Monday, December 20, 2010

Bryant at Carolina Springs (from

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author Bryant Hudson, who posted the original story on

My name is Bryant Hudson. I am a former student (prisoner) at one of the WWASPS programs, Carolina Springs Academy(C.S.A), located in South Carolina miles away from any towns, villages or even major roads. Although it is advertised as a proffesional treatment center for troubled teens, most teens incarserated, as well as myself, find themselves in more of a concentration camp than anything else.

I've heard the horror stories of Jamaica's Tranquility Bay, and Mexico's High Impact. I personly met several students from TB, and I've got to be honest: the WWASPS facilities in the United States, from my experience, are not ran much better. There were no trained proffesional staff whatsoever. No proper education techniques. We, too, attempted to teach ourselves out of old tore up school books (many times several pages were missing). There were ridiculous and pointless rules for everything; EVERYTHING! We were forced to walk on eggshells and look over our shoulders every day while the staff (consisting mostly of minimum-wage-paid men on a power trip) waited with they're fingers crossed for us to break the rules. Breaking the rules led to worksheets, and worksheets led to OP. OP led to restrainment, and restrainment led to severe beatings (we'll get into that later). We were punished for anything you could imagine, including simple every day actions like sitting or standing (without staff's permission) reading, drawing, looking out windows(that weren't barred or covered up) and, yes, even talking! Our basic human rights were taken away, along with all of our legal rights. We couldn't listen to the radio or watch the news. Phone calls were completely forbidden; even newspapers were contraband. The truth is murder convicts on death row have more freedom than we did. Then there were the poor living conditions: cold showers, no doors on the toilets and no swower curtains. No water pressure and poor plumbing. The facilaty was overcrowded. Constantly the staff would take half the boys dorm to a horse stable miles away from the actual facility in a desperate attempt to hide us from DSS. Any medical needs were either ignored or responded to five to six weeks later. When I first arrived there was a serious stomach virus was going around. Everyone who caught the virus were shoved in one tiny room and were given apple juice, no medicine. When I caught the virus I was accused of withdrawing from Cocaine.

Cruel and unusual is the only term I can think of to describe the extreme forms of punishment they used. Although I spent about three months straight in worksheets, I never found myself in OP (observational placement), but I heard the stories, and I heard the screams. If walking past the tiny building, we could hear kids begging the staff to stop. No one really spoke about what went on in OP. I know what I saw, and I saw kids come back after days, weeks, or even months in OP with black eyes, broken glasses, carpet burns on faces, cuts, bruises , and bloody noses. I think the evidence is right in front of us. Untrained staff are restraining kids not even half their size and illegaly beating them. There is somthing seriously wrong with that!! With my own eyes, I saw one of my peers being choked by a staff member because he got out of bed without permission. This man still has a job at C.S.A. On one occasion everyone (exept upper levels) were forced to stand up against the wall with our hands behind our backs for four days and three nights because the directer of the boys facility accused a student of ejaculating in his food. Even though he had no proof we were all punished. When kids were being sent from South Carolina to High Impact or Tranquility Bay, the staff would taunt and torment them until the escorts came. We were often told that our girlfreinds or personal freinds back home were dead and would laugh about it. When one of my close freinds really did die I didn't know if it was real or another sick joke.

That is just a taste of the psychological torment I endured for eleven months at C.S.A. I never really told many people about it. In the program, any information you give to your parents about what is really going on is disregarded as a manipulation letter,and you are punished. I gave up after one month.The reality is that parents are conned into sending their children to these programs with promises of changing their teenager's lives.The truth is they have no idea what is really going on. They have no clue. Those of us who went through this cannot be bitter towards our parents. WWASPS is the real enemy. They are an empire built on conning parents out of there money, not helping teens. When I found this website, I was very encouraged that people are actually speaking out against WWASPS. I am so glad the truth is finally being revealed. It's verry condescending how the WWASPS website shows pictures of kids having fun and how most of the pictures on the website are not even taken at the facilities!

I would strongly advise parents who are considering sending their kid to a WWASPS progamto look at the facts. Four of the facilities have been raided and shut down, and the ones that are open are constantly being investigated and sued on charges of abuse and not having proper liscense. Does that sound proffesional to you?

Aftermath: After more than 10 year the authorities closed the boarding school in 2009. They tried to open under a new name, but it didn't work out. When aminal care groups visited the campus in 2010 they found animals in a such condition that they had to take them into care. The animal abuse case is investigated, but none cared to investigate whether something out of the ordinar happened to the teenagers, who had to live there for many years. Animals count more than human lives

Datasheet about the boarding school from Secret Prisons for Teens
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eric at SCL and Tranquility Bay (from

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author Eric, who posted the original story on

I'll start off by introducing my self. My name is Eric. I attended both Spring Creek Lodge and Tranquility Bay. My sister also attended Cross Creek Manor and thats how my journey actually starts for me. She was sent there for probably the most cliche reasons you all know of. Doing drugs, running away from home, not going to school, being sexually active etc. So when she was kidnapped in 1996 I had no idea that she was going to be and when i did find out i thought it was really cruel to decieve a person by having them kidnapped but, I knew that she needed help and it lessened the blow for me I guess. I had no idea what the program was about but at the same time I was 16 and i had my own problems so I never cared to find out.

So by about her 7th month in the program she was at the point where we were able to go visit her in Utah so we went. It was February of 1997. Behind my back my sister and my Uncle were having talks of sending me into the program. I had no idea. But, by the time the visit was on its last day I was sitting in the car outside of Brightway in Utah waiting for my Uncle to return and then we would leave, or so I thought. So out comes 2 men telling to get out of the car and go inside with them. At first I laughed and told them they would have to kill me if that was going to happen but, that just made them anngry and one said to me, "Hey kid, you can just walk in with us and not start anything or we can tie you up and make you look stupid in front of all the other kids that are in there." So I just walked in with them while being restrained by my arms by both men. I was there until March 4th and then was shipped off to Spring Creek.

Spring Creek wasn't great compared to life as i knew it at the time but it did beat the hell out of Tranquility bay as I'm concerned. So now I guess I will start with the differences between the two places as I saw it.

I saw and spoke with the director at Spring Creek on almost a daily basis. I can count on one hand the amount of times I saw or have even spoken to Jay Kay at Tranquility Bay. Anyone who spent time at both these places knows the difference between the living condtions. If I spoke of Spring Creek when I first arrived, and I did, I was always punished by the case manager cause someone would tell her that I said this or that and it would make them want to tell their parents in hope of getting transitioned to Spring Creek.

I'm always confused on how to explain my time at TB though. I think it is because i never spent time in OP and hardly ever got into trouble with anyone but, there were deffinetly things that i saw that were just plain and simply WRONG. I'd have to say that not all the staff there at the time I was there were all terrible. There were the ones that were and the ones that were not. I just kept to the ones that i knew were not. I look at the website now and I see the program run a little different than when I was there, or maybe thats just what they want me to think. I have too many opnions to just sit here and type them all right now or to even go on about my whole experince there but if anyone reads this and would like to know about what this place did to me I would be glad to tell. Any questions or comments just let me know. I will come by here from time to time to check up and see whats going on. Thanx for reading what I have had to say for now.


Datasheet about the boarding school in Jamaica from the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora
Datasheet about the boarding school in Montana from the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Facebook group: Imagine if everything you knew was gone...

I stumbled over a Facebook group called: Imagine if everything you knew was gone...

Here is the description of the group:

Imagine if...
You left your home...
If you didnt know if you would ever return...
If you waited a week to hear from your parents...
If you felt that your life was over...
If you lived like you were in Lord of the Flies...
If you could never see your friends again...
If you didnt even know where you were...
If you lived hundreds of miles away from home...
If you could not talk to your siblings...
If you were placed in an enviorment where everyone but you knew what was going on...

For those who have been to:
2nd Nature
Four Winds
Sage Walk
Pacific Quest
Provo Canyon School
Salt Lake City
Utah in General

Post the story of your first day...

It seems that a number of boarding schools are represented on this list. Join and Enjoy. It is actually healthy to share your experiences instead of carrying them around untold.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book: They Cage the Animals at Night

Book cover
This book written Jennings Michael Burch is based on his own life experiences. The author spent his childhood in the foster care system, which unfortunately has not improved since he was a part of it.

The punishments given to the children are not out of the ordinar.

The book gives a good insight to the dynamics of the foster care system and the motivation for the social workers to get rid of cases from their desk so the children become the problems of others.

They Cage the Animals at Night (Penguin Group)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ashley at Spring Creek (From

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author Ashley, who posted the original story on

When the strangers in the car finally told me where we were headed, my whole world stopped. I knew exactly what thye meant when theyb said, Montana. I instantly thought of the worst, my parents friend’s son had already been there about a year, and I hadn’t heard a word from him since he left, he seemed to kind of just vanish off the face of the earth. I quickly rearranged my thoughts and realized this boy, Mason was also an alcoholic, hippie weed smoking violent run away. I never did anything like that. In fact why was I going there anyway?? My parents must be overreacting, do they know what they are doing, I hadn’t been an ideal daughter, but I didn’t do anything to warrant this. I noticed the bag in the trunk my mother must have packed while I was gone, it wasn’t very big just a small weekend duffel bag. I instinctively asked what the shortest amount of time I could be there if I was compliant was. Three weeks is the minimum, three weeks ok a little longer than I had hoped, buit not horrible ill just follow all the rules and get out of this ‘program’ as soon as I came in, ill just say what they want me to say and be back with my boyfriend Jason in no time, this wont be too bad I tried to tell myself. Between my sobs and gasps for breath I asked more questions, can I use their phone? When do I get to talk to my parents? Do I have to wear a uniform? How long will it take to get there? Every single question that came out of my mouth I later learned was answered with a flat out lie. The only thing I believe they did tell me that was true was the mace and handcuffs they had incase I ‘gave them any trouble’

They offered me some chips and normal snack food, during the 12 hour ride, but I was in such shock I couldn’t even consider eating and wanted to talk to them as little as possible, I decided to just try and sleep, maybe in a few hours I will wake up from this dream.

