remove my son from there after discovering that virtually everything they claim to be from their "accredited" school and teachers, equine therapy, drug therapy, etc, etc was a complete farce! The admissions director is a fantastic salesman and he will have you believing that this place is the answer to your prayers, but do not be sucked in!

We wasted $20,000 for literally nothing except for very expensive babysitting. It would have been $40,000 had I not responded to all the "red flags" and removed our son 4 months early. Save your family the time, trouble, and money and find another program. There are many other legitimate programs out there. This place is NOT one of them!!!

If you would like more detailed info on this program don't hesitate to send me a message and I will respond promptly.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

dbs at Sorenson's Ranch School

This testimony was found on Topix. All rights goes to the original author known as dbs

I am a former student of Sorenson's Ranch School and current teacher. As a human and a teacher, I would urge parents to seek other options for your child.

In full disclosure I will specify that I attended this school in the early 90's. In most cases, I would be inclined to believe that a bad situation could be corrected in 20 years. However, in the case of this school, I am reluctant to imagine much change for two reasons.
  1. The culture of wrongdoing by staff was so pervasive, and
  2. The school exists in a town where everyone is blood relation and they all work at the school.

The fact that their Facebook page seems to be a place for happy feedback of students does not convince me either. The omissions and whitewashing of information to parents was honed to an art form even at the time that I attended. I can only imagine that their skills at hiding any negative feedback about the program have only increased over the years. Bottom line - if you just want to treat your child like a problem and pay someone else to deal with it, send them to Sorenson's today.

If you care about your child's future, look into other options. PLEASE.

The facility started as a summer camp called Koos Kamp back in 1959. It moved into the Troubled Teen Industry due to the money in the early 1980's.


Sources:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Student feedback on Ashcreek Ranch Academy

My name is XXXX.

I am on my step brothers account. I just recently came home from a ten month stay at Ash creek.

I have a lot to say about this place and the people who run it. First of all, I personally think Tammy Prince (aka Tammy Berhmann) and Darren Prince, the owners of the program, are manipulative, consumed in their own wealth, and deceitful to parents looking to send their kid to Ashcreek. I saw Darren come in and give tours all the time, making sure to choose the most well behaved students to come and glorify the program. The teachers every time would come and play like puppets when darren was giving tours. The only relationship I have seen Darren build with a student is one where he was taking him to LDS church services every sunday.

I witnessed numerous accounts of misconduct during my time at Ash creek. A restraint that resulted in some sort of wrist injury ( the student had a cast for a few weeks), insensitive and religiously biased comments in group therapy about a homosexual student. There was nothing derogatory said, however the program director at the time said that he " didnt agree with the choice to be gay" . He emphasized several times that he believed it was a choice. I personally was shoved into a window by an employee at the ranch, and the glass broke. He did this in reaction to me shoving him in the shoulder ( i meant it playfully, however it was not appropriate on my end) . The staff was put on suspension, came back two weeks later and then left a few months after that and no longer works there. One of Ashcreeks policy is that if a student is refusing to do something they are to be restrained physically by bending the wrist, even if that student was not in physical danger to himself or others.

Garth Lasater, the clinical director, is a great man who invests personally in each student. He was always kind, proffesional, and respectful. Dave Saldana, the residential director, is also a very open minded man who supports and cares for every kid. Garth actually bought me a pair of sneakers because mine were in poor condition. Another thing is that the food is mostly frozen stuff warmed in an oven by our cook. At one time we were having frozen corn dogs once a week, we still have frozen orange chicken and rice every thursday (as of one week ago when I was there), and little ceasars pizza every friday. The lunch is usually cooked and of higher quality, except for fridays when we ate leftovers in the fridge for lunch.

If you are considering sending your kid to ash creek, please be mindful of Darrens intentions, him being the owner of the program. Really investigate if this is the right place for your son. Ive seen this program send many kids home that seem improved, however they boast about their "success rate", which is based off of how many kids graduate the program, not off of their home behavior. I personally know many kids who are home from ash creek who still display similar behaviors, but that being said i think Ashcreek does teach a lot of good lessons about becoming a man, being less entitled, self sufficient, respectful, and taking accountability for their actions. Unfortunately, i cant say the program itself takes accountability for THEIR actions. I had a lot of struggles at ash creek and that was not the fault at ash creek at all. I relapsed several times and only made it to level 2 in their program. I have been home over a week, i have applied for 3 jobs, i have been attending school every day, communicating well with my family, and I havent touched drugs or cigarettes. Please listen to your kid about what is going on if they are at Ashcreek, or any other treatment center, and do them the favor of really looking into the place before you send them there. I will say that I have seen Ashcreek Academy attempt to improve as a program.

PS: i forgot to mention the academic portion of the program. I passed 9th grade with As and Bs there on time for when I was leaving. How far you progress iin your credits depends on how hard you work. I liked the way the school was run

Sources:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

isabellabee at Diamond Ranch Academy

This testimony was found on the reddit message board. All rights goes to the original author. The author is asked some questions about the stay. Here are the answers

Of course. I was sent there for disobedience in regards to my parents. Along with minor drug use, very bad grades, and i just had a lot of party habits. I arrived the day before the boy committed suicide. Yes, one large scary man and one woman came into my house at 3 in the morning and dragged me by the arms into their car. I lived in Arizona at the time so the drive was ten hours. They refused to stop for me to use the bathroom and also refused me any kind of food. They also wouldn't tell me where we were going and made me shut up the entire way there. The experience was traumatizing and still haunts me. At the time i thought me and my mom were getting robbed and i was getting kidnapped. Upon entering they stripped searched me, made me take off my makeup, and take out my few piercings. They put two needles in my arm, i can't remember if it was to test me for something or put something in me. They gave me no choice. Then I was put in O&A (observation and assessment) which is now called Orientation. In there i had to ask permission to sit, stand, speak, put chapstick on, ect. We were monitored 24/7 even while sleeping. They put me on "run watch" as they do for most when they first enter. They didn't let me outside for 42 days. All I saw was white walls. They made us clean everything, over and over for absolutely no purpose. We basically had no rights at all and I felt like i was five years old. If you didn't comply with the staffs directives they would restrain you. I didn't wanna cooperate with sweeping the boys weight room on Christmas of 2013 because I had been cleaning the entire day. Because i wouldn't continue sweeping, two large men came over to me and applied a large amount of force on my wrists for about five minutes until I was in hysterics begging them to stop. My right wrist hurt for months.

I was half way through my freshman year of high school when i entered. Since my grades weren't 80 percent or above they made me restart the entire year over. They gave us fake citations for every possible thing we could do wrong. such as talking without permission, cursing, glorifying, inappropriate behavior, wasting food (not eating all your food), and there were probably 60 more. If you got a certain amount you failed your day which just means another day on your program. The systems they had in place were insanely degrading. If you failed a day or your hole week you felt like that was a week wasted of your life. One girl, Pamela, has been in DRA for over three years because of failed weeks. She has several mental problems and DRA has done absolutely nothing to help her. She's sitting in there rotting and her parents are brainwashed thinking she's getting the help she needs. We were forced to eat the disgusting food they served us every day regardless if we wanted it or not. We got three minutes in the shower which eventually progressed to five minutes. If they felt you were suicidal you were put on suicide watch and were forced to sleep in the hallway on the floor under lights with staff hovering over you making sure you didn't move incorrectly. I got strip searched three times a day every day for 42 days. All the doors were locked and the staff were the only ones with access to the keys. If you tried to escape the program staff would chase after you until they tackled you down and you would have to restart the entire program.

Programs generally lasted 10 months, but you had the opportunity to be out in seven and a half which was nearly impossible. Most kids just can't follow the rules because the rules are simply ridiculous and unorthodox. So some are stuck there until they're eighteen and can sign themselves out. I didn't speak to my parents until i was out of O&A which was 42 days after i arrived. My first phone call was monitored by my therapist. I tried to explain to my parents what was going on and as soon as I started crying she hung up the phone. I didn't get another phone call until my therapist thought i was "ready" which really just meant until she thought I wouldn't try and voice the truth to my parents. We were allowed to write letters but any negativity or manipulation sensed in the letters would cause the staff reading it to flag it. Which means it goes through a youth detection counselor, your therapist, the front desk, and the (in my case) girl's campus leader. Half my letters never got to my parents.

