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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