Never had I felt so dependant and untrusted. Child locks on the dorrs, escorts to the restroom, and the first time I could ever remember not having my cell phone with me, I didn’t know how to react. Finally at about 3 or 4 the next morning they announced we had arrived. I was so nervous not knowing at all what to expect, I tried to take it all in but my mind was occupied by my extreme need to urinate. We parked the car and I could hear one of the escorts talking to some woman outside. They were clearly talking about my and I was slightly relieved to hear him say “she was very compliant, no problems at all.” Id started out on the right foot, just play my cards right and ill be out in a matter of weeks.

I recalled my immediate urge to use the ladie’s room, so another lady walked me down the road to a colorful cabin, where I was informed a group of girl just got the privelage of painting it – there were handprints everywhere with names underneath. I didn’t know what to think until I went into the stall , as I was preparing relieve myself I examine this place….. it could hardly be called a restroom, thank good ness there was plumbing that worked most the time, and there was no pressure in the sinks, I didn’t think it appeared too bad until I noticed the feces stains on the floor and walls, and the used tampons in hidden nooks and crannies, I thought I was going to gag so I did my business as quickly as I could and left.

That night really was a blur, some things I remember as though it were yesterday others I couldn’t recall if was paid to. So ill tell you what I do remember. We went inside this trailer on the side of the road which appeared to be some sort of office, that is where we began the first part of my ‘intake’ the strangers and the car I arrived in suddenly disappeared and I was left alone, somewhere in Montana, in the middle of a forest.

I remember getting my picture taken, I refused to smile at the camera and I looked like death after being in the car for so long and so late at night, there were questions that never ended and a few I didn’t understand the purpose of. They stripped me of any money, identification, and jewelry. The staff members constantly talked to each other as though I wasn’t in the room, when in fact I heard every word they said. Despite the circumstances, my naturally optimistic outlook on life tried to bring in some comic relief, whenever I said anything they looked at me as though I had just shot the president, then ignored my comment and continued with their conversations.

It wasn’t much later I was being escorted with a laundry basket full of necessary items my mother had sent with me such as a toothbrush and undergarments. We walked at 3 in the morning to a cabin where I would join the ‘charity family’. There were approximately 6 girl and 6 boy familys in the lower levels (1-3). All with names that describe characteristics we were to be striving to aquire: destiny, innocence, courage, dignity, integrity etc.

Once we arrived at the cabin they showed me my bed, or more like a board with an 2 inch mattress. And went to wake up a another girl on the top bunk, named Randi., she became my ‘intake buddy’ they put me through odd procedures, I didn’t even have to go through when I was at a mental facility a year earlier. I was required to take off all my clothes, and jump up And down to make sure I had nothing hiding in any….cavaties I then took a shower and learned how to make my bed, and was given permission to go to bed…at 3 or 4 in the morning on march 3rd 2005.

It would take an eternity to go into detail of my every day while staying at SCL yet I feel as though it would be hard to fully express my feelings towards this ‘residential facilities’ without it. I’m in a bind and don’t know how to find a solution, ill just begin and say what I can.

I spent countless sleepless nights….due to many different factors. One night we had streakers, often girls acted as though they were at a 7th grade sleepover and ran around our cabin squealing and having pillow fights, we’ve been invaded by ‘support staff’ because they were determined to pull a young girl from off of her top bunk, because she ‘needed to go to intervention’, often I couldn’t sleep because my ‘bunk buddy’ above me was moving and moaning while pleasuring herself in the middle of the night.

These things don’t sound to be pleasant, but by no means are desired. That’s the point. Things that we did to each other weren’t all that bad, the problem is when the staff intervened, for often no particular reason “Tough love” that’s what they called it. Tough, ok I get that part but when does the love come in?

My parents as well as thousands of others have fallen into the trap of a helpless parent at the end of the road, they didn’t know what to do- and I cant blame them. I really was out of control, and they didn’t know how to handle me, yes I was disrespectful to them, myself, and my body. I was 17 and thought I knew everything. I wont try to deny any of it I know how I acted, and I did need help. They thought they were giving me the help I needed, after I finished being so angry I was actually glad to receive their help…the only problem was my parents weren’t giving me what I needed.

These schools, programs, facilities, camps, whatever they call themselves manipulate and lie. Not just to the students, but to our parents, the media, and to themselves. They use many if not all of the same brainwashing techniques as cults do which can take months to reverse the impractical thinking processes.

Maybe it wouldn’t even be so bad if we were forced to go and eventually sent home, but the reality of it is you never go home. Ever since that summer in 2004 I will never be the same. I as well as many others suffer from symptoms of Post traumatic stress disorder, both from the actual program I attended and the sudden ‘kidnapping’ of the strangers that charge my parents thousands of dollars to unexpectedly force me to get into their car with threats of handcuffs and pepper spray if I didn’t comply; then lie to me the whole way there and drop me off somewhere in the middle of the woods.

Its hard to recall the experiences I had while attending Spring Creek Lodge Academy, one of the WWASPS programs in north-west Montana, because I’ve spent so long trying to block out the painful memories of mental abuse. I must say, I did get out lucky. I never was physically hurt by staff, and was able to go home only 4 months after being there, nearly a record compared to my fellow prisoners.

Many people consider it a good thing I was never physically harmed, and I am grateful but I’m not always sure I’d prefer mental abuse, especially when I already had deep emotional problems. The theory was sort of a ‘break you down to build you back up’ idea. I never really understood why I had to be broken to be made whole again instead of just starting from where I was.. But I complied for awhile because I knew it was the only way to get home. I honestly believe some of the staff members there got more joy out of the ‘breaking down’ part than the ‘building up’.

Every day for months I was reminded that I make mistakes but wait…doesn’t everybody? no, just me. Just us the ‘program kids’ we ruined our families lives, we made them go bankrupt paying for our ‘rehabilitation’ we hurt them so badly with the ways we treated them. They used the term ‘accountability’ often….and often in places where it wasn’t appropriate, YOU must be accountable for the guy who raped you, it was your fault for ‘being in that position.’ There was a certain ‘lingo’ or type of jargon to the different camps, they used awkward words different from people in the normal world, I would often write my mom and she would respond asking what half my letter meant, I was beginning to sound like a zombie, a clone, a robot…..exactly what they wanted.

The industry distorts figures saying ”this many percent of all parents are satisfied with their child’s success” sure our parents our satisfied, at these prisons we didn’t get ‘fixed’ the only things we got better at was hiding our unwanted actions. By some sort of miracle I was able to find just about all the girls that were in my ‘family’ up at SCL. And I can only think of one of them who haven’t at least gone back to their old ways (including myself) and most have only gotten worse. I’ve now been out for 2 and a half years and being one of the older girls, I’ve been able to witness myself and my friends grow up. We do learn from our mistakes, it just takes some more time than others. At that point in my life, I wasn’t happy. I did the things I did for various reasons, and my parents knew I had clinical depression. They sent me away hoping they would help to solve my problems the way the mental hospital did years earlier with my problems of self-mutilation, and bulimia. What that hospital did for me in four days, could never compare to the months I spent in Montana.

Many girls were raped, and I understand the need for talking about it, and getting through that emotional problem, but what help will it do to hold her down while a man comes in pretending to rape her while people are screaming in your ear, “you whore! Slut! I cant believe you are just letting him do this to you! You skank!” This kind of ‘therapy’ does not help anyone and has been proven to be harmful. Meanwhile Karlye in the cabin over has just hung herself and you are forbidden with severe consequences to speak her name or anything about her or the incident. If we ignore it do they think her memory will just go away. Well I wont let Karlye or her life be ignored any longer, children are going through this type of abuse everyday and most of America doesn’t even know it exists, I’ve committed to do all I can to stop other youth from going through these traumatizing experiences

+If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem+

Spring Creek Lodge Academy closed sometime in 2009

Datasheet about the boarding school at Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide) (

This story was originally written on the message board called the Fornits Home for Wayward Webfora. It started a longer thread about the horrible conditions at this ranch, which continues to be in operation and was featured in the Dr. Phil show as late as here in 2010. All rights and credits goes to the author known as Idioteque:


Note: My time at TAR was voluntary. It resulted from my expulsion from a traditional boarding school that I loved, as a prerequisite for re-enrollment. Also, as an Elan history buff, I was curious about this industry. My experience took place in late Winter to early Spring of 2002.

I went to Turn About Ranch for "the minimum" 60 days because I began a letter-writing campaign to the educational consultant at the Department of State, my dad's employer. While she did not do anything besides force a stop-payment, it was still welcome.

TAR really ought to be shut down. It isn't brutal in the sense of WWASPS, but it's still incredibly twisted. The isolation, forced labor, antiquated gender roles, and mandatory Baptist instruction are sickening.

For the uninitiated, here's a general break-down of the system:

1st level: IMPACT/ROUNDY

During the first day at Roundy camp students are strip-searched, have their shoes taken away and replaced with old size 14 rubber boots (without laces). They are then told to sit in the dirt, surrounded by a 4x4 circle of rocks with a firepit and a plastic tarp/lean-to supported by cedar branches. They sit there from before dawn to well after, until the Level 2's are sent to bed.