This is only what i have heard. I don't know it to be absolute facts, but I've heard it from several people and knowing their manipulative tactics it's most likely true. FACTS: The boy who committed suicide hung himself with his belt during a football game DRA was having. In the commotion of getting everyone outside they left him behind upstairs in his bathroom. They have never made that mistake before because they know the first chance they get to commit suicide they will. (I have never had any sort of suicidal thoughts or feelings in my entire life until I went there. The second I left they all went away and I know for a fact unless I went back there they'll never return. I truly would have rather been dead then spent another day in that concentration camp) This is what i've heard in regards to how he hung himself: They claim he did it on the shower rod and DRA supposedly replaced every shower rod in the facility so that any type of pressure put on it would cause it to collapse. Also after this incident we were no longer allowed to have belts. I've heard many times the truth is that he hung himself in the vent in his bathroom. I don't really know why they would lie about the exact spot he was hanging from but thats just what i've heard. The boy purposely tried to get left behind that day just so he could do this... He was in the program for depression and my biggest problem is he was sixteen years old. He had sixteen other years of his life to commit suicide and he chose to do it at DRA.... Clearly it was because that was the saddest and most depressing point in his life. Yet DRA is said to be uplifting and positive throughout the entire journey.


Source:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A comment about Camp Tracey

This short testimony was given as a comment on another blog. All rights goes to the author.

It wasn’t a summer camp we lived there 365 days out of the year, no phones no way to call 911 letters, checked both incoming and outgoing.

We had no safety net. No one cared about a small town, and the huge farm 10 miles from the nearest anything. Imprisioned us as teens, for the first year and then every 3 months we could go off of property for one day if our parents came. I have a lot to share because I too need to heal from the five years of abuse. I would like to go into details and yes I know most of the staff members on this list. I realize now that the only way for any of us to heal is that we do need to have our story heard to make sure that this does not happen to another child ever again.

Although ct is closed there are many other secret prisons out there for teens and the word needs to get out so we can work to change legislation.

An investigation was started by DCF. They didn't investigate for too long but they managed to close the camp in the process.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

evenlesssleep at Ironwood in Maine

This testimony was found on Reddit. All rights goes to the original author known as evenlesssleep.

Here is a quick summary off the top of my head, of what I believe are the worst things I experienced at Ironwood RTC (also affectionately known as "Ironhood" by a select few residents). I have tried posting something like this to the subreddit before, however I wasn't happy with the way I formatted the information. This post is now here to stay. I can guarantee that any information I have regarding Ironwood is more transparent than the information Ironwood's secretaries are willing to release, or even speak on. So please, feel free to ask if you have any questions.

If you are reading this because you are considering placing your child at Ironwood due to concerns about your child's mental well-being, please be aware that Ironwood is not licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2006, Ironwood (IW) was founded with help by former employees from Turn-about Ranch (Wayne Stinson and Teresa Shinedling). I was a relatively new resident there, arriving in Winter of 2007 and "graduating" from the highest level of the program in 2008. I was escorted to this program from my home in FL, three weeks after I turned sixteen years old for the reason being that I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I spent eight months in this program.

CONCERNING PRIVACY

I was required to write in a journal, which was explained to me as "a private resource that nobody will read" --Bonnie Rector. We were expected to write in these journals every night. Not writing your journal page for the night would result in a punishment. As a collective, our journals were systematically read by staff, who then used the contents of our journals against us during one of what we referred to as "intimidation sessions".

CONCERNING FREE SPEECH

My rights to communication were revoked for days at a time, under their rules of the "Code of Silence" (COS). I was not allowed to talk, acknowledge, laugh, make eye contact, write notes, or use sign language to communicate with other residents of the program, for things as simple as asking what their favorite musical group was. I simply cannot begin to count the amount of times I was put on COS. I recall one time I was put on COS for a day or two by Brian York, because I dared to utter the words "Jesus Christ" in a conversation that was within earshot of him. There was also another time where I asked a new resident what kind of music he had liked, while we did dishes, and Lisa Wing gave me a COS for the rest of the day.

CONCERNING MAIL CENSORSHIP

My outgoing mail was censored. We were forced to write "e-letters" home every Wednesday. These were written on A4 printing paper, which were never placed in envelopes, but instead handed straight to a designated staff member, who then scanned these documents using a computer and sent the resulting electronic file to my parents' e-mail. We were instructed that the e-letters had to be of a positive nature, regardless of you were actually feeling that day, otherwise we were to be punished. I recall a point in which I was sitting in a corner, with tears of sadness falling from my eyes, re-writing my e-letter home because the one I had originally written to my parents wasn't "satisfactory enough" per Erin Wilbur and Gordon Thayer's expectations.

I had a peer of mine confide in me that they were told by staff members they were "writing too many letters home".

Another peer of mine actually had one of his sealed envelope letters opened by a staff member named D'arcy, who read it over and told him that he didn't write enough in the letter to his parents, despite the fact that he was going on his "home visit" to see his parents the very next day. He was at the highest level in the program when this happened. Despicable.

My very first day at IW, I was forced to write a letter home to my parents while on "Impact". Impact was where you went if you didn't subscribe to the program in full. It was a 4x4 foot circle of rocks in the woods, that you were not allowed to leave. You are given a fire to keep warm. You are not allowed to let the fire go out, even if the wood is burning wet, and the wind is blowing smoke in your face for hours. If you left the circle, your time in the circle started over. You were not allowed to communicate with other residents (COS) while on Impact. You were not allowed to sleep or lay down while on Impact. Its purpose was to allow a person reflect on why they were in that situation, in addition to detoxifying new residents. Anyway, I must have written a four page letter while in that circle. When I was finished, a staff member named Greg Cooley read my letter and gave me an extra day in isolation because the contents of my letter were negative. My first four days at this program were spent in isolation.

CONCERNING TRANSGRESSIONS

I was unreasonably punished for my actions.

I was sent to "Impact" again for 3 days, after asking Aimee LeClerc if I could go outside to watch the rest of the boy's group play basketball. This was a day or two prior to Thanksgiving, marking my second week at Ironwood. This means I had literally spent 50% of my first two weeks in this program in their freeze your ass version of solitary.

A couple of months later, I had belched a single time during lunch, and was given twelve demerits for doing so (they were trying to also make laughing at farts a punishable offense, I kid you not.). This translated to me being expected to perform twelve additional hours of labor, in addition to a demerit I had already "earned". I was forced to work a total of thirteen hours on our "free" day, Sunday.
At one point, I had attempted to file a complaint to staff that certain residents were physically assaulting me when staff was not on the floor. I was punished to "Work Impact", along with the entire boy's group, to fix ruts in the road at the main entrance in order to "protect my identity". I was forced to work with the perpetrators, and they were able to easily deduce that I was the reason why they were being punished.

CONCERNING EMOTIONAL NEGLECT AND APPROPRIATE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

I witnessed a young man in a wheelchair harm himself by dumping his body into a fire pit. He was within 30 yards of me, as we were both on "Impact", otherwise known as isolation. I can still feel the cold and sharp sting of adrenaline I felt at that moment. I can still hear the thumping of his body after he fell. I still hear the crackling of his orange jumpsuit as he writhed in the fire. I was unable to go anywhere while this happened. I was forced to stay in that stone circle, to watch and to listen. I asked to speak to a licensed therapist within the hour after I had witnessed that, and I was denied. It wasn't because these events unfolded at an unreasonable hour either--it was broad daylight.
That was not an isolated incident either. There were plenty of other times where I had asked for access to a licensed therapist while in isolation while under incredible emotional distress, I had been refused services.

Why was I refused adequate access to mental health services? This event haunts me to this day.

CONCERNING PROPER CARE OF FOOD PREPARATION AND CONSUMPTION

Food was used as a punishment. We were forced to consume bulgur wheat in it's raw and uncut form, which made the entire boy's lodge ill. I was forced to eat avocado slices that had been left to ferment on a table for three hours while we were in school session, which led to my becoming painfully ill as my insides rejected it. We were forced to consume highly unpalatable food that staff were unwilling to even taste. I wonder if there are any of my peers out there that still remember "Ashtray Chili", and "Formaldehyde Noodles".

CONCERNING MEDICAL NECESSITIES

My mother and father made clear to me that they paid money for IW to have my teeth examined. At not one point during my stay there, was I brought to a dental clinic to see this procedure through.
What happened? Where is that money now?

CONCERNING SLEEP

In the lower levels of this program, only an army blanket and sleeping bag were all we were given to sleep with (we slept on particle board with no pillows or mattresses). We were told that if we were caught using the army blanket given to us as a pillow, we would be punished. I slept in this fashion for over three months before I "earned" the right to use a pillow.

CONCERNING VERBAL ABUSE

I was verbally abused by staff members. I quote,
"You look like the type of person that abuses animals." --Aimee Leclerc "You're an asshole." --Erin Wilbur

CONCERNING PROPAGANDA

We were expected to be columnists for "The Treatment Times", a summary of our activities at IW. I was under the impression that this information we had authored was sent to our parents back at home through the same means as our "e-letters". I was shocked to find out that they were using my writings, including images of me, without permission-- as a propaganda tool for themselves on the IW website. It took over a month, and multiple phone calls in order for them to comply with my demand that they were not allowed to use my image, nor my written works without my exclusive permissions.

