Sunday, August 15, 2021

Hyde School testimony

This testimony was located on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora in a message thread.

A Negative Experience

I also went to Hyde School 30 years ago and am somewhat amazed to come across this forum. I can't think of a more disingenuous and destructive place for an adolescent. While the basic premises of character building and tough love seem worthy, and may even work for some who went to Hyde, the overall environment that was created was unhealthy, not to say bizarre.

After 1972 the school became increasingly strident and hysterical. Joe Gauld threw the most outrageous tantrums, shrieking and ranting accompanied by a Hitleresque waving of arms, which in any sane place would have been viewed as unacceptable and aberrant. At Hyde these were perceived as justified and that the recipient must have provoked them by a lack of willingness to accept some deep truth about themselves. I have since learned such behavior is always a cheap, manipulative power play.

The over-emotionalism at Hyde was particularly unhealthy. Manufactured crises, whether of individuals or over the school's direction, was always accompanied by wailing and crying as people confessed their supposed shortcomings and confronted others. There was an incredible lack of privacy, with every aspect of a student's life scrutinized by both faculty and peers. The term "brother's keeper" was twisted to mean betrayal and students were acclaimed for confronting and making public others negative attitudes, which really meant maintaining a capacity for independent and critical thinking.

Seminars, now evidently called discovery groups, started out as helpful and supportive, but evolved into a hysterical feeding frenzy as students were confronted over anything from poor athletic performances, which necessarily demonstrated a lack of commitment to themselves, or an inability to "give" and open up their true feelings. After 1972, these frequently degenerated into screaming and wailing sessions.

When you are involved in this environment on a daily basis, one's own sense of reality becomes perverted. Because we were basically isolated on campus with parents coerced into supporting the Hyde Way, hysteria and tantrums became normal, even commendable. There was an illusion created that had no basis in reality. This reality was to be perpetuated by students who were willing to make a lifetime commitment to Hyde. Some of these are evidently still there today.

In 1976, one student who couldn't handle the pressure tried to burn down the Mansion in the middle of the night. As this was the main building at the time, which served as a dormitory, dining area and housed all classrooms, it was a highly dangerous act. While there was considerable damage, there were no injuries.

But perhaps the sickest incident I witnessed occurred in the winter of 1974 and involved the confrontation of a faculty member who will remain nameless. This teacher was a definite Poindexter type, socially challenged but a perfectly decent individual. Evidently he proved unable or unwilling to truly "give" of himself in the faculty seminar (discovery group). Early one afternoon, then headmaster Ed Legg announced an emergency school meeting and this teacher was hauled in front of students, faculty and staff and confronted.

What followed was a scene right out of Lord of the Flies. Ed Legg set the tone, offering up a damning appraisal of the teacher's character and deep-seated problem connecting with the school. He then opened the floor to other students and faculty and 240 people set upon the teacher, screaming and crying for two hours, confronting him with how he was not only betraying himself, but the entire school. "I can't feel anything you're saying", screamed one student. "I'm so disappointed in you, how could you let us down like this", sobbed another.

After this incredible emotional purging he was given an opportunity to "give" something of himself. Obviously in a state of considerable distress, he admitted to an affair he had during the Vietnam War with his best friend's wife. "And the damn woman seduced me", he admitted, choking back tears. This was deemed by faculty and students to be insufficiently giving and the teacher was judged to not truly be in touch with his feelings. Joe Gauld then closed the meeting saying, "But the person I feel most bad for is your son". The teacher had a two-month old baby.

It was all very hysterical, tawdry and pathetic. I remember being shocked and frightened at the time by the emotional intensity of it all. It was a manipulated mob run amuck. As with all of Hyde, the experience had no positive educational value. The only lesson learned was that frightened people in a group feed off each other, and are to be avoided.

To those who feel that people critical of Hyde need to toughen up, my response is there is a difference between toughness and manipulated hysteria and false truth. I had a great deal of unlearning to do as a consequence of my experience at Hyde, which took a number of years. After time past, my parents felt deeply guilty about sending me there. The fact that the same philosophy still exists at the school, and some of the same people, or their offspring, remain in charge is disturbing. To those considering Hyde as an educational alternative, take note of some of the more sober posts in this forum and consider other alternatives.

Frederick W. Burnside

The original testimony on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Book: Stolen A Memoir

This book by Elizabeth Gilpin tells the story about a teenage girl who ended up in the teenage behavior modification industry in the United States where illnesses can bring you into prison-styled so-called treatment facilities where the approach often are based on very little medical science. Instead various mind games combined with use of psychical force replace treatment which in many cases result in a life-long battle with posttraumatic stress disorder.