This is called "impact".

During this time they are not allowed to talk (except to ask for water or food) and are forbidden to sleep except when the staff tells them to. They eat breakfast (oatmeal, cooked over their personal camp fire in an old coffee can), lunch ("trail mix," which is shredded coconut, Cheerios, and raisins), and dinner (which can vary from beans & lentils to Ramen noodles, depending on availability and behavior).

They are issued to blue Level 1-2 binder. At this time their only work is to write a letter to their parents, a letter to themselves (to be opened upon graduation), and to wait. Wait until advancement.

Level 2: ROUNDY

The students get their shoes back. Nor do they have to shit under supervision anymore, but it's still in the same port-o-potty (Staff, Boys, and Girls toilets are there, but are unlabeled so humiliation and punishment can be used against anyone using the "wrong one")

Usually after about 3 days the students are taken off of impact. A bath (in a galvanized tub with boiled water, a bar of soap, shampoo, and a disposable BIC razor) is provided. They are now Levels 2's or "twos," but keep the same binder. Their responsibilities are much greater than on impact. They spend most of their time milking cows, carrying water from a creek (punching through the ice if you're lucky enough to be there after November and before April), washing utensils/dishes, collecting eggs, feeding pigs, and doing push-ups twenty five at a time (if they say anything as horrible as "dude"
or "god"). Anywhere on the calendar remotely near winter, they chop firewood. Cords, as they call them, are a necessity for advancement in the Blue Binders. A quota is listed and enforced.

Level 3: The Barn

You get your Green Binder! And a mid-term meeting with your parents, who just might screw you over more if you're not careful. Better slap on a Utahn accent and bury that mouth firmly in between their ass cheeks!

At The Barn, oligarchy rears its ugly head. There is a syllogism to it. Not all students are snitches, but all snitches are students. You have to watch your ass in an entirely new way.

You are allowed to drink flavored beverages now (Kool-Aid, milk, soft drinks as infrequent rewards). You are allowed to see clocks and watch certain movies (The Emperor's New Groove, E.T., The Bridge Over the River Kwai, etc.) during "movie nights" and also you eat more complex food (burritos are a perrenial favorite). However, your mail is still (as always) regulated and newspapers/TV are out of the question.

Your average day will be spent feeding cattle off the back of a truck, feeding goats/chickens/geese/sheep, or even helping an employee move their furniture to a new house. You are free labor and therefor expendable, don't forget that. On Sundays, you're ushered into TAR vehicles and driven to Escalante's Baptist Church for the mandatory services(supposedly not, but on asking not to be included I was threatened with a "level drop").

During this time you will also be included in "groups." During Group you will sit on plastic chairs in a semi-circle and watch people be accused of things, mocked, and subsequently have insults screamed at them. Maybe you'll get to participate in Max Stewart's (the burly Mormon who runs the place) challenge to run from your chair to the corral fence and back again just for the hell of it. If you look at the girls too much he'll accuse you of wanting to make a "TAR baby." To Mormons, sex without reproduction is a foreign concept.

Or in my case, you might get taken for a ride in Stewart's pick-up truck for some personal attention. He told me I was a drug-addict for requesting a continuation for my prescription Eskalith (lithium citrate, for Bipolar Disorder). Thanks for curing my organic brain disorder, Max!


As a Level 4 you get to serve yourself a plate before anyone else by going behind the counter and scooping slop onto it while helpless Level 3's drool. You also get to sit in on "leadership meetings" in which troublesome students are brought up and solutions are devised. It's a sweet position, but make sure you kiss the right ass or you'll level drop.

During this time you're supposed to complete your Red Binder, which includes assorted equestrian bullshit and anti-drug propaganda from 20 years ago (by the way, these binders are counted as High School credits for some reason).

Eventually, after tormenting your underlings in Levels 1 to 3, you're sent to Solo. Now, Solo isn't as harsh as it used to be. It's still the same one-room, black-painted cabin out in the middle of nowhere that it used to be. The only difference is you don't have to sleep there. Instead you spend your time completing the Solo Binder, which is a reflection on just about everything. You can almost (kinda) get a tan out there, too. This is also the perfect time to smoke any cigarette butts you've found (or sage-brush rolled in notebook paper if you haven't learned to trade well). What, no matches? You should have stole them from the meds booth, you retard, GAWD there's only a fucking basket of them!

But I digress.

This isolation will last perhaps 2 days at the most. Then you'll be welcomed back to The Barn in hushed, secret anticipation of your graduation. Sometimes this is delayed for more than a week, other times it happens within 24 hours. You're then led into a circle outside (or one in The Barn) where your "medicine pouch," some feathers, and some other Indian bullshit are given to you. Then everyone says some stuff and your indulgent, well-fed, affluent parents cry and welcome you back into their (YOUR) family.

You are now free. It took 90 days of no music, no "slang," forced Christianity, having to sing while using the bathroom, hard manual labor, and ingenious mind-games... but you're free. What's in store for you? If you follow Turn About's suggestion; a life of piety and no friendship. Better than smoking weed and premarital sex, right??


Some of the conditions the author is mentioning has changed based on public pressure due to the boarding schools partipcation in the TV-show "Brat Camp". The boarding school was also involved in a court case where a girl had been sent to the ranch by her mother and the family intervened so the girl could leave and live with her family in another state.

Datasheet on the boarding school from Secret Prisons for Teens
The original thread on Fornits

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jennifer at Casa by the Sea (from

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author Jennifer, who posted the original story on

I really want to save kids' lives, the humiliation, the inhumanity, the conditions and treatment. If I suffer just a little more, It's a small price to pay.

I loved my life that I had going for me. I was a sophomore with decent grades, a really cute boyfriend who treated me like a princess and some really awesome friends, I was always at the parties, I had made a name for myself, everyone knew Jennifer.

I was born and raised in a small town not from from Seattle, called Poulsbo, Washington. I was raised by my mother and had very little contact with my Father. They had been divorced for quite some time now. I attended school there and was considered part of the popular crowd. Life was good. I came down with a mental illness called PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) on top of being bi-polar, and having depression. and started smoking marijuana all when I was 14 years old. It wasn't documented until over a year later when my doctor told my mother that I was a good kid, I just had some issues that could be taken care of with the right dosage of medication. My mother and I were fine for awhile but soon things were back to the way they had been before. Her and I started fighting more, and I was losing the good reputation I had worked so hard to achieve. I was slumping into average and since I had always been an "A"student with all the popular friends, my mother got worried, and when she worried, I suffered the consequences of her fears. The fighting went off and on for 2 more years. I continued to use, and looked for comfort in the back seats of cars. I didn't know how to communicate with my mother anymore. Maybe it was me finding my own path, maybe it was the fact that I was jealous of my little sister, maybe my medication dosage wasn't high enough, I don't know where it all went wrong. But it did.

Soon, we couldn't stand in the same room as each other and I told her I was going to live with my father again. Something we had tried a few years prior, but was an unsuccessful attempt. My Father being more of a child than I was at that time. My mother and I had our final fight, and I left in the middle of the night to my fathers house. When I arrived at my Dad's house, he said understood what had happened. but he didn't want my Mom to worry so he called her and told her where I was. She wanted to talk to me but I refused. She told my father the cops would be there soon to pick me up, and not to tell me. So I left, I went to my boyfriends house who lived within walking distance from my cousin who was also my best friend. I went back and fourth between their houses for a little over a week. I quit my job so the cops wouldn't be able to find me there and I worried what I was going to do when summer was over and I had to return to school. I had no where to go, little time and no money to devise a plan. I went back to my cousins house one morning to talk to her about my options. I later found out that my mother had manipulated her into telling her where I was. Her and I were sitting down watching "The Never Ending Story" when there was a loud knock at the door. My Aunt went to get the door and she slowly walked to the living room. "Jenny, it's for you." she said in a dis-hearted tone and she looked at the floor, her eyes refusing to meet mine. I think at that moment my heart stopped beating as I looked upon the officer that stood in the doorway. I couldn't move, I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe. All time just stood still and I knew my life was about to change drastically. I wish I hadn't been so right.

The officer talked to me for awhile and I just got more and more angry the more I heard. In Washington State a child can legally run away from home at the age of 16. If a parent wants that child arrested, they have to have an imagination. As they took me out of the house to the police car waiting in the driveway, my Aunt pleaded with me how much my mother loved me and how she was just trying to help me. I turned and looked my mother in the face, who had been parked just down the street, and without and remorse, told her that I hated her. That was the first time I had ever told my mother that. I was taken from my cousins house to the nearest juvenile facility, and held in CRC, a place for apprehended runaways When they realized they had no reason to hold me, that I never tried to kill my family, the reason I was arrested in the first place. I sat in CRC and stewed ways to get back at my Mother. I refused her phone calls and sat quietly.