CONCERNING CODE VIOLATIONS

There was a ladder inside of the main lodge of the level 1's and 2's, that was built out of scrapped tree trunks the level 1's and 2's had found in the woods surrounding Ironwood. This ladder was used for access to a loft which held supplies. When code inspection day came, I was instructed along with another resident to carry that very ladder out of the lodge, and to bury it under foliage behind the level 1's and 2's facility. This same ladder was shortly brought back into use inside the lodge after the inspection officials had left.
Why couldn't IW afford to buy/install a ladder that was up to code? Shameful.

I wish I was making this up, however everything that I have written here is true, and is just the tip of the iceberg. I will try to update this as much as I humanly can, as my memories are innumerable. Anyone with a logical explanation for how any of this is an effective treatment for major depressive disorder, I urge you to please leave an answer, as I have not found one yet. I, like many of you out there, fear that I now suffer from post-traumatic stress as a result of being sent to this type of facility. I fear that I will never be granted closure regarding this experience, due to the moral apathy and inaction of Marion and Rod Rodrigue, the original founders. Cheers.


Sources:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Emily at Hidden Lake Academy

This testimony was found on a website where former students interview each other. This part is about Emily arriving at Hidden Lake Academy

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Question:
Let's start with HLA and we'll get to Ridge Creek later.

So you arrive at HLA. Are there staff members who are there to absorb you into the program and how do they make sure you're not smuggling anything in? Also, how do they decide the length of your program? Is it decided on merit? You mentioned the "forming" of a "peer group." What is this "peer group" and how does it form?

Answer:
Upon arrival, you were received by several staff members who took you to intake. Intake consisted of going through all of your belongings and removing contraband: drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, paraphernalia, sharps, and explicit materials. At Hidden Lake you also weren't allowed to bring in food, money, identification, cellphones, cosmetics and toiletries or clothing that was revealing or suggestive, or had a brand name written on it, as well as most personal belongings. Basically, you were stripped of everything except for a limited amount of clothing, pair of sneakers, and non-chemical personal care items like a toothbrush.

Some contraband was banned for obvious reasons like drugs and razors. Everything else was an attempt to strip us of items we used to communicate our physical identities, and items that contained information and ideas. Staff members who were not teachers were very strange about reading materials, even academic reading. About a year into our stay, they made a rule that allowed us to only have one book in our possession. I only had one book, so it didn't much effect me, but maybe you could say something about the book rule. There seemed to be a lot of anxiety around our access to information. Most of the teachers didn't use textbooks, and I didn't have access to the internet even once during my time there. I did no research, and read and wrote very, very little. Thankfully there were a few teachers who kept a small personal library in their classroom.

After they removed our belongs, we were strip searched. This happened every time we left campus and came back, for example, if we were allowed to go home for the holidays. We could also be randomly strip searched. Searches consisted of any same sex staff member watching us remove our clothing, and checking over our entire bodies. They would thoroughly check our clothing and shoes, paw through our hair, and check the bottoms of our feet. I found the whole routine to be thoroughly demeaning and humiliating. Girls had to lift up their breasts and stand with legs apart. Then they made us squat and cough while turning 360 degrees. If that wasn't bad enough, it was usually the therapeutic staff doing the searches. It wasn't uncommon to be strip searched by your own therapist. And, even if you didn't get searched by your primary therapist, it didn't matter because inevitably you would end up in a therapy session with almost everyone.

"Peer groups" were a group of around a dozen kids who you would move through the program with for the next two years. All therapy was conducted within these groups. There was no one on one time with a therapist. It didn't matter whether or not you trusted your other peer group members. There was no such thing as privacy or confidentiality. Students were made to air the most personal details of their lives before a group of teenagers they barely knew. Peer groups were formed randomly, when enough students had finally arrived to make up one group, usually around a dozen. Since everything was group based, this meant that many students waited months for their programs to even begin. I got lucky, because I was one of the last in my group to arrive.

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Hidden Lake Academy closed some years ago. The management tried to reopen under several new names but they were unsuccesful

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

MM at New Leaf Academy

This testimony was found on LD resources. All rights go to the original author.

I went to New Leaf sometime in early 2000, with emotional problems and ADHD. I believe I was at the Rock Mesa location, I never did get used to the different location names. I remember they were planning to build a soccer field. I am commenting here because I want parents to know that NLA is NOT right for every child. I will NEVER forget the way I was treated there. I was not a girl with a violent history, drug use or stealing. I was emotional, moody and prone to verbal outbursts and antagonistic, but never violent. I was treated as if I had been. I was accused of stealing, no matter how many times I tried to insist that the baskets were next to each other. I was called a terrorist during an activity that asked for a sad picture, I drew Columbine as it was something that effected me personally. At this point I was not allowed to read anything that they didn’t pick out for me, I was not allowed to write stories. At all. I was isolated from the girls and they became distrusting of me, with no attempts by counselors to clear my name of what had been said or ease the tension. I was pulled out of the program, but the absolute isolation I had gone through severely effected the way I interacted with people. Even now, at 23 I struggle with self worth and trust of authority.

The GOOD aspects of NLA
There were positives. We had to do kickboxing and plenty of physical activity, and while it wasn’t strict at NLA I did learn to structure my day better. Making my bed, cooking my own meals and keeping fit were important.

Friendship: I was not allowed to talk to the girls once I left, I understand that. But I won’t forget the friends I made either. Annie, Ashley Class and Chloe.

Creative: I don’t know if this has changed but one counselor would have art time, teaching us how to draw simple but fun animals. The schooling was a little wobbly because of the grade mix but they did made it fun.

Reward System: Necklace with charms. It really did make me proud to earn a new charm. I felt I was growing, it was simple but cute. When I attended they also gave you a rabbit at a certain level, I don’t know if they do that anymore but it was a great empathy builder. You learned to care and be responsible for another living thing, an excellent way to form bonds.

I’ll end it with this. NLA has been purchased, and may not be the same as when I attended but if you are a parent with an emotional child or in need a place, think CAREFULLY before you place them here.

New Leaf Academy was purchased by Aspen Education Group but later sold back to the founders when they could not make a business for profit out of it.


Sources:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Nick at the Family Foundation School (From: school-survival.net)

This testmony was found on the website school-survival.net. All rights goes to the original author known as Nick

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This story began as a letter I'm writing to a lawyer in Orange County, New York who was interested in what the Family Foundation School (that's where I went) was actually like, since lots of kids from Orange County get sent there. I decided to post it on the website too. This is the story that inspired the Misled Youth Network...

I went to the Family Foundation School between March of 2002 to July 2003. I was sent there because I was cutting school, and was often depressed and antisocial. My mom had sent my sister there a year or so earlier because she was doing a lot of drugs and addicted to heroin. My sister was improving there, and the Family School advertises that it works for any "troubled teen," drug addict or not, so my mom figured it would straighten me out as well. The Family School was like a sadistic Orwellian version of Alcoholics Anonymous. The AA "big book" somewhere states that it is nearly impossible for an alcoholic to get sober without first "hitting bottom," or reaching a state of complete misery and helplessness. So the Family School had the idea that they would force kids to hit bottom, and from there be able to "treat" them. The method by which they forced kids to hit bottom was a system of humiliating punishments called "sanctions".

One of the most important elements of how the Family School functioned was they pitted the students against each other. A student couldn't just follow the rules there to stay out of trouble, he or she had to enforce them as well. Often, a student would get in more trouble for not confronting another student on breaking a rule than the one who actually broke the rule in the first place. This created three classes of students- defiant, compliant and "senior members." Defiant students weren't even allowed to talk, and if they did they would be ignored and later punished. Once they agreed to follow the rules they were labeled as "compliant," which was still bad because it meant that you didn't actually believe in the principles of the school. There were four ways of getting out of the school- running away, being transfered to a psyche-ward or a wilderness program, waiting until you turned 18, because they can't legally hold you once you're considered an "adult", or, finally, "graduating the program." Running away was difficult since students are under constant surveillance and once you were caught they would take your shoes away. Getting yourself sent someplace else was also difficult- no one was ever "kicked-out" of the Family School. The parents had to decide whether or not to keep the kid there, and the school usually manipulated the parents to keep the kid there longer. Many kids left when they turned eighteen, but that's a long wait for most of the kids there. On top of all that, about a quarter of the kids at the School were their as a court mandation, meaning that if they left before they graduated they would go to either Juvenile Detention or, if they were 18, prison. So a lot of students were forced to "graduate the program," meaning the kids would force the rules on you even more than the staff.

I tend to find it's pretty difficult to explain to people what it was like at the Family School, since it was a bit like a cult and difficult for an outsider to comprehend. The best I can do is write a day-in-the-life essay, explaining things as they happen. So here is a day out of the 492 days I spent there-

I wake up at 6:15, have twenty-five minutes to make my bed and get ready for the day, then have 15 minutes to clean the dorm. Then I walk up a hill for forty-five minutes of Catholic, Protestant or Jewish chapel service, in which participation is forced. I go down to the main house. I am on "exile," meaning I have to stand in a broom closet when I'm not working or in class. I have 20 minutes to eat a bowl of cold cream of wheat. Most of the kids are not allowed to make eye contact with me, except for my "shadow," who brings me to every class and is responsible for making sure I don't break any rules or try to run away. I am only allowed to sit ten minutes out of every hour.

