Sunday, September 29, 2013

greenpea at CEDU High School (From:HEAL-online)

This testimony was made on the survivor message board belonging to the human rights organization HEAL-online. All rights belongs to the original author.

I went to Cedu High School which is owned by the Brown schools.

Most of it is a blur, but I do remember that I experienced a lot of terror. Since my experience there I have nightmares every night involving the school in some way, and wake up with anxiety accompanied by sweats and a fast heart rate.

I recall that while I was at the school I was on a heavy sedative called Remeron for depression, anxiety, and a sleep disorder. It was prescribed to me by a psychiatrist before I went to Cedu, and it made it almost impossible for me to get out of bed in the morning. Our dorms had no air conditioning, even though all of our parents were paying $10,000 a month for us to be there.

The only way they dealt with us was through discipline and scare tactics. I had fallen asleep without a shirt on one night because it was so hot in our dorms. Before the alarms went off to wake us up, one of the upper class students came into my room and pulled the covers off me. She yelled at me "get the f*ck out of bed!" She pulled me out of my bed and threw me in the bathroom and told me to do my morning chores. I did so, in a half asleep state because of my medication, without a shirt on until the girl gave me permission to get dressed. She had been given free reign to do this to me by a counselor, and she did without supervision. This type of humiliation was normal, and went unnoticed.

The fact that I was on a sedating drug wasn't taken into account. The brilliance of their methods was that they turned the other students against you, and promoted their (other students') mean spiritedness to get across the school's message.

When I was caught for kissing a boy later, I was told that I was a "sexual predator" and put on a restriction where there was no singing, smiling, laughing, touching, or talking. It was called a "full time". They pulled me out of my schooling and put me on a "stump". This meant that I was left in the middle of nowhere with a shovel and a small saw to dig a tree stump out of the ground.

There was no staff around to make sure I was alright, and I was forbidden to talk to anyone. Like I said before, no singing, smiling, laughing, touching or talking. The phrase was spoken to me so many times I still have it memorized, 6 years later. This was in the 100 degree weather. I had to wear steal toed work boots, jeans, and a collared shirt. At night time I ate alone and had to write in a restriction booklet.

They would give me assignments and pushed "issues". If your mother was dead, they'd make you write about that. If you had a mental illness they'd make you write about that. For me, considering that I was a christian, they made me write about "how I hide behind God". You couldn't say "I don't hide behind God" or anything like that. You had to submit to the idea given, or you would never get off your full time.

They challenged me on everything. After dinner I was assigned "pots and Pans", which meant I had to scrub the pots and pans that the cooks used to make the entire school's meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By myself I did this, for about a month.

Eventually I was pulled out of the program early by my parents, but the most sickening part about it is that they don't want to talk about it. It took me until this year (6 years) to get them to listen to what they had put me through. Leaving Cedu was terrible. I feel like I left a piece of myself there.

Their policy was to break down the student and then build them back with discipline. But my experience was cut short, and I only progressed through the breaking down process. I left Cedu feeling like I was a nothing. I was unable to make friends and relate to the people at my school.

My parents put me back into public schooling the next day. I remain bitter about the whole thing. The moral of the story is to not send your kids to these places.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

OM at Carolina Springs Academy and Tranquility Bay

This testimony was published in the WWASP survivors group on Facebook by OM who maintains all rights to this testimony.

I am really glad i found this group. I was at CSA (Carolina Springs Academy) for 8 months. I was taken by escorts the day after my 15th birthday.

I made it to level 3 then ran away. I got 5 miles away and then they found me. My mom told them to send me to Tranquility Bay in Jamaica.

Tranquility Bay was very dirty. I didnt want to eat the food there so they sent me to OP where we were kept in tiny rooms. We were only allowed to lay on mats on the floor, the floor was covered in ants. We were not allowed to sit up except for during meals, and if we spoke out of turn they would get violent.

I was restrained by the staff several times for practically no reason. They would grind my face into the hard floor, twist my arms around and crush them on the floor with their knees, and they poked their elbows into the backs of my knees and ground those into the floor also. The more you screamed the more they would hurt you. The guys and girls were separated, but i could hear screams of terror and pain coming from the boys section.

The day came when they took us to get out passports. I had only been there a few weeks but I looked emaciated with dark circles under my eyes, I didnt look like the same person. several other girls and I were taken to the american embassy to get out passports. I refused to sign my passport, I did not want to be in jamaica. I requested to talk to someone from the american embassy. they let me talk to a lady. I showed her my bruises and told her the horror stories. she informed me that they had heard many stories like mine and they had unsuccessfully been trying to close the place down. She said child protection laws were different in jamaica. I gave the lady my moms phone number, and told her to tell her what was going on.

When we got back to the facility they put me in isolation. The only reason they did that was because i hadnt signed my passport. I was in isolation for two weeks. Didn't get to talk to a single person during that time. I was just laying on a mat on the floor trying to keep my mind entertained. I would visualize my home and all the good memories I could remember, I would picture every place I had lived and every memory there to try and pass the time. After a while I felt crazy and began to hallucinate and see faces in the walls. After 2 weeks of isolation they moved me back to OP.

I was in Jamaica for about two months, in the program a total of nearly 11 moths. My mom was schocked by what the embassy told her and arranged for me to come home. My mom didn't recognize me when she saw me again. I was too skinny and sick looking, my skin was bad from their nasty cheap soap, My hair was like straw, and my nose would bleed every time i tried to eat. I was so happy to be free. correctional school was one of the worst experiences of my life.

Sometimes it feels like there aren't many people who understand what we went through. thanks for reading my story, I would love to be friends with people who have been through similar experiences. Even though its been 7 years it still haunts me.

Carolina Springs Academy was closed due to stricter regulation of the boarding school business in South Carolina. After the closure dead animals was found on the former campus due to possible neglect. Tranquility Bay closed down after introduction of stricter passport rules which prevented minors from being sent out of state without a valid passport.

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