One day I was taken from the room and put in a conference room with my Mother, Father, and Step-Father, and a few mediators. I pleaded to go live with my father because the relationship between my mother and I was not healthy and I felt like I couldn't forgive her for what she had put me through the past few days. She said, "I haven't decided what I am going to do with you yet, but you living with your Father is not an option." My Father and I both pleated again. Again with no prevail. I was escorted back to my room in CRC. where I spent the rest of the day. The following morning I awoke and thought to myself, whats the worst she can do? That was the LAST TIME I ever even thought that about my mother. I got a phone call later that day from my Mom. She had made special arrangements for me to stay in CRC for a few extra days while she got the "details" set up. I asked her what she was talking about and she hesitated... "I'm sending you to a boot camp in Montana." I asked her what she was talking about and she began to explain, but every word she spoke made my blood boil hotter and hotter until The sound of her voice made me sick. I hung up on her and thought about my life and how it was going to change. I wasn't too upset because I thought it would give my body that edge I was looking for, I thought of it as a 24 hour live-in gym. And I wasn't too angry with the idea. I still thought it was unfair of my mother to do that to me. I felt like she was just tossing me out like a dirty diaper. My life was none of her business, but she was determined to make it hers.

The next day the phone was for me again. It was my Mom, and the CRC staff recommended that I hear her out. I obliged. She told me she changed her mind and a smile swept over my face. But before I could say anything she quickly added, I'm sending you to a behavioral program in Mexico. I threw the phone off the desk and it hit the floor. I screamed a few choice words and ran up the stairs to my assigned room. I had heard about these places, the places that really bad kids go. I kept thinking, all I want to do is live with my Dad. She came by to talk to me and I recommended to the staff that they NOT place us in the same room because they didn't want to deal with an assault charge on my record. I knew I wouldn't be able to control myself. So she dropped off the pamphlets and left. I read all about how "wonderful" Casa by the Sea was, In A beautiful part of Mexico, I can have the best schooling, meet life long friends, and be a happier person. I eased up on the idea. Okay, so my boyfriend and I would have to spend some time apart but I could still call him every night and write him and my friends. I was told "It's just like college, but your not supposed to leave" I thought, cool, college? sounds alright, a few parties, maybe a little drinking, some cute boys for eye candy, catch a nice tan. And above all else, I didn't have to see my Mom. I was wrong. I wish I would have known how wrong I was.

But still in a defiant mind frame I told my mother they'd have to drag my dead body there, because I wasn't going. She said that she had already arranged the transportation. I was extremal confuse when she said she had hired Rudy and Maria for $2,000 + expenses to escort me there.

Early one of the following mornings, August 11th 2001 my room was unlocked and one of the staff members called my name to come get ready. It was about 4:30am, but I hadn't slept. I quickly showered, got ready, and waited until 6:00am for Rudy and Maria to show up. Rudy talked to me calmly and told me I could make this as easy or as hard as I wanted. I told him I would comply and he held my belt loop on my pants and I was told to put my hands in my pockets. I did as I was told and walked to the car, my mother was behind me crying and saying, " I love you Jennifer, I only do this because I love you." I shot her one last dirty look and got into the car.

"So are we driving all the way there?" I asked. They laughed from the front seat. "No silly were flying." Maria replied. She was a very pretty Mexican who in the next 10 hours, I would really enjoy spending my time with. I was excited, I had never been out of the state, let alone out of the country, never been on an airplane, I was like a kid in a candy store, they kept saying all day long that they had never had an escort they liked as well as me. During our layover we went to In-and-Out Burger, and Krispy Kreme doughnut's. I had a blast that day, until we crossed the boarder and began the journey into Mexico. All around me was poverty, naked children, and boxes made into homes. I began to appreciate what I had left in the states.

"Were here!" Maria said. I looked at the gates in disbelief. "Your joking right?" No. I wish they had been. We drove in and I was taken immediately and stripped of my belongings.My clothes were taken down to my underwear, in front of another student and a staff member. Everything was taken from me, and I was put into a uniform and placed into a classroom. everyone looked at me but everyone looked the same. The student introduced me to the staff member in charge, but I didn't understand her. "Does everyone speak Spanish?" I asked. The student laughed and said you do too. Good luck kid, this is Ginger, your new buddy, you'll do fine here, just allow yourself to change. Ginger asked the woman in charge something in Spanish and was given permission. She looked at me and said, "Okay we have permission to talk. This is the rule book" she pulled out a collection of about 20 papers that were in a folder, "you can have mine I've memorized it, and I don't need it anymore. She began to try to explain the rules to me. I was very confused. Soon I began to catch on though. She explained that Levels are gained by attitude the level of change that has taken place within that person. It felt like a cross between a perfection contest and a cult. The prize? Everything you have ever known and loved.

I had never seen so many kids behave in such a fashion before. It was like they were programed. It was very scary. The first week I was there, they couldn't find me a water bottle, so I didn't get any water until 9 days later when I was finally given one, It was Mexico in August and I was denied water! But that was just the beginning.

The night I arrived happened to be uniform night, where we turn in out dirty uniforms and get new ones. I was in line to get a new uniform when the girl in front of me was not paying attention and fell behind in line. I whispered loudly, "Run!" so she would not get in trouble. Little did I know that the staff would interpret that was a Category 4 rule violation, run away plans. Before I could understand what was happening,I was sent to "R and R" more commonly known as "room restriction" I was there for 2 days until I was dismissed by the headmaster.

In R and R you are to sit with your nose one inch from the wall, with your legs folded under the weight of your body, your arms are to be held behind your back, they cannot touch the floor, your back or your other each other your back and neck must remain rigid and straight. Sooner than you might think, your arms fall asleep, your legs fall asleep, there is no blood going to them. They ache so badly it puts you into tears. They throb and just when you think you are going to collapse and endure the consequences, you get a bathroom break. 3 bathroom breaks. 3 meal breaks. Many people say, If I were you I would have just told them to screw themselves, but I've heard the screaming that comes for R and R sometimes. I never found out what happened that made the girls scream like that but I never wanted to find out.

You are supervised by 3 staff members who socialize in Spanish all day long. They do not talk to you, nor are you aloud to talk to them. You may not request permission to do anything. If you have to use the restroom you wait until it is offered. Besides, these 3 particular staff members didn't understand English anyways so it would have done me no good.

When I finally got out, people looked at me like I was a trouble maker, like I didn't fit in. I felt like an outcast. Everyone seemed like they were perfect. I didn't understand the rules, the society, or the language. I hated my life. Every day I would daydream about another suicidal fantasy but one in particular still etches itself in my brain. My favorite of all my horrible mental illusions was getting as close to the window as I could quickly grabbing a chair and breaking the window to dive face first through the window onto the the cement 2 stories below. It seemed to be the only thought that made me happy for months. I knew I could do it. But I wanted so badly to come home and be with my best friend and my boyfriend again that I never did. I regretted my decision every night when I layed down in my bed and a staff member monitored me while I cried myself to sleep. I honestly can't tell you why I never did it. I heard of a girl that killed herself in Tranquility Bay, Jamaica, another one of the W.W.A.S.P. (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs) and I closed my eyes and watched her face become mine as I lived out my dream again in my head. I found out later. Thats exactly how she died. Apparently I wasn't alone.

I could tell you hundreds of stories of how, when it would rain maggots would cover the ground and it was impossible to take a step without squishing them under your feet as you walked to the commodore to eat your meal's of mystery meat, rice and beans. The malnutrition and stress either made you lose incredible amounts of weight, or gain obscene amounts. I went from about 115 to 168 in 8 months. (I gained more than twice as much weight in the 8 months that I was there, then the 9 months I was pregnant) Or how you were to undress in front of 30 girls, and be monitored while you were given 5 minutes to shower under a steady drip of cold water. If you drank the water you were to be given a category 5 (the highest consequence) and put in R and R for drinking the water, because it was considered a self inflicted injury. The toilet paper was not to be flushed it sat in a bucket next to the toilet where it ofter spilled over onto the floor.

The sleeping quarters had huge amounts of mold behind the beds and made many girls sick. The fungus grew so rampid, girls constantly got diseases on their feet. I got one. I asked numerous times for medical treatment and was given none, still to this day I don't know what I had, but it ate away at the skin on my feet until they cracked and bled. I was switched from a top bunk to a bottom bunk because I was unable to get in and out of bed anymore and walking and exercising was difficult but expected none the less. Nothing was done and it just got worse until I got home and was able to properly bandage my feet with sports tape and neosporin. A few weeks and a daily foot bath later. It was gone.

Some of the worst experiences I have ever had to endure took place in that facility but I think the worst ones were when our bathroom privileges were taken away, because either we were "abusing our privileges" by using the restroom too often or we were on code silence (where the whole facility is not to talk at all, for no reason what so ever) Since talking was our only means of communicating, with permission mind you, because ANY form of non-verbal communicating, from nodding your head to smiling was NOT PERMITTED. So when we went on code silence how were we to communicate that we had to use the bathroom? We didn't. We sat there until we were asked if we had to go. Many girls wet themselves. Myself included, on 2 separate occasions. When we were denied our right as human beings to use the bathroom. It's humiliating to be a teenager and have to wet yourself in front of all of your peers.

Seminars were held every month and a half. From watching videos, and reading about cults, looking back I firmly believe thats what it was. A very intense 3 day brainwashing. They fish for what they want to hear and convince you of things that you have never thought of before. Some of it makes since I guess but most of it is completely crazy, and I feel so naive for falling for it. It makes me feel completely ignorant looking back on it.

In my opinion, Casa by the Sea is a brainwashing facility and a mirror image of a cult. I could write for days about the horrors going on in those facility's but if you haven't lived it you will never know. You'll never know whats it's like to be taken from your life against your will. To be brainwashed, stripped of your personality only to be replaced by someone that somebody created and placed in your head. To be abused mentally, emotionally, and in many cases physically. To be publicly humiliated and broken.