After breakfast I have work-sanction, meaning I have been taken out of my classes to work all day long. This consists of washing the dishes from breakfast, folding laundry, and either lifting buckets of rocks back and forth in the summer or shoveling snow back and forth in the winter. It's a cold day in March, but luckily I spend the morning doing laundry. At noon I go back to the main house for lunch. Someone says grace, I get another bowl of cold cream of wheat in the broom closet. The alternative meal sanction is supposed to consist of cream of wheat for breakfast, and dry tuna fish for lunch and dinner. Once, when I was new, I said "that's not so bad, I like Tuna," so they made it so I only got cream of wheat.

At lunch three or four students are chosen to stands up in front of the "Family" (a group of about 30 kids and a bunch of staff members randomly put together who eat all their meals together and basically spend all their time together when they aren't in class) and are scrupulously analyzed and humiliated.

I am on a particular sanction called a "Thought Card," in which I have to write down every major thought I have during the day (particularly the bad ones) on index cards and then I have to stand up and read it in front of forty people. Needless to say, everyone has all kinds of fucked-up thoughts enter their head out of nowhere every day, and teenagers seem to have particularly bad ones (especially by the Family School's standards).

The Family School knows this and therefore expects it. I can't just make up fake thoughts, I'd be standing in front of everyone being called a liar for the next forty-five minutes and given some awful sanction. So I am forced to tell a group of about forty people my most private thoughts.

This is how the Thought Card Sanction works- So I have just finished reading all my thoughts. The students are picking apart every one of them, the staff are cursing at me, calling me some of the worst things I have ever been called. I am completely exposed. Any fear that I've ever had about what people think of me is confirmed. After a couple of weeks on this sanction I will become so worn down, so convinced that I am are a horrible human being, that I won't ever want to talk again. They give me a bible and a rosary to numb my thoughts and I gladly accept them. I am so disgusted with myself and with how judgmental everyone else is that I get tricked into seeing God as the only wholesome thing there is. I have just moved from the First Step (admitting that I am powerless over my own fucked-up thoughts) to the Second Step (I have come to believe that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity). In the process I have come to hate myself and humanity so much that I will probably spend many years suicidal and friendless. This is a mild but archetypal example of how the Family School works. It forces you through the steps, brainwashes you into thinking you're a totally hopeless fuck-up, and surrounds you with so many prayers and hymns that you eventually become a mindless, submissive zombie chanting the Serenity Prayer.

So anyway, after I have been completely humiliated by my thought card, I go back to the broom closet and stand there another half hour or so, while other kids are being brought up to the end of the table, yelled at, and more often than not, made to either sit or stand in a corner.

Lunch ends, my shadow takes me back to the work-sanction crew. Today we are picking rocks out of the lawn in front of the school and putting them in buckets. There's freezing rain and sleet, the lawn is slippery, muddy, and has a thin sheet of ice over it. We sit in silence, using our bare hands, scraping them on rocks and ice. This lasts five hours.

It's dinner time. Cold cream of wheat in the broom closet. Aside from being on the Thought Card Sanction for every lunch I am on a Cheerleader sanction at dinner. Apparently, I've been seeming a little bit glum lately (I wonder why), so they give me sanctions like this to force me to act happy. My legs are killing me from standing all day, my hands feel like they've been torn to shreds, I'm starving but I feel like if I smell another bowl of cream of wheat I'll vomit, I want to go home so, so badly. I dance around with tears welling up in my eyes and I choke out a rhyme while a group of forty people laugh hysterically at me. They make me do it a second time. I know that if I do this right I might be able to get regular food tomorrow. The staff tells me it's not sincere, and I have to eat cream of wheat tomorrow. I go back to the broom closet. I spend the rest of the night memorizing sections out of the AA book. Eventually we have chapel, and finally I get to go back to sleep. Tomorrow will be the same exact thing.

I lived like this for months. Everyday was the same, bleak, agonizing experience. I was constantly trying to stay at a level where they would at least feed me regular meals. I spent a month in the broom closet, and about five months all together in the corner. I was on work-sanction for about three and a half months total, which meant I nearly failed an entire semester of school. I was on every sanction they had, many times, and they even created new sanctions for me. Why did I get in so much trouble? I had no drug problems, never got in trouble for lying, never complained, got mostly all A's and B's (except on Work-Sanction) wasn't violent, or a brat. I got in trouble because I was "too quiet." I have always been a quiet person. They didn't know how to deal with this, so they decided to treat it as a behavioral problem, that I was "passively defiant" or "refusing to talk."

I recently discovered that one student jumped off a balcony there, cracked his head open and died shortly after I left. I wasn't there, but I can only imagine why this happened. The school does not take into account the effects of brain chemistry or trauma as a reason for kids having problems. They call things like that lies and excuses. They believe that everything a kid does wrong is due to one of the seven deadly sins. While I was there, not once did they bring up the fact that I have an anxiety disorder. They said I didn't talk to people because I was lazy and defiant.And they would not stop punishing me until I could interact with the rest of the kids there. And obviously, the more they cursed me out and punished me, the less I wanted to talk to them. So they put me in a corner, or in a broom closet, isolating me further. They have some weird fucking logic at that school. Then they were punishing me for being depressed. There were no other reasons to punish me, so they just decided to fuck with me for being quiet and sad, until I became more quiet and more sad than ever, and then my dad took me out.

I was put in a wilderness program in Utah called Second Nature. This program was difficult, it mostly consisted of hiking up huge mountains everyday and survival stuff, mixed with a little therapy once a week. I was so happy to be out of the Family School that I didn't mind a bit. I did so well in my wilderness program that I got to go to a fairly regular boarding school in Arizona.

Then, around Christmas 2003 I was finally allowed to go home for the first time in two years. To make a long story short, I ran away.

Since I got out I reunited with my old girlfriend and we have been working on creating alternatives to institutions like the Family Foundation School. We believe (in very simplified terms) in focusing on the positive aspects of youth culture to inspire kids to educate themselves rather than trying to completely isolate them from their environment because it is a "bad influence." We've got a website (website not online anymore) that's partially up and we are compiling a book.

As for myself, the Family School has crippled my social ability, a hundred times worse than I was at the time that I was sent away. It's really difficult for me to talk to other people, so I pretty much stopped trying. For a while I was really depressed about this, but I'm mostly used to it by now. I started studying art pretty intensively, and for the past year or so that's occupied most of my time. I'm not really that good yet, but I'm way better than I used to be and I'm learning a lot about all sorts of things that I would have never imagined myself being interested in.*

The boarding school closed recently. The management tried to relaunce it under a new name but the reputation based on testimonies from former students didn't make it possible.
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Sources:


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Michael at Midwest Academy

This testimony was found on the Sodahead website. All rights goes to the original author.

I was at Midwest Academy from June 16, 2004 till December 19, 2004.

I was 16 when I was sent there and turned 17 while inside. For my 17th birthday I received a tube of toothpaste and a roll of some nice toilet paper which I ended up getting a consequence for a week later even though it had been approved by my family rep. Mr. Eric S.

Now at the age of 26 I've served in the United states Army as a 68W Health care specialist aka combat medic. I've buried my parents, grand parent and a close friend. I'm an artist now. I was a troubled youth although I never got in trouble with the law. My mother died when I was 8 years old and I made many bad decisions after that.

Midwest Academy did nothing to help me. They did help my depression go deeper by making sure I knew I was a piece of trash. I was forced to eat my own throw up when I was ill and couldn't finish 80% of each portion of food on my trey. Mr. Jake was the staff member. A former graduate of the facility. He liked to make life the worst because he went through worse when he was at "casa by the sea" in mexico which was closed down. While I was there I had no mental health help. My letters outgoing and incoming were read and censored.

There was no looking out windows due to accusations of "Run Plans". 10 kids attempted to escape one night. The next week an electric wire was installed on top of the fence. No interaction with the opposite sex. I mean zero interaction except for during seminars (I graduated through the first 3 past discovery), if the girls were around we were forced to turn our heads and close our eyes. None of the staff had backgrounds to help troubled teens. Mr. Doug and Mr. Bob were cool. They let me know I was still human. Mr. Bob quite or was fired 4 months into my stay unfortunately.

Ultimately Midwest Academy made me a worse person. I just got better at Manipulating while i was there. My depression worsened due to no contact with family except for censored letters and no mental help. In fact you could say that place was mentally damaging and I've been through Military bootcamp equal to Paris Island which was a billion times better. I still have all the letters also. Midwest Academy was no different than a county jail except it was 3 grand amonth. I don't know if they've changed at all. I prey they have for the sake of the kids there now.