She is first removed by professional transport agents which are an industry where everyone with muscles can get hired and taken to a wilderness program. She survived this stay unlike some of the many teenagers who have died over the last couple of decades.

Next she is sent to Carlbrook which was a sinister boarding school which used a methodology developed in the cult Synanon (which was closed down by the authority). It took her long time to convince her family that it was time for release. Carlbrook is now closed but a family is still looking to this day for their son who vanished without a trace from the school shortly before it closed. This mystery has never been resolved. Was he murdered or did he die during his escape. No body has been found, so there is no base for an investigation.

Elizabeth Gilpin provides a good insight in the Teenage warehousing industry which boomed in the 1990's where an entire generation was close to become ncarcerated in those so-called treatment facilities.

Source: Stolen - A Memoir by Elizabeth Gilpin (Grand Central Publishing)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Kimberly at Turn-about Ranch

This testimony was located on Yelp. All rights belongs to the author

Clearly anyone giving this place high marks has never gone here or is a rich white, attractive kid that got preferential treatment (yes, they treat rich white kids much better), as well as most likely a parent that pushed their kid this program, without really understanding the ramifications of sending a child here. I don't ever want another kid to go through what myself and so many others have gone through. I don't want another kid to suffer from the PTSD I still struggle with 17 years after leaving Burnout Ranch. I can personally attest to witnessing/experiencing verbal, emotional, physical abuse by staff and rape/sexual assault that would go unpunished/unreported due to staff blaming girls/calling them liars. No child deserves this.

Around 2003/2004, I witnessed staff member Myron calling a black kid a "n****r" while staff member Carl called the same kid a "tarbaby" while he was forced to do a "desert walk" (walking miles in the desert with a truck driven by staff slowly following him and shouting racial epithets), staff member Wayne smashing a lesbian's head into the wall and calling her a "dyke", director Max taking me out for "private 1 on 1" walks in the desert to press me about my sexual activity while caressing my body to "heal"... Not to mention being so hungry that I stole a box of crackers and was sent back to the first level for simply being hungry.

My mail sent to my family was read by my counselor Tina and I was punished just for trying to write to my brother and tell him what I was seeing and experiencing. In regards to my earlier statement, the 2 wealthy white girls were quickly moved into staff member's Connie house and were treated well from the beginning. Not every level 4 girl was moved into Connie's house. Just her "favorites", which were always the same type: rich white girls. The handsome wealthy white males also received preferential treatment, with a tall attractive male being nicknamed "Slick" for his best blonde hairdo and constantly being high fived by staff, while being a minority, gay, or fat made you a constant target towards negative comments and physical abuse and punishment.

Reports of sexual assaults and harassment, in addition to rape perpetrated by boys at TAR resulted in staff asking the group of males if they sexually assaulted/raped a female, to which they replied no (of course). Apparently 5 boys that are friends are believed over a girl's accusations and the girl was sent back to the first level. Ex-drill sergeant Connie called her a "slut" and a "liar" for merely being a victim. She was never taken to the local doctor and checked for signs of rape. When the same thing happened to me, I was too afraid to say anything and it continued happening for the rest of my time there.

17 years later, I still suffer from PTSD from being kidnapped in the middle of the night by strangers without knowing who they were or where I was going. I still suffer from flashbacks. All this place did was torture me for 90 days and I'd do anything to keep another kid from experiencing the pain I still feel from this place. Kids having behavioral problems deserve a safe space to heal and figure out what their problems are and how to face them. TAR is the exact opposite of a safe space for children. It's a predatory environment that breeds low self-esteem, low self-worth, encasing it in a bullshit religious agenda and run by frauds. Please do not send a child here. Stop sending your kid away to "deal" with your problem.

After TAR, I've gone through years of intense therapy and no therapist has ever said TAR was a good parental choice and how emotionally damaging it is for parents to push their "problem children" into a wilderness program as some answer. No child deserves this. Deal with the problems your parenting has created. Actively deal with the problems your children are facing so your kids know they're not alone. If you send your kids to TAR, you're a horrible person that deserves the karma coming to you for subjecting your child to torment when you're supposed to protect them.

The facility is currently being sued due to alleged sexual assault. Some years ago, an employee was killed by one of the children held at the facility. A lawsuit states that the tragedy happened because the ranch in search for profit took in children, which were not evaluated to be handled with the level of security for both children and employees, the facility was able to provide.



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