The horror doesn't stop there. I was pulled from the program when I was 17. When I turned 18. I knew my Mother could never send me back and I was like a loose tiger escaped from the circus. I went crazy. I dropped out of school, got in the worst fights of my life with my mother and with random people. I lived on the streets, did more drugs than ever before, and became a dancer to support my new habits. I self destructed and destroyed everything. I know everything I did was my choice. But I believe that it was a direct result of what I had gone through.

These Programs are bad for the children, in the long run, bad for the parents, and awful on society. I still don't understand why someone would pay a facility to abuse and neglect their children?

It's hard to tell you all of this. It brings up nightmares for me even now, More than 2 years later. I have a family of my own, I'm married with a beautiful baby girl. On the outside, I look fine. But I still cry in my sleep. I know that this will always haunt my life and my dreams.

However, W.W.A.S.P on the other hand thank you. You taught me many things, I appreciate you opening my eyes to the horrors that children endure, thank you for teaching me that I can trust no one. That everyone is out for themselves, and that everyone will stab you in the back sooner or later. But above all else thank you for teaching me that I can do ANYTHING if I fight hard enough. Cliche isn't it?

Casa by the sea was closed by the authorities in Mexico due to suspicion of child abuse.

Datasheet about the boarding school (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book: The Making of them

Book cover
THE MAKING OF THEM written by Nick Duffell is a book which deals with the the British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System.

The decision whether to send your children to a boarding school received new attention when articles published in major English newspapers raised the question whether the use of boarding schools is child abuse.

While this question is not answered yet, this book provide good information about how the managers though the schools should impact the children.

The book is published by Lone Arrow Press. The first edition hit the market in year 2000. It has been seen on sale to about 20 pounds.

The making of Them, Lone Arrow Press
Boarding school is a form of child abuse, says psychotherapist (by Sophie Goodchild and Sarah Rowsell, The Independent)
Does being packed off to boarding school scar children for life? (by Amanda Lynch, The Daily Mail)


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sarah's WWASP Article (From

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which is online again as All rights and credits goes to the author Sarah, who posted the original story on antiwwasp.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I spent 2.5 years at the behavior modification facility that is called Casa by the Sea. My first day was Jan 3, 1999 and I didn't get to go home until the end of May 2001.

I was so upset when I first arrived that I was unable to eat for two weeks. Finally, they had one of the male staff force feed me by holding me down and shoving food down my throat, which continued even after I vomited. I started out in the "Courage Family," which consisted of a group of girls who where there for various reasons, including drugs, sex, violence, run away, etc. As far as I could tell, all I had done was smoke cigarettes, and get bad grades. I spent about the first two months of my time in the "worksheet room" because I spoke out of turn, or didn't fall to the ground and hide my face in time when the boys passed. Apparently it is considered wrong to look at a guy, which is something that it took me a year to get over when I got out.

All schooling was self study. Most of the books were ok, but the math books really sucked. It took me like 8 months to get through one chapter of Algebra because I didn't understand the teachers' attempts to tutor me.

Every family group has a "case manager" and my first one was Imelda, who stole things that my parents sent me. At least half of the books they sent were never given to me, THREE graphing calculators were stolen. Most of my items that were confiscated from me when I got there were missing when I left, the bin that my stuff was in was somehow gone and my stuff was in a laundry basket.

I remember one day when a new girl in our family ran away, and we were forced to stand in the seminar room all day facing the wall with our noses like an inch away. I never made it to level five or six, and found it almost impossible to get to levels 3 and 4. I had to stop brushing my hair because my red hair got everywhere and I was unable to get all of it out of my brush. When I had to live in a room with a girl who had scabies is when it got really bad because I got it too and was forced to be quarantined and wear an awful smelling cream that I still have nightmares about.

I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking that we have to go outside for a headcount, and I even dream in Spanish at times.

I was once sent out to the gynecologist and was told that I had Gonorrhea, which was impossible because I was a virgin, and had never come into contact with anyone who had that, but of course I had to pay a high price for that visit. I was forced to pay with my college money for all of the school's fees, which left me nothing to go to school on. I was forced to go through seminars every month, and found that if I was unwilling to comply with the program I would never get to go home.

I was once put on what they called a "challenge" where I was not allowed to speak at all, and was only allowed to non-verbally communicate with another student and was required to do everything that she told me to do. I was told that it was for my own good.

I have so many emotional scars from my time there that I will never be able to move passed. I was constantly used as an example by the administration when we had facility meetings as what not to do, and how not to act, and what was wrong with me. I still constantly think that I can't do anything right because when I was at Casa, I never could.

My parents were so convinced that they had to keep me away from my friends that when I got out, I had to go to a different school, and was not allowed to socialize until I turned 18.

I sometimes wake up hearing the tapes on the "World's 100 Greatest People" or the "World's 100 Greatest Books" that I had to listen to for hours every day until I was able to figure out how the rules worked. They finally had to send me to "PC-1" because I had been there for so long that they were sick of dealing with me. Then a month and 1/2 later I was woken by one of the "mamas" and told that I was going on a home pass, but that I could not tell anyone. Why not? Because I was a special case, and there was more to it, I just didn't know at the time.

When I was at the airport I was given paperwork and plane tickets, in it I found a letter from my parents to the administration thanking them for letting me go through the last seminar in May so that I could come home for good.

When I arrived back at Casa for the last two weeks of my stay, I was forced to write a 5000 word essay on the importance of being obedient, because I had told my friends that I was going home. I still don't understand why I should have hidden the fact that I was going home and that I was happy about it! I needed to say goodbye to my friends and prepare them for the fact that I was leaving. I still wish that I had been able to keep in contact with some of them. We all went through so much together that we should keep in touch.

If anyone was there during the times that I was, please e-mail me at (email address). I think that the only way that we will ever be able to get over the things that happened to us is for us to talk to each other about it.

Casa by the sea was closed by the authorities in Mexico due to suspicion of child abuse.

Datasheet about the boarding school (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Solitude (from

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author, who is known to the former webmaster of

"Im awake" I say it again, but the Jamacain still slaps the corner of my bed with his hand. "get up up not going to tell you again" I murmer something under my breathe, He shoots me one last look then walks off to another room to hand out more cat 1s for not getting up in time. I look up and my 5 roomates have already begun thier morning assignments. They walk around the small room like zombies, barely awake, but somehow managing to look like thier busy for the ever attentative staff. Im not a working student so I have no responsibilities. (Nothings expected of me) I jump down from my wooden board and 4 inch futon like mattress. And I take my uniform off my shelf and unfold it and wait in line for the bathroom. The 2 infront of me yawn and strech thier muscles prepairing for the day ahaed. Its almsost my turn now, the 14 year old in the bathroom now is taking his time, as usual. I bang on the door and say "caleb, hurry the (ahem...) up" He opens the door, half dressed, and wadles out, I walk in, and step in urin on the floor. No big deal. I reach for the faucet and turn the knob, water, nothings changed since yesterday.

I change and grab my water bottle and my book. This week im reading 10,000 laegues under the sea. Although you wouldnt know it trying to read whats left of the cover (you learn quickly in TB that reading is the only escape from this miserable mind numbing repetative lifestyle we live in that 3rd world toilet.) I walk past my level 3 roomate whos busy sweeping the floor. I barely notice him, and I walk right through his pile of dust, dirt, and toe nail clippings, it doenst matter though, he see's me and doenst even give it a second look. The Hallways are busy as usual. The kids in O.P. are sleeping in the hall way, students are busy collecting brooms and mops for thier half ass future cleaning efforts, the night staff are still sitting in thier seats half way asleep infront of every room that contains "students". The day staff shift is up and already handing out categories to kids for meaningless rules such as faul language, horse playing, looking out the windows ,being slow, for not doing morning chores fast enough or good enough, etc etc etc. I walk to the door way of my room and asked the staff infront of the door permission to leave my room, the staff asks me if i finished my morning chores, and I tell him I have none, he tells me "get one" and walks away. I step out anyways and slowly walk over to an area my family has somewhat claimed in the hallways. recently Unity has been trying to "slowly push us out of our morning hallway spot", so today we agreed those who wouldnt do chores would go claim the spot for excellence before unity tries to pull that shit again.

I take 10 steps out of my room, hang a left through the staff infested hallways and Im already there. My friend Chris was already sitting down, He looked up to see who it was, He saw me and gave me a smerk, I kinda smiled back and backed myself up to a wall near him and slid down till i was sitting on the floor. I took a Sip of my warm water and opened my book. He asked me how did I like the book (he recommended it to me) I started talking about it with him as the excellence family crowded around us in "our area" and before I knew it we were already lining up. we Line up in the poorly lit hallway silently and I noticed Everyone has there baskets with them (its wednsday, washing day,..........damn) I run out of line and and into my room, (5 feet away from the line) I grab my basket full of dirty clothes and take a quick look to make sure im not forgeting anything. I walk out and my family fathers already waiting for me on the outside of the door with arms crossed. "I forgot my basket" I say in my defense. He hands me a cat sheet and tells me to fill out 3 cat 1's. (he did that just so I would have work sheets and miss P.E.) I snatched the Ridiculous pieces of paper out of his hand and walked back into line. I dont care, Im turning 18,......... soon TB will be nothhing more then a vague memory, and as I would soon find out, a constant platform for future nightmares. the staff did his head count and then waited for us all to stop swaying and stop mumbling in line before we could go anywhere. We walked downstairs and out the front door of the dorms. It was Hot, very hot. (the inside had no ac but atleast it was shaded.) We walked past the cafeteria in the blinding sun and after 2 min of stopping every 25 feet and doing head counts we reached the " shower area" every one sped walked (running is a category) to the back of the shower area to grab 2 buckets each. 1 for washing and scrubbing, the other for rinsing. Some kids have thier friends grab a bucket while the other holds an outdoor faucet for them (4 faucets 23 kids) So there is ALWAYS some sort of pushing and shoving over faucets, being next in line, and wether or not its okay to have someone save a faucet for someone know...the important things in life.