It has been close to 10 years. I got my act together in March 2007 at Ft. Benning Georgia. I sought out help for my issues through a licensed therapist. Some kids need help. Help and guidance not to make stupid mistakes that can destroy their lives and their families but Midwest only works on roughly 15%. Look into Military Schools. Look into rehabs. Look into theropy. Be straight forward with your children tell them you love them and the decisions they're making are worrying you.

The Midwest Academy I remember was the Hell on earth and what does hell create? Demons and Monsters. almost anything you do will be a wiser decision than sending a loved child to that institution. Parents that praise the place are fools. Teenagers rebel. Teenagers get into arguments with there parents. That's just a stage of growing up. The kids that are doing good now aren't doing good because of Midwest Academy, They're doing good because there smart people who just needed to grow up and get a view of the big picture. Well I hope this helps. Sincerely, Michael B. NICKNAMED by Max in Honor family(before it was against the rules), Baka

Sources:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

areaofinfinity at the F.L Chamberlain School

This testimony was found on Reddit. All rights go to the author known as areaofinfinity

I was placed in F.L chamberlain school in Middleboro, MA this summer.

The reason for this was because I was shy, I didn't have a lot of friends and because I told a teacher I was suicidal after I came out the previous night to my dad. He was so angry he beat me, told me that I was a "failure at life" and I was going to "end up on the street doing drugs". My dad is extremely homophobic.

The following week I was told to pack my bags and go to this school. My mom told me it was to "get away from my dad until he calmed down".

What happened in the next 2 1/2 months were so terrible, It hurts me to even talk about it. I was so sick with stress that night, sleeping in this bed with gang marks carved into the bedframe, starvation, being forced to take medication which I have never took before to "fit in". When I woke up and went to this so called school, I entered a classroom with kids twice my age, mostly tough guys and one girl. The classroom was an old historic building, holes and punch marks were EVERYWHERE. I did not belong here. These kids were serious. I was exposed to things that I never wanted to be exposed to. On my first day I learned the Spanish teacher was having an illicit relationship with an underage student and kids were walking out of math class and smoking crystal meth, and the teacher didn't even care.

I begged my parents to take me out. If I even showed the slightest tear or even sounded troubled, it was policy to put you on phone restriction so you couldn't talk to your parents. I prayed to god. 75% of the kids there were hardcore kids who really should of been in Juvi.. The 25% who were innocent, kids who really needed help were shown no mercy, by the staff members or kids.

The only reason I got out was because I was stabbed in the stomach and when I went home for a visit, when I finally got one I went to see my grandparents, and my grandma saw my scar, then my mom saw, then they asked me questions, more and more. I finally cracked. I told them everything. my parents begged them to just let me sleep over at my house. Before I went to sleep I used the bathroom, and I started urinating blood. I passed out in the bathroom and then that was it. I was out. What a coincidence, right? It turns out the medicine they gave me was causing my liver to fail, and I lost consciousness a lot. Of course at the place they didn't care, they would think you were acting out or sleeping. Every time I passed out I was "frozen". I could talk to no one. I trusted no one. I barely spoke. I barely ate. And can you believe, that right now, THIS second they are still doing these things, behind closed doors, not just there but in "programs" around the country? That's not even scratching the surface.

I was lucky I wasn't killed right when I got there because I was openly gay at that point. These scars won't go away. If I can dedicate my life, just to shut these people down then that's what I will do. These kinds of things cause people to go to jail for life, and yet, behind that happy-go-lucky school tour guide, there is pain that will never go away.

The author later wrote an update:

Its been 5 months since I was rescued from the boarding "school" that I spoke about in my post before. Unfortunately, even the name of the "school" triggers my PTSD so if you want to read about what happened, click on my profile, and find my previous post.

I can finally say that I am getting better every day. I think about it less and less. I am in a great place right now. I'm at a real school with real people, freedom and people who are accepting and loving.

5 months ago I never thought that this would happen... Well, I didn't really think at all, I was in survival mode all the time. I weighed under 105 pounds, and I was so sick, I nearly threw up every day. I am so grateful that I was saved. I am so happy I'm safe.

Two months ago my family and another family that was in this "program" decided to take action. We wrote a review on greatschools.org explaining in depth what happened to both of us. Unfortunately, 2 weeks later the review was removed by the "school" after filing a complaint with the website. We learned this as we had an email explaining why our review was deleted.
What happened is sick. This never should of happened. But It did, and I want to dedicate my life to making sure other parents and teens don't make the same mistakes we did... Looking at "programs" to help get better.

To ANYONE suffering from the consequences of long term psychiatric and physical abuse. Anyone who has survived.. It will get better in time. Remember, The best revenge is living a good life.


Sources:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Eric at Anchor Academy

This testimony was found on Topix.com. All rights goes to the original author Eric Marchant

Jordan, is your last name Crawford. Well, i most certainly agree that the degree of punishment endured at Anchor Academy by many of the students was boader line auztwhich tourture tactics. They system eventully turns many of the the students into the same kind of monster. When a student "gets saved" and works their way to a promotion ( crew leader , dorm leader ), they become the next generation of born again sadists. The cycle turns victims into victimizers. I know from exprience the horrors of red shirt.

I also served as a crew leader in the program, and treated many new students with the same inhumane disrespect i also encountered as a new student. It shows how deranged leadership and authority can feed off of this cycle, Hitler convinced a nation that the hebrew people deserved the holocost and he was able make them actively participate. It shows how primitive man can be. No student was ever killed at Anchor Academy and I am a happily married man with children today. So dont interpret this post as a complaint, rather let it serve as insight from an experienced alumni of Anchor Academy. I respect all opinions, but i only ponder opinions that are resonable. So someone like John, who posted a comment in defense of the sick practices of this program, in my opinion, has never matured mentally. I hope he is not a father. I feel mixed emotions when i think back in tim to those years. I feel regret for any harm i caused anyone as an active goon for bro Dennis, i feel scarred by those black days and nights on red shirt, and i feel a fondness for many of the students i befreinded during those years.

Sources:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bradyn B. at Liahona Academy

This testimony was found on Yelp. All rights goes to the original author known as Bradyn B.

I went to Liahona from January 08 to March 09, and it is an absolutely dreadful place. A wolf masked in sheep's clothing. It is a horrible facility that lies to parents so Clay , the owner, can get as many kids in there to fill up his pockets.

They lie to parents about the disciplinary actions. Some of the disciplinary actions that I am certain are not relayed to parents include; being sat in a chair forced to stare at a wall for 10 hours+ a day, not being given proper nutrition, being forced to do excessive cardio activity (including carrying large rocks and sprints) with seemingly no regard to possible health problems/risks, grown men (the staff) getting physical with the kids simply for refusing to obey, etc. The kids letters are read and censored "if necessary." Any attempts to relay information of disciplinary actions by a student to his parents will result in the student's letter not being sent.

When the kids first arrive they are forced to act like animals in front of their peers. Refusal to do so will end up with punishments mentioned above.

The facility lies to the parents telling them they go on a weekly activity out into the surrounding area. That is not true. In order to go out on the activity the students have to earn it by displaying exemplary behavior (and I mean exemplary). Simply forgetting to push in their chair or to turn off the lights twice would result in a student missing the activity. They also mention on their website the statement that the students enjoy "daily recreational activity". Unless they consider forcing them to run miles on end, and punishing them even more severely for refusing to do so, recreational activity then that is also a lie. Recreational activity mostly only occurs on Saturday and Sunday.

Repeatedly the kids at the facility are used for FREE manual labor, and the staff have the audacity to tell the kids to be grateful for the opportunity to do so. Free manual labor I personally performed while there includes; helping staff members move multiple times (and once the family of the owner) , cleaning up a back yard of a staff members house, landscaping work at a staff members house, and landscaping work at the facility.

The program is set up in a brainwashing fashion that turns the students into obedient, mindless, drones by removing their identity and operating the facility in an authoritative like fashion. The rules are very strict and the punishments are very harsh. For example, writing essays and extra running being dished out to the students for things as small as forgetting to push in their chairs.

They force the kids to memorize meaningless quotes, that are pages long, week in and week out. Punishments for refusing, or failing, to do so are quite severe. The student would miss the weekly recreational activity, and weekend recreations. If a student never does the quote then essentially his stay at the facility is doubled, because advancement in the program would take twice as long.

To top it all off, the ineffectiveness. Behavior of kids returning home usually will recede to to how it was before in a matter of weeks. You hear about it all the time at the facility, kids parents calling and complaining of returned negative behaviors. Some parents still have not figured out the scam and actually send their kids back. I guess Clay is a good salesman.

A boy died at the facility January 19, 2010.

Sources:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bendaman1 at the Advent Home Learning Center

This testimony was found on Reddit. All rights goes to the original author:

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Hi. I'm 19, and I'm a guy. I am so pissed that I must start rambling now. I can't forget what happened. This organization needs to be shut down is all, and it seams that it's legal! Well it shouldn't! So I guess, AMA, but also, how do I sue Advent Home? I was 17, and it traumatized me. I will never think of my mom the same way. I was never diagnosed with ADD, yet I went to a place for ADD kids! Not even the full-on cult/human rights violator organization Seventh Day Adventists endorse this place! It's in Chattanooga TN, and they renamed it to "behavioral therapy" rather than ADD therapy, which by the way, I have never been diagnosed with. I was bullied into going to church. They were taking advantage of my already shady mother. All for suspecting me of smoking pot, which I had been doing for years. She couldn't talk to me about it, and she would never ever debate me on it. She just payed thousands of dollars a month to send me to Advent Home and abandoned me. Ruined my education. I had to get a GED, and now my only option is Jobcorps to find a place to live. Just saying, this organization needs to prosecuted. One kid was there for 5 years against his will. And it's all christian crazy fucking people staffing it, even with tazers. You can't leave even if you are over 18, because the police will force you to come back. They bragged that they have the local judge in the bag. I was raised going to SDA schools, churches, and "pathfinders", a version of boyscouts. My entire life was encased in lies and human rights violations.

Suing them might be tough even if you had a lot of money to hire an attorney. How long have you been out and what is the statute of limitations for bringing suit in TN?

It's possible if you could document specific instances of abuse or neglect that you could take some action against them, but generally religious schools/programs enjoy a lot of legal protections. Were you injured or sexually abused?

How did you get there in the first place? Did your mother take you or did she hire men to come take you? Did they use force against you? handcuffs? Did you live in TN or were you transported across state lines?

How long were you there?

What kind of contact did you have with the outside world? Who could you write and call? Were your letters read by the staff before you could send them? Did you have visits home?

Was there a level system? What was daily life like?

What were some of the more abusive elements of the program?


Yes Freedom of thought, conscience and religion Sexual orientation and gender identity - I'm not LGBT, but anything SDA, including Advent Home, does discriminate against them. You see, you must have 250 points to leave. You can, at the max, get 5-10 points in a week. You can easily get 15 docked off though. For anything. You are blackmailed into gong to church, because they would dock off points if they have a staff keep me at the Advent Home. Although I wasn't a slave, and I wasn't tortured, I was kept there entirely against my will.

I don't know a single kid there who wanted to be there, OR benefited from the program. My mom lied to me, as the director told her to do. Dr. B. I was told that it was a boarding school. I was doing a "christian online school" and it was BS. When I arrived, my cell phone and laptop were taken away from me. They happened to have the same exact online program! The one that i had just quit! They computers had errors, and I was out of school for two months straight. I would plan pinball, and got a high score of 4 million! The next half of the day was WORK WORK WORK, terrible vegan food with no salt allowed. The diet was terrible and disgusting. Mom let me put the laptop and the cell on the plane as a bluff. They left me there just as it got dark, and never came back. Since mom and dad are divorced, dad had the authority to take me out. I was doing the online school, then I went down to california where I was almost complete with an alternative high school. I wanted a diploma fast. Mom took me out and placed me in Advent Home. I wanted to leave by the very first day.

I had no contact for the first two weeks. I got 15 minutes for each parents each week I believe, or two weeks. Everything WAS screened. They would even talk to you about you personal life. If I were to try to leave I would have been met with force. The first thing everyone told me was, don't try to escape! I had no visits home. There was a level system. There was favoritism in the highest. This one kid was a snitch to the highest degree. I would wake up at 5 or 6 and have almost zero time to take a shower and get into a super gay Advent home shirts tucked in with pants and a belt. proper shoes and everything. I bunked with 3 other guys. Oh by the way, it's male only. There were lots of meetings and crazy kids who needed their parents and more meds. They would take any kid for their money, and string along the rich parents for as long as possible, since they decide how many points the kid gets! I know that back in the day, kids got hit by the staff, and abused. I know because the older kids were in the same situation as me. A poor kid named lance and two black kids. We were all nice kids, and atleast the little kids might change a little. We were just nice kids, we didn't belong there!

I live in california when I was transported to TN. I took a plane. Two Months. No contact with my friends and my girlfriend. I had no time to say anything on facebook even! I took a staff phone and returned it, even deleting the call history. I called dad. I told him how much I hated it and he had to get me out ASAP. I was freaking out hardcore. When you get violent, they "disable you" They hold you down in a very uncomfortable way until you chill out. I did not have to go through this. The water was cholorinated. I was being poisoned by it and always felt terrible. So I started secretly drinking non-potable water, which, was delicious. As a country boy, i'm guessing it was fine because it tasted fresh. The abusive elements were the endless rules and demeaning nature of it. You always had to volunteer extra work for points they said.

When I went to church, we had our own section! And we were all looked down upon. Nobody really liked us at all. We went on a field trip or two, to an aquarium. It was fun, but we never had contact with the outside world. The kid I knew who was there, I wish I could say his name, he tried to escape three times. He even stole a car and sped on the highway. He almost got away with it. I saw the little kids terribly unhappy. All the little kids just need a parent, not some christian songs every single morning. Don't want to sing or sit up straight? docked points. If we were late to a meeting, 25 pushups. Dumb pixar movies were "theater time." I saw him turn 18 and leave the place. His parents bribed him with a cruise but he left anyways. He had to finish a few extra month of school there, even though he was 18. He came back that night wet from rain, crying. He finished up the year, idk if he got that cruise but im pretty sure he did not get to go. The school aspect was laughable.


What's your relationship like with your mom now?

What was her reaction when your dad pulled you out of the program?

Was your dad SDA also?


Superficial. I keep her up to date. She just kinda blew it again with me though. It's paper thin. I don't know if I can honestly say I even like her anymore. Since I owe money, I am blackmailed into being nice. If I am not nice, I get freedoms are taken away, or, since im at dad, she finds a way to make me miserable. When I have my own place, car, job, life, I will be able to tell her what I feel. It's funny that any parent would think they could get their kid to be good by threatening them with consequences. It just made me into a liar! Mom was always in denial that I didn't like it, kind of like schools i never liked, when they wasted my college money on elementary school and high school. Dad was SDA, like my grandma and *grandpa. Now he is just right wing super crazy. IE Churck Missler, Glen Beck, Rush and Sean Hannity, with a hint of anti-federalism and conspiracies. For instance, fossil fuels are not actually from fossils! Titanic was a conspiracy too! Biblical UFOS! Alien Pyramids! Yet Dad is way smart and cool. We get along. At least he reads like crazy, he has just been mislead, and it's far too late to convince him otherwise. In other words, Dad is a non-descript christian now.

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The website belonging to the facility is down. The facility might be closed now

Source:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Testimony about Refuge of Grace Academy

Today the boarding school has been rebranded as Wings of Faith Academy but remains under the same management. The boarding school was founded in Michigan but moved to Missouri in order to avoid oversight.

Even prisoners get an hour outside, for the first few months I was there we NEVER went out. I went to refuge march 2009 to nov and well..

I came out fragile and feeling like dying. The martins convinced my parents and I that I had stds to keep me there longer. Once my parents said they couldn't afford it they were happy to let me go! Besides that I went to the doc after I got out and found out I was completely fine and healthy which made me so angry. I was at first disliked by Debbie because the first night I got restrained for pushing her back when she pushed me first! I lost the feeling in my hands for a couple weeks. I was a guide there after a few months and tried to help as many girls as I could.

It was only possible for me to get through by learning to live inside myself. Their self righteous arrogant ways make a bad name for Christians. Only God helped me through and only Gods forgiveness keeps me from a lawsuit.

Sources:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

UGH at Anchor Academy

This testimony was found on Topix.com. All rights goes to the original author known as UGH

This place was hell. Anyone who reads this will know who I am, but I don't really care. I've been out of that place for eight years and I still have nightmares of being sent back - I'm in my mid-twenties now. That place was like a soul-sucking leech pit. And it wasn't just any one person's fault - you throw some misguided teens, adults and fanatical religious types into a room together and you're going to get some 'Lord of the Flies' shit without a doubt.
l have severe social anxiety, physical mobility issues (my back hurts constantly) and it is because of the near constant abuse I faced in this place. I'll admit a lot of it was my own doing - but then again, what fourteen year old kid doesn't buck up at authority? And I wasn't sent there for drugs or because I was in trouble with the law - I've never been in legal trouble in my life. I was sent there because my grandparents couldn't get me to go outside and play and I was obese; because I was rebellious to my mother who has a long history of drug abuse, the which had already taken it's toll on me. In short, I was sent there because my family didn't have room for me anymore.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Not to mention I'm gay as a three-dollar-bill - throw a confused, terrified fag into a group of christian teenage boys and see how well he does. I was the fish in the barrel for most guys at that place, though a lot proved to be decent and kind.