After you fill your bucket up to the top you fill your second bucket half way, (but dont dare fill your rinsing bucket up to much, for wasting water in jamaica is like breaking one of the commandments.)

After waiting 10 min in line for some water everyone then sat in a circle in the middle of the hot ass sun and scrub our clothes with our bare hands as if it was 1850. Everyone silent .....quiet, taking in the incredible heat, fighting the bugs, and scrubbing (and of course i guess a (ahem...)in brush would be to much to ask for) After washing, you hang your clothes on the wires running across the area. Then you empty out your bucket full of filthy water, and you refill that bucket, take it in the outdoor shower stalls, empty out your water bottle, and proceed to wash yourself with a bucket of water at your feet (standing on a crate to keep you elevated from all the mold and grime building up on the never Ever cleaned shower stalls) and you dump water on your head with a bottle one cup at a time. If you take more then 10 min you get a category.

Today Shane got out of O.P. (shane is 14 years old. Hes very small and picks fights with everyone, And has lost every fights hes gotten into. After 1 years he is still in a program, He is constantly pushing the staffs temper and almost always get restrained for the staff have no fear of him and since hes always in trouble, staff have the right to restrain him for anything . Everyone picks on shane, hes very annoying and watching him get restrained is actually rather entertaining considering the place your in and having him leave the family is a relief, so even the upper levels purposlly push him over the edge. (yes upper levels) (a lot of good this place does huh))

Anyways, as i showered, someone decided to throw shanes shorts in one of the shower stalls. He saw his shorts and freaked out, he began screaming and walked over to every one asking them who did it. Some other kid trying to be difficult (even though he didnt do it) he started messing with him, saying things like "i know who did it" and "Im not telling you" Basically pushing him over the edge. Shane flipped, began throwing lefts and rights, pretty soon both male staff grabbed him and trying to impress the students around them, picked the undersized kid up and carried him out of the shower area and into O.P. for immediate restraining. (some staff love to show off infront of the kids, it happens more then any of you would believe) The Family clapped and laughed as the small kid was carried away crying, kicking, and screaming.

We then Lined up in the heat and waited for the staff to take his head count, we then walked back in single line (as always) to the families rooms and put our empty baskets and shower suplies back on the 2-3 shelves we were given when we first arrived. (you only need 2 or 3 shelves, you own so few possecions) after getting 45 sec to put our stuff away, were already linging up in the hallways silently waiting for the head count. My friend infront of me looked behind me and saw me reading in line. He kinda elbowed me to warn me that im gunna get in trouble. I whipser "i dont care" the staff walks over and asks him why are we talking. After 20 seconds of explaining that he was telling me to stop reading the staff decides to give him a category and me 2 categories. (I really dont care, but my friend is trying to reach level 3 so he can hear his little brothers again.) after waiting for the staff to stop flirting with the female staff we start our descend to the bottom floor to the class rooms.......I whisper an apology to chris, he turns around, gives me a smerk, then keeps walking. Its hard to smile here.

Outside of the rooms the girls are linging up from P.E. I turn my head out of line and stare at one of the pretty girls as if I were at a buffet table. Staff see's me and yells " You boy, fill out a romantic encouragement" I laugh it off and pretend like I really care what this underpaid over worked little black man has to say to me. (thats about 3 hours in work sheets, You'd think I would have learned by still early, its only my 3rd week.)

After walking 100 yards we reach the school. Thank god. A/C! after the staff makes us stand outside till he can hear a pin drop, we we walk in, and you can actually hear each student sigh as the cold air covers thier sweaty skin. We all take our strategic assigned seats which are meant to keep the talkers away from one another and the silent type inbetween the talkers and fighters. This is our 1st trip of 5 trips to school today (just like every other (ahem...)in day) its still early, so the "teacher" hasnt arrived yet. we spend 1 hour in class, everyone who had to take a shit since early this morning or late last night now has an opportunity to use the bathroom without having to plunge it after finishing. (the classrooms have running water, unlike the dorms, shit holes, bedrooms, whatever you want to call them) For the next hour we are suppost to sit quitely and prepare for the teacher. which is ridiculous, for they might as well call it......."put your head down time" (i dont think an explanation is needed there) Its only 9, but im already starving, its been 16 hours since I last ate, and yesterdays dinner (as usual, jus didnt quiet cut it) I sat in class for an hour, stomach rumbling, begging me for food. I also put my head down, (I guess subconsiouslly trying to conserve energy or whatever little food is in my stomach.) (yesterday was sunday, we only got 2 meals!!!)

Its finally 10, we slowly walk towards the cafeteria, stopping frequentlly for he head counts. After what seemed like forever, we finally reach the cafeteria. The staff then keeps us outside till hes good and ready to let us in. The line leader stares at the staff waiting for him to command us to enter for our scheduled morning meal. we walk in (in line of course) and grab the meal that is already lined up for us. The new kid takes the plate that wanst next in line and the staff gives him a cat 3. His buddy pleads with the staff to drop the "charge" he does, and I giggle, (its tough getting used to these rules) we place our meals on the table and stand behind our chairs, we wait for the supervisor to finish her convo outside, when she walks in, she walks around, catches a few people not groomed properly (un'bottoned button or shirt sticking out. etc) after 45 sec of walking around she says "sit" and we all sit down and dig in. This lovely morning we are having a small handful of cooked cabage, even less ground up very uncooked meat, and 3 pieces of white bread.

I dont care, if u placed cooked cat infornt of me i would have finished it all by myself. (probably would have tasted better too...) Compared to the fish or the soup, or some of the other meats, the guwy cabage is actually a treat. Its been 4 min since we walked in, and the kitchen cook/chef/janitor/staff/gardner places the tape in the radio and as we eat silently we listen to the same exact tape we heard yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and the day before that. (welcome to beautiful Tranquility Bay!)

I finish my meal and Im alreday looking at others plates who either cant eat the ground up meat or wont touch it, and then try and trade my nasty ass powdered milk for there food. (its against the rules to trade or give food, they would rather you throw out food before you give it to another hungry child) (thats the mentallity in TB)

Micah still wont eat, hes lost 50 lbs since he first got here, but hes also got a few std's from one of his mothers pimps, so they blame his wait loss on his desease. Micah starts picking up plates and brings me his and I quickly devour what he wouldnt or what he says "physically cant eat" Staff dont care, eaiting disorders is beyond thier basic knowledge of handing out categories and holdding thier crotch when they talk. (okay not all of them, but most......)

After BF we go to the dorms (single file line, I know I keeps saying it, but its all the time, they treat us like ignorant sheep in that place......the scary part is, u get used to it,........all of it)

We walk to the dorms and take off our sandals outside of the room in the hallway. We walk in and the staff hands the upper level some random book that hes suppost to choose words out of for fellow students to spell. But is actually more like an opportunity for the student tester to find words that insult or offend the perticular student and then have them spell it. Staff know it, they do....they dont care.......

So after 30 min of “Jonathan, spell fagot"......."Im not gunna spell that"....."Spell it or I tell father"....."F-a-g-o-t"......"thats right Johnathan, your a f-a-g-o-t"

We line up...(again) and wait (again) we walk downstairs and go back to school. The teachers thier now, so no more relaxing. Now youve actually got to put some effort into looking busy. The so called teacher doesnt teach, she hands out precopied test, then checks them with test answers she got form the states (I know she couldnt properly check 1 test without it) I dont do school work, Ive flat out refused (but I'll leave my own reasons and explanations for later) (in a few simple words though......I will not allow them to manipulate me or much none the less change me as a person, I like who I am.......and thats that.)

After half an hour of sitting quietly and writing letters to people who will never get them, nature calls. So I raise my hand and wait till the staff is "good and ready" I apporach the desk that all the staff sit around and eat shit at. (eat shit as in do nothing) I say " can I have toilet paper for the bathroom" the staff trying to be funny for his buddies says "what for?" and smiles.I wanted to say something back or do something, But in TB physical force accomplishes nothing. so I just walk away. Which really offended him. Which will and does come back to haunt me, but its hard to take shit from people who are purposlly trying to be disrespectful.

I then raise my hand and ask another staff, and he sends me back to the other staff, (just my luck) I come back to the same staff and ask the same question. He looks at me, unrolls the TP they keep locked up like a fire arm, as he hands it to me he tells me "no jacking off in the bathroom" but he says it loud enough for half the class to hear. what get used to it......(sadly)

Class is over and in single file line we go back to the shower area to collect our clothes and fold them up. after 15 min of folding in the heat chris comes up to me and tells me that travis stole my sun block. (im not pist though, Im not mad at him, even though hes a thief, Im not mad at the staff who disrespects me, im mad at this place, I hate this place, I hate what it does to people, I hate how it makes you feel about life, I hate how they manipulate you, I hate what they get away with, and even worse, I hate the fact that im scheduled to be here till im 1 (deep down I dont know how much longer I can take being held opressed, poorly treated, poorly fed, etc etc. Not even the kid who stole my sun block deserves this)

Now about my freaking sun block. I find travis puttin his clothes away on his shelf, and ask him for my sun block, He tells me he doesnt know what Im talking about. (i cant believe this kids lying to my face) I quickly reach in his basket, pull out my sun block and hold it infront of his face. He actually laughs, then asks me not to tell.......I didnt answer, I walk away.....I get inline and close my eyes. I picture my friends and what there probably doing right now, I think of my father and my pets, I think of the beatiful miami beaches, I think of the park near my house and the kids playing on the swings, I think of the times Ive hung out with my friends laughing and playing around..."Stop your day dreaming boy!....hurry up..."