The reality of it is, abuse aside, if you're looking for a program to stick your unwanted child just do the kid a favor and emancipate his ass. Trust me, he's better off without you anyways. As far as those parents/families that actually care for their kids and want to help them, try reaching out and talking to them - jeez. Stop looking for quick-fix-it programs where you ship your kids away like busted blenders and get back the newest, shiniest model. It doesn't work. Your kids are people, not freaking hardware to be replaced and reprogrammed when you don't like their life choices. Believe me, if they're going to get into trouble, sending them to a program isn't going to do anything but delay the inevitable.

Get off your lazy asses and love your damn kids - stop expecting others to do it for you because you're crappy parents.


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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Philly1341 at Sorenson's Ranch School

This testimony was found on Topix. All rights goes to the original author known as Philly1341

I was here for 2 years and I vividly remember how violent and corrupt it was. The is no "Treatment" here, everything is forced, there are no rights here, when you ask about your rights they'll tell you your parent's signed them away for you. I received a Broken wrist because I swore at one of the staff, on another occasion I Received injuries on my ankle for refusing to hike the parking lot, still on another I was "restrained" a lot of times (meaning I got slammed by more than one staff member and got the shit kicked out of me) I left here with more problems then when I went in and the psychological toll that it had on me when I was 14 was High! it is extremely unprofessional and has a long record of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. If you have a child here take them out IMMEDIATELY! they'll thank you later and won't be angry at you for years like I was at my parents. there are other options, this one doesn't work. Trust me.

The facility started as a summer camp called Koos Kamp back in 1959. It moved into the Troubled Teen Industry due to the money in the early 1980's.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Parent testimony about Refuge of Grace Academy

Today the boarding school has been rebranded as Wings of Faith Academy but remains under the same management. The boarding school was founded in Michigan but moved to Missouri in order to avoid oversight.

My daughter Jordan has been home for a year now, spent 4 monthes, came home, went back two.

At any given time there are only 18 to 20 girls there. In the last month there have been 9 girls she went in that brief time who are pregnant one who lives with us.

Friday child services in missouri called my home. Asking me if my daughter was abused physically. How do I answer that when I wasn't there but I know I have the medical bills from urinary tract infections she never had before there and not since she left. And besides my own daughter who had no accredited schooling I was lied to she would I have another girl who was there over two years who didnt get her education either.

I believed Bud and Debbie because I was a desperate parent who loved her child, like others. The fact is you will pay alot of money to people who lie to you play on your desperation and love for your child and all youll get is quiet at home while they are gone. And then they come home and its a bigger mess.


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Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Human" and BHodge at Anchor Academy

This testimony was found on topix.com. All rights goes to the author known as "Human"

I was at the Anchor Academy for 2 months shy of 2 years. They are fanatical in "Christian" beliefs, are physically and mentally abusive, education is primitive at best, and they force-feed religion of their own sect on the impressionable minds of teens and young adults, all the while in the name of God and their own justified actions; putting not only the Bible's morals, but their own, on God's level, and judge the same according to both. The Bible called these people Pharisees and hypocrites for the same. This being said, I hadn't prior to my stay, nor post-stay, failed in my life to become a cretin of any sort, and am currently a productive member of society with a great family, child, and job, absolutely no thanks to the Anchor.

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This testimony was found on topix.com. All rights goes to the author known as Bhodge

Hey, everyone like Adam, Sam Wood, and others in the early part of '04, I was not there for, but I was there for Jordan Harrell, Curtis Watson, Ryan Sessions, on and on.

I know for a fact that is was MUCH worse even the months prior to my Nov.'04 admittance, and I'll admit I had it easier, but it by far was not easy, and I shuddered at stories that Tim Ballard, Deery, Cody Beals, Elerbrach, and others told from days of the past. I spent 2 years there and got sent home after a bad car accident that almost took my life at the hands of a staff member.

Personally, being 16, that's scary stuff, now, I look back, and it's all a learning experience. Fact: Anchor is messed up a lot of ways. You deny that? Then you were there I the 7 years or were in a place of authority....or on the good side of Bro. D. Now, there's a moderation for everything. I think the kids that got in trouble MOST of the time deserved it, but here's my problem: some kids got in trouble when they didn't deserve it,'cause his guide or crew leader was told they needed to be harder on them....put that in the hands of a 14-18 year old and what do ya get? Power trips! Everyone remembers someone like that, and that's a bad rep.

Now for the kids that actually deserved getting in trouble: does not mean they deserve the extent punishment they were given. Prior to the academy, I was a bad kid, but I didn't change because of the academy. There was more bad than good, but I learned ya really gotta "eat the meat and spit out the bones""with a grain of salt" all in one. I learned very little from that place. The largest being, what not to act like or send your kid too. Parents, if you really love your kids, don't send them here. Do you honestly think after 10 years people would still urging you to NOT send your kids there if it didn't have a fairly negative impact on said individuals? That being said, I made it out on the other side of the "A-hole" very well. Food for thought.




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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Testimony from Refuge of Grace Academy

Today the boarding school has been rebranded as Wings of Faith Academy but remains under the same management. The boarding school was founded in Michigan but moved to Missouri in order to avoid oversight.

I went to this boarding school for 19 1/2 months.

I got over 2 years since I got out and I still have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats. I had been completely brainwashed and abused, I had no idea who I was, and I was totally and utterly miserable. Not once in my entire 19 1/2 months there did Debbie Martin, the owner and director of the boarding school, ask me how I was doing, what was on my mind, what I was struggling with, or just even had a decent conversation with me about the weather. She couldn't care less about me. She was all in for my mom's money.

They monitored our phone calls and letters so we couldn't inform our parents of the abuse we were going through, and she would lie to my mom and tell her I was rotten evil child. She did everything in her power to make me miserable. I hated life...

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

A mother about her sons stay at Anchor Academy

This testimony from a mother of a former student at Anchor Academy was found on topix.com. All rights goes to the original author

As a mother of a child that I sent there, I know first hand of the abuse that goes on there.

I made a huge mistake by ever those people to have anything to do with my child. My son is doing excellent but not because of this place. They took a great deal of money from us as well. My child had nightmares for years after leaving that place.

And yes there is abuse taking place there. Peanut butter sandwiches do NOT provide adequate nutrition for the amount of extensive exercise that these kids are forced to endure. I could go on for hours of things that happened in that place while my son was there including tying children up. There are much better programs out there. I was also told they had no connection to rolloff homes in which they are. I was told a great deal of lies when leaving my child there. I have to live with that choice everyday of my life. Thank God he protected my child.

This is not a just place. They hide behind the bible. Punishment does not fit the crime at all. So unless you have had first hand knowledge of the things that go on there and that doesnt mean just by going to church there because I assure you, YOU DONT KNOW EVERYTHING that goes on there.. You really have NO room to even comment on the blog. Because you have NO idea!!! And trust me Having to eat ONE peanut butter sandwich and water for every meal is not even the icing on the cake as to the abuse that goes on there. The only reason I did not press charges against the place and cause a huge blow up is because I didnt want my child to have to relive the experiences in that place.

He is an adult now doing exceptionally well loving life and praising God.



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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Drake at Anchor Academy

This testimony was found on Topix.com. All rights goes to the orignal author

Its strange to see how many people are posting on here that attended this school with me. Jesse wood was actually my first guide and crew leader for quite some time. I find it curious how such a topic got started and why you are all here. I found myself writing a paper for english class about reform schools and was suprised to actually find a topic on the school I happened to attend. As for the matter at hand I personally would not suggest sending your kid here.

From personal experience I feel that I was one of the fortunate ones in the aspect that I was not subjected to some of the nasty business that went on there. For parents looking to send their children here I would say that much of the claims being made here are true to some degree. Like others have mentioned being at that place changes you in a very gradual way. When you first enter the program you are the same person as when you left home just in a different place. It isnt until you adjust and realize that this place is your home for an unknown amount of time that you start to change. I feel the change stems from the fact that everything you had and lived for had been taken away from you.

It is no secret that the introduction process is meant to basically break you and make you into a clean slate that they can work with. Everyone starts out on the same level and depending on their attitude can work their way up through leadership. In doing research for my paper I came across the term stockholm syndrome which I feel accurately describes why people who go there do not want to leave. As someone who was tricked into going I was completely crushed when I understood what was going on. My emotions were all over the place, and I was not even able to be angry or sad or sorry for my actions that led me to that place. One thing that really stuck with me was that these students helping the staff take me in looked at me with disgust. My peers who were there for reasons usually far worse than mine scowled at me. Treated me like I was the scum of the earth and showed no sympathy even though however long ago they were in the same position as I. Then without my realizing it had happened, I had become what had bewildered me. I had become the one slamming kids into the ground and forcing their noses onto surfaces. At the time I thought I was doing what was right and wanted nothing more than to please my superiors.I was helping to uphold the very system I thought so unjust.
When you go up in leadership there are certain privileges that go along with it that make it a highly sought after position. For me it was the feeling of being in control over my situation again. This is about the time where I feel stockholm syndrome came into play and here is a quote describing what I feel to very accurately describe what happened,"Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they no longer become a threat". By conforming to the rules and standards set by the staff I had worked myself into a position where I was in my mind "safe" from the system. The only thing it cost me was my dignity.