I catch up with the line, thier walking towards P.E. the same disrespectful staff walks up to me and tells me I have worksheets to serve. I walk into the room with 5 other kids from my family who have all been caught for some ridiculous rule they broke. We sit in the hot room, wondows closed, doors closed. (they d that on purpose) The jamaican heat has no where to go. The staff tells us the rules of the of the TB handbook "no laughing, no tlkaing, no standing, no picking at your fingers, no calling out answers, feet together at all times, no looking around the room." He continues speaking, he puts the tape in. Each tape is 15 min long there are 30 questions hidden in each tape. Most of the kids in thier are work sheet regulars. Some of the kids even quietly say the tape word for word to themselves.... To my left is this kid with a feminen name (constantly gets made fun of) he sat there, didnt do one tape the entire time, but instead slowly pulled hairs out of his legs. 1 by 1 he found a hair on his leg and pulled it out. (i never understood why he was doing it, but when he saw me looking at him, he stopped)

After 3 tapes I was done, and I was sent back to my family which were at P.E. I was escorted to my family, I ran over to chris who was playing football on the concrete with a few others. I joined in, probably the highlight of my day, maybe my week.......all of my days in TB are jus one big miserable blur anyways.

After P.E. we lined up and were taken by the family fathers to the shower area, were we showered and got dressed. We went through the routine without flaw, 6 take a shower, when they finish 6 more, when they finish 6 more until we were all done. We lined up in the blazing sun, waited for staff and were soon on our way to Lunch. We left our water bottles outside and stepped into the dry smelly cafeteria. The tape was already playing, we walked in, single file, grabbed our lunch and waited for the supervisor, she looked around, bitched about a few things, and then gave the okay. We sat down quietly, (made sure we lifted our chairs as we pulled them out from beneath the tables.) Today we are having 2 peieces of white bread and ground up meat that if spread around, barely covered one full side of the bread, and 4 crackers. It didnt matter though, The meats disgusting, and in my opnion, uneatable, so I traded it last week for a dinner role to a level 3. I nibbled my crackers 1 by 1 trying not to let 1 of my taste buds go uncovered. And just as quickly as lunch came, it was over, and just as hungry as I was this morning, just as hungry as I am now.

We walked upstairs, (single telling you......the lines never end in TB) We stand infront of the dorm room we spend most of our "waiting time and family rep time" in. We wait for staffs approval, then we take off our sandlas (no shoes...easier to run away with in) we then walk into the room and sit down and wait for the family representative. (Now I dont exactly rmember what happened this day with the family rep. So let me Throw some information out about this whole family representative thing instead)

For those who dont know, Each family has 1 family Rep, you spend 1 hour a day with your family rep as a group. You sit inside your room, when she walks in, everyone stands up together and says "Good afternnon mrs blah blah blah" the family rep then sits down, opens her notebook and begins her "thrashing" You see, your family rep is your only commmunication between you and your family, your family rep speaks with the students mother and father once a week and updates them on your situation. Your family rep has ultimate power over you and your situation at TB. If your Family Rep doenst like you, you will spend much much more time in TB then you should have if she liked you. She decides when its time for you to go home, she decides if you go to pc1, pc2, or pc3. She decides if you move up a level, she decides. Your life is in the hands of this woman, and you are wrong if you dont think tyranny is not a problem with them. They are cocky, and rather ruthless, they call you out, and make you spill embarresing information, or its time in O.P. on your face. About 4 people every day get to speak with her in group, she makes you stand up, and then asks you extremely personal questions infront of everyone else. and then, after all that, she has these kids get up and tell you what they think about your situation and tell you what they think you should do. But its not like that, these "responses" from other students are mean vicous attacks on one another, where helpful info isnt given, but chances to throw your mistakes in your face and then give in a few cheap shots were insults are thrown at you and you cannot respond. And the worst thing about all of this, is that the family rep is okay with this, okay with this horrible things these kids say about your family and the person you are, and no...this is not constructive criticism, it is destructive and very hurtful when you bear your sole and deepest secrets to your friends and enemies then have it thrown back in your face. In other programs your family therapist gives you her opnions on your actions and then reports them back to your parents, But, it is controlled and mediated by a proffesional therapist. Not in TB, these woman (there are no male family reps as far as I know) are not qualified to be a family therapist much none the less take on the responsibility of both therapist and family Rep. They have not earned the right to control the lives of 30 kids.

When the embaressment is over you make your way with your family back to school. On our way to school, the girls were on thier way to the library, and since the boys cant SEE the girls they made us walk around the back of the facility. The next 2 hours were spent in class, nothing really unexcpected happened. Which really sucked, for at TB you live for the unexpected, everything is the exact same, everything, nothing changes, the poeple, the food, the treatment, the hunger, the staff stealing shoes and clothes, the little medical attention, the water shortage, the electrical outages, the disrespect, the constant misery that seems to shroud this place, everything is planned out and the exact same thing happens ever single day, which is why little things like kids getting restrained are highlights of peoples weeks. After The last School trip with a teacher in the class room (which means nothing more then the chance to take test, thats all teachers do, they dont tutor, parents must pay for that seperately) We make our way to the dorms. its about 5 pm now and were suppost to be in the dorms doing somehting called "kareoke" but we have no radio, no koreoke machine, and were not allowed to its just something they put in the schedule to make TB seem like its something that its not.

Anyways, this hour before lunch is spent doing 1 of 2 things, (depending on how lenient the staff is) either sitting quietly reading or holding a "family group" which consist of a person at a time telling "war stories" about there past, such as the different drugs they've tried, the different girls they've been with, the unlawful things thy've done etc. etc. In other facilities this is deeply frowned upon, and can even get you sent to O.P. but not in T.B. alote of staff dont care what your doing unless thiers another strict staff around or a supervisor on shift near by. So basically you walk into TB knowing how to smoke weed, and leave with a wide knowledge of heroin, shrooms, coke, and even peyote. (maybe once a week do you get a chance as a group to talk shit about your past)

When dinner time comes around we line up, and are escorted to the cafeteria and fed whatever small amount of food is on the list. If its meat, its full of fat bones and is never enough. If its bread, its hard and old. If its fish, its just outright nasty. And no matter what it is always cold.

Today we had cold soup, which is basically a mix of the past 2 dinners. I never eat the soup, My stomach couldnt handle it. I always gagged after eating I kinda learned my listen the second time.

Twice a month you get to see your therapist. I was escorted to my therpist who sits in a nice office, with a/c a tv and all of these american food and condaments that are like gold in TB trading. He sat me down and started to ask me about my family, I told him I was waiting till i was 18 and that I wasnt going to work no matter what. He somewhat agreed with me, (he certainly didnt argue with me) and asked me if i could help him with some of his paper work, I spent the next 30 min matching up names with groups and times, (basically scheduling his next 30 appointments) (It turns out my mother paid 75 dollars for those meetings.)

You gatta love this place.........

The next few hours are spent in school writing home, its a rather depressing couple of hours. (then again what isnt depressing at TB) everyones real quiet, there all huddled over thier desk writing home, some crying, others mad, some wont write home, some just dont care. Everyones caught up in thier own situation, Everyones....trying to go home.

Its now 9 pm, everyones tired from the day, the day staff leave, and the night staff get settled in thier respective chairs infront of everyones room. Some kids are getting ready for tomorrow, others dont wanna even wake up from thier sleep tonight, The kids in O.P. are getting restrained. shanes in O.P. so no one will get any sleep tonight, hes gunna be restrained until his little body cant take any more bruises. Todays over, and tommorows a new day, but tomrow you dont go home, tomorrow you dont drive your car to work, you dont go to the store or handle currency, you dont get to say goodnight to your family or friends. Tomorrows just 10 hours away, and in 10 hours, you do the exact same thing over again. Tommorow exactly the same, nothing changes, You stand in line al day, you take shit from your peers, you get disrespected by staff, you starve all day and go to sleep hungry, and then it starts all over again and the same thing after that, and the same thing the next day.

If your reading this, Youve just spent 1 hour in the life of a Tranquility Bay prisoner, 60 imagine a whole day of this bullshit, now picture a week of this slow misery, now imagine a month of this or a even year! or for many kids, a few years........ everyone makes mistakes, but, no one deserves this treatment.
Everybody needs help at one time or another........this....... isnt help.........

Datasheet about the boarding school from Secret Prisons for Teens
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book: Freddie Girl

Book Cover
We recently learned about a book called Freddie Girl written by Nona David, which is published by Bernard Books Publishing.

While the concept of sending children from the western world to boarding schools in Africa sounds odd, it has been tried.

The documentary "The boys from Baraka" the viewers could follow some U.S. high school students through their journey to Kenya.

An article in a newspaper from the United Kingdom told a story about a number of English students, who were shipped to Nigeria where corporal punishment is still allowed so they could get spanked into submission.

Novels - Bernard Books Publishing
Homepage of the documentary
African cane tames unruly British pupils (Sunday Times, London, 4 November 2007)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sandy at Ivy Ridge (From

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author Sandy, who posted the original story on

In November of 2003 i was admitted to Academy at Ivy Ridge.

My parents said i was going to boarding school and kinda tricked me into going. After arriving there the problems i had just grew bigger.. I became depressed and didnt feel like i had a reason to live anymore, in my mind i felt like my own parents had turned thier back on me without even realizing where they put me..

Everyday I wished they could spend just a minute in my shoes n they too would realize this isnt the place for me or any child for that matter. the staff there would taunt the kids. Showing them what they couldnt have..

During that time I became suicidal i started cutting myself to escape my emotions one day I couldnt take it anymore n i overdosed on my facial wash which was the only thing i could get my hands on after that i went to the emergency room and ended up in a psychiatric hospital..

You would think that didnt help any but being there was like heaven to me, people there actually listened to your problems and talked to you like a human being. Once discharged from the hospital my mom picked me up and I went home..

But it wasnt over then my life had turned black. I resented my parents for what they put me through and worst of all that wasn't the last time I had tried harming myself, even after leaving Ivy Ridge i had nightmares of waking up there again.

I ended up in the hospital 4 times after leaving ivy ridge the doctors diagnosed me with manic depression and now im sitting here writing this to all the parents who want to send their children to any of the WWASP programs. If you think your doin the right thing by sending your child away think twice. thank you so much for everyone reading this.

Academy at Ivy Ridge closed in 2009. The Campus was sold twice. Some years earlier they were involved in a case where the state of New York fined them because they issued high school diplomas which were not of a standard the state demanded.

Datasheet about the boarding school (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)

Tranquility Bay Experience (from

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author, who is known to the former webmaster of

It was late, at least 3 in the morning. Everyone was still awake and I heard them talking about people arriving soon. With that I looked out my window to see a taxi pulling into the parking lot, leaving its mark in the uniformly white snow.¨I watched it as it slowly crept by each building, only stopping when it found its target. Both passenger doors opened up and two large men stepped out. They surveyed the building for a second, glanced at each other, and started walking towards my building and out of site. My heart started racing as I awaited the now inevitable. I would have to play along with whatever I was dealt with. I could handle it, its just rehab right? I walked out to the living room where my family seemed to realize the two men were on their way up. My mom couldn’t look at me, seemingly on the verge of tears. Then the knock came. A flurry of nervous activity erupted, as nobody seemed to know how to act at the moment.

My grandfather opened the door, and the men asked him where I was. Two very large Jamaican men, representing themselves as private detectives from Miami, came straight over to me. I was put in handcuffs, and they asked my family if they wanted to say their goodbyes. My brother came up to me again and gave me a hug, as did my father. My mother was sobbing at this point, and kept telling me she didn’t know they were going to handcuff me. I reassured her, contrary to all my feelings surrounding the day; a son does not look at his crying mother with any satisfaction, even if he was cursing her just moments before. At least I didn’t think so then.

The goodbyes were said, and the men grabbed me by both arms and escorted me to the waiting taxi. My father, brother and grandfather followed. I was put into the back seat with the larger of the two men. I glanced over as the driver shifted into drive. The image I saw has never left my mind. My grandfather in his trench coat and fedora stood in the middle of my father and brother. They were side by side staring at the cab, the snow gently easing its way down flake by flake. I focused on a single snowflake, drifting from above the streetlamp, meandering down through the orange hue, and finally coming to rest at my grandfather’s feet; no more an individual, just a single color spread as far as I could see.

We arrived at the airport. I had learned, during the trip, that I was being sent to a program located in Jamaica and would probably be there for a couple weeks if I “worked” the program. I was taken aback by the location, but two weeks didn’t seem too bad at all. A trip to Jamaica, I was sure this was going to be interesting. The handcuffs did concern me, though I brushed it off as a precautionary measure. And besides, what a badass I must have looked like getting escorted through airports in handcuffs. I even gave some nasty glances to older ladies staring curiously at the blond hair blue eyed boy sandwiched between two large Jamaican men.

First we flew to Atlanta and then onto Montego Bay, Jamaica. As we got off the plane, Jamaican women lined up in the aisle that led to the lobby, singing native songs and shaking everything they had for the tourists who were at the heart of the country’s economy. I almost felt like I was cheating, not intending to spend a dime there, and yet getting a free show anyway. Oh well, it wasn’t my choice, but my mood was elevated by the women, and the temperature too. It was a hundred degree difference from my city, and in February that made me pretty damn happy.

We were met by a driver from Tranquility Bay, the program I was headed to. We exchanged pleasantries, and in my naivety I thought this could actually be fun. Everything so far indicated that it could be alright. Well everything except the handcuffs. But I knew my mom, and she would never put me in harms way; there was nothing to worry about.

The drive to Tranquility Bay was amazing. We drove through the heart of Jamaica’s jungles and hills. People lined the roads in certain parts, barbequing and smoking what I could have sworn were large spliffs. The driver instilled visions of Grace Kelly’s final minutes as he darted around slow moving trucks while turning a corner or speeding 50 mph on a road no larger than a car and a half. It was exhilarating though; knowing that despite the normalcy of the grass, the familiarity of the sky, and the common traits of the people here compared to people I knew at home, I was actually in the middle of Jamaica’s jungles. A place you heard stoners idolize, a Rastafarian hideaway, the heart of the Caribbean.

A sudden realization of my situation was brought about as we entered the Tranquility Bay compound. There were lines of American boys, all dressed in brown shirts and khaki shorts, nobody moving a muscle and all looking straight ahead. Every single head was shaved down to a stubble. Behind them was a clothes line that had more of the shirts and khakis, hanging lifeless while they gestated to their owner’s desired form. Thick, boisterous Jamaican accents directing the boys into their proper positions echoed in my mind as I surveyed the rest of my new home.

Barbed wire surrounded a two story whitewashed building which comprised the majority of the area. The upper level was used as sleeping quarters, and the bottom as the administrative area with a cafeteria and bathrooms attached. Behind the building I noticed more boys; they were lined up side by side in their swimming trunks while a Jamaican staff member tested the pressure of water pouring out a hose. He then turned to the guys lined up and started spraying them down. Most of them jumped as the cold water jolted their senses awake, and then squirmed as the staff member held the water on each one for a minute as they used their soap to wash off. The only voices I heard, though, were those of the Jamaicans. No verbal protest from the cold shower just administered, no adolescent jabbing as the boys stood around doing nothing but what they were told. This was what I had to look forward to.

It was a numbness that the boys were feeling; something I can only imagine is referred to in military personnel’s infamous “thousand yard stare.” A hopeless state that you become resigned to amidst confusion, pain and practice. And as soon as I realized this, I too was immersed in the anxiety and nervousness that seemed to prelude the absence of it all.

That was the life at Tranquility Bay, as I came to understand it; a complete separation from everything and everyone you ever knew. I could go on to describe the individual activities that we participated in everyday, or the abuse that was rampant throughout the facility, or the food that was so sparse; however a much simpler explanation is what there wasn’t. There were no calls home, no objections, no talking, no hot showers, no sugar, no shoes, no hair; there was nothing except you and your consequences; consequences seen and heard nearly everyday. From trying to fall asleep while listening to a 15 year old kid thrown to the ground off his bunk bed, and then dragged out into the hallway and beat for 30 minutes; to being forced to lay absolutely rigid, face first on the ground for a solid week, under the threat of physical punishment if refused.

For the first few weeks I told myself that as soon as a letter got home, I would be taken out. My mother would never approve of a place that treated kids this way. You can only hold on to hope for so long though. Other guys had been in for two years or more, and they all knew what was happening. The parents, families and authorities were all told that we were “manipulating” them. Every time a kid would get out and talk about what happened, or write home with the nasty accounts of the week, the program would counter with their one and only excuse, that kids are manipulative. And it worked. I only received two letters back, and they were not empathetic to the situation. Nothing I could say or write would ever change the stigma attached to a “troubled youth.” Hope, it seemed, was for another time and place. With little choice, I continued the daily routines, and delved deeper into my own void.

Every single day mimicked the last. Every single back of a shaved head looked the same. Every foot was in step while our lines walked; every mouth was shut. And the daily screams were just as desperate as yesterday’s. Hours turned into days and days into weeks.

I turned 18 in July, and demanded that I be let go. I was threatened with only receiving 20 dollars and a plane ticket to Miami if I did not stay and complete the program. So I made a deal to be transferred to a program in Montana that was alleged to not be as harsh. I was supposed to complete the program while in Montana. Two more months of the same numbness though, convinced me to leave the program no matter where they left me.

I was driven to Thompson Falls, Montana where I was given 50 dollars and a train ticket to Seattle. There I was, standing outside a small train station in the middle of Montana, in the dead of night. I stood there, as if I was still standing in line listening to orders barked down at me, but with a sliver of anticipation growing. Anticipation? It was alien to me at that point. It almost felt as if I was scared. Maybe I was scared. In 7 months I went from just another kid about to graduate high school, to a person who doesn’t even know his own feelings. My family had disappeared, my personality was dormant, and all that was left was the train to a city I didn’t know and the odd feeling of anticipation.

In reality, I learned a great deal from my experiences. People, places, and languages, that I had never known, demanded my attention. An understanding of how to internalize and introspect was gained. And I’ve heard that whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you tougher. I didn’t turn out the way the program or my family envisioned I would. It was hard going to a city I had never been to before, and trying to figure out how to get started again. I got into some trouble here and there, but I kept the lessons I learned with me. Life wasn’t as hard anymore; situations could be put into perspective. I had learned about life’s bottom, or near to it, and I looked forward to the rise up.

Datasheet about the boarding school (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
The original story (Cached version of - may take a while to load)
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