The things I did to my peers as a crew leader pale in comparison to the stories I heard from students of former generations. Fortunately for my conscience I really did care for those under my supervision and tried to hold myself to a standard I could take pride in. Unfortunately as those in anchor would say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and such was the case for me. My compliance to go along with such activities did not leave anchor entirely to blame. At any point I still had a choice to say no... but I didn't. I had become caught up in the web of this place that had become my life. Their standards were my standards and my old standards and morals were wrong.

It really is sickening to look back at those poor souls who were unable to follow the rules. Unfortunately at the time I showed no sympathy..it was initiation



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Sunday, February 21, 2016

E.A testimony about her stay at Uinta Academy

This testimony was found on Yelp.com. All rights goes to the original author.

I was sent to Uinta back in early 2007. There are many many problems with this facility and the first being you are medicated for anything and everything. There is not a girl who isn't medicated by her first appointment with the psychiatrist. Staff members are very unprofessional, you are criticized for everything and rarely receive genuine positive feedback. Your daughter has little to no contact with the outside world, friends or family members. The place is run by Mormons who are unaccepting of other religions and do not so let you speak the word "God" or you are punished. I was a vegetarian prior to my admittance to Uinta, but it wasn't mentioned in the paperwork. For months I was forced to eat meat until it was verified that I was a vegetarian. My privacy was taken away from me. I was forced to leave the door open while I went to the bathroom. I had to have someone in the bathroom with me while I showered. I had to do 'body checks' where I had to remove almost all my clothing and show a staff member every inch of my body. I had an eating disorder which staff members said was just 'attention seeking behavior' and treated it as such instead of a young girl with body image issues. The only positive is that I kept up with my academics, although that was with little help from the two or three teachers that came in every other day. I was definitely not the easiest girl to go through this program, and probably will not be the last. But with the way I was treated and humiliated I would never want a young teenager girl to go through what I did.

I went into this program as a young teenage girl with a few insecurity issues and academia problems. I left Uinta Academy completely broken with no sense of self and a whole new array of baggage. Uinta sounds like a great place on paper and looks like a beautiful place in photos but it is toxic, depressing, and caused more damage to me personally than it fixed. I am currently in my twenties, many years out of Uinta, and still struggle with issues I developed as a result of Uinta Academy. This place can cause irrevocable damage to your daughter. My advice is to read the article Savannah M. attached in her review below and think very hard before you send your daughter to Uinta. If you are desperate enough to send your daughter away and put her in the hands of strangers, please make sure you are choosing a safe and accepting environment for her.



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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Samuel at Anchor Academy

This testimony was found on Topix. All rights goes to the original author

I have not even thought about the Anchor Academy for a looong time. My wife asked me today what the name of the school was cause one of her friends new someone that was attending a boys home in Montana. It was obviously not the same school since its not in Montana anymore. Anyway I ended up doing a many hour search on the Anchor Academy and found this along the way......

THE TRUTH....

First of to Ronnie. You are ignorant. Thats all I have to say to you..

I want to start out by saying that I used the system of the Academy to best keep myself out of trouble and to be in a leadership role so I didnt have to listen to the leaders who I felt were not near as smart as me. That may sound arrogant, but its true.

I hurt many people while I was at the Academy and I fell terrible when I think about the stuff that I was involved in. During the time that I was there I witnessed with my own eyes what went on behind the curtain of what parents saw. Jordan and Adam and Id rather not say are right and true. Any counselor that was there during the the times I was (Dec. 2002 to June 2004) and says there was no abuse is not telling the truth. I dont know how it is ran now 6 years down the road. But I know it cant be 100% abuse free from what I witnessed in the past.

The punishments of the Anchor when I was there were not meant to be helpful, but to tear the person down. They would tear to the point that you were so low you had nothing else to do but 'improve'. Their goal was to inflict pain on those who were involved.

PT (physical training) was designed to hurt you beyond what you thought your body could handle and then add 100 rockets on top that(people who were there know what a rocket is, they would make people cry at there mention). Or duck walk until literally cant even stand straight for awhile. Some people who were there were in PT for 30 minutes every morning before the rest of the boys got up and for a few hours on weekends. Remember what I just described Anchor PT as. It was not constructive. On top of this the kids that were living on Peanut Butter sandwiches for 3 meals a day topped of with a nice glass of water could not have been properly Nourished for the amount of physical activities they were going through.

Abuse. To say that there was no Abuse is like saying there is no such thing as the Anchor Academy. I will say briefly some of the stuff I saw. I saw the Foxy . A group of 5 kids who cheated in school made to go through a week of German style punishment. They were made to look like fools in front of everyone. People made fun of them and critizised them (me being one. They were made to sing a song written by one of the counselors and dance to it. This was done to "entertain the rest of the students and counselors while we were eating out huge dinner (they were eating peanut butter sandwiches, when they did eat). Late at night you could here them screaming because of the PT that they were doing ( my bunk was on the back wall, where on the other side they were caring out their punishments). Josh Deery was mentioned by Jordan. Who he said was bent over digging a whole with a spoon. This was the toned down version. He was Bent over, digging hole"s" with an eating spoon, under an old barracks buildin( in the foundation) for many many days. I remember hanging sheatrock in the serving area and him having to do PT based around his spoon while I watched him..This is just what little I saw him do during the 2 weeks or so he was punished. God only know what else he had to go through. If any of you PARENTS can tell me that will not have a lasting effect on Josh's life you are ignorant, and have no clue what it is like to go through such emotional pain. Ill continue on next post.....

K that last post was a test post.... I wrote a few posts that took up the whole 4000 characters each. I posted them yesterday. Was wondering why they havent posted. That one I just posted showed up in 2 sec. Any answers would be helpful. I went to the Anchor and thats the reason for my post.

Im running long so I will give a short overview of things I witnessed. Keep in mind these are kids. Your kids.

Kids made to do push ups in the snow in freezing weather. Pushed over or sometimes tackled if they were not keeping up the PT pace that was set. People slammed or thrown around to get a point across to them. Kids made to eat peanut butter sandwiches, while standing in the the front of the eating hall, to humiliate them. The Foxy 5. Dream Team (another version of Foxy, just as brutal). I Stood over a student (Cody Beeles) and held him down while this guy (not a student or counselor kind of in between) poured a gallon of water over his face military style. Kids would have to stand in the eating hall on Sat. nights if they didnt memorize their 3 verses of scripture a day for each week. They would stand and read the bible for the duration of a movie. I saw kids (foxy 5) made to do squats with cinder blocks held over their head for very long periods of time. If they ever put it down they had to start over again. These cinder blocks were carried around with them for a day or 2. These kids were dressed up in torn, ratty cloths of types of colors and dumb hats that made them look ridiculous to everyone around them (back to the foxy five again). Students would be made to bend over in as uncomfortable of a position as you could get them in, and put there nose on whatever object you would tell them(wall,water fountains, toilets, whatever was not easy to do) If students would not do this or would not do it properly they would get written up or slammed. Depending on student usually. And all of this being done in the name of God at a Christian boys home. This makes me think of James Halford who was beat, humiliated, criticized, and looked down on the whole time I was there. He was ugly by set standards. He was different, he was not a normal kid. When I think about the way he was treated in pains my heart. It was terrible what was done to him and will probably have lasting effects on his life. I don't know how Dennis sleeps at night knowing what he did to this kid and many others. I can go on an on with names and things that were done. There is no excuse.

Students are a big part of the abuse at the school. Leaders were subtly encouraged to do things to subordinates that were inhumane. I cant stress how terrible I feel for what I did and saw there. I don't know how the people in authority don't feel the same. Like Pastor Spencer, Trevor. How can he preach know what he know about what happened to these kids. Its wrong in so many ways.

I wont say that it is all bad by any means. It didn't ruin my life in anyway. I am successful for a 24 year old. I have my own construction business, just build my first house, have a beautiful wife. I still attend church regularly. I'm not at all trying to say that if you go here it will ruin your life. But I just don't see this as the best option for a kid. Ask the Anchor what the percentage of students that are doing well. Its not high. Of the 15 or so people I graduated with, I only know of 4 that are doing really well. Most went back to exactly what they loved and lived for. I would not trust any profession of faith that is made at this school because it is shoved down the students throats, and ones you accept Christ its like part of become a "good kid" at the school. Its not done for the right reasons. I also think that the school will stress most kids relationship with their parents once they are out of the school.

I'm going to stop now, but don't just believe the shiny crap you see when you, as a parent, loot at the school and when they are singing in your churches. I was there giving my perfect, trimmed, and well thought out testimony. Take it from people who have been there and arnt blind.(me, Adam, Jordan, and the other people who wouldn't list there name.

If you have questions please ask.

email: xxxxxxxx(a)xxxxx.xxx

Sorry if this is scattered.Wrote very fast


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