Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cborgeson at Mounth Bachelor Academy

This testimony was found as a comment to an article about the closure of the School. All rights go the original author known as Cborgeson

I also went to this school from June 2001-August 2002. While there were many great people who worked for this school, I can honestly say that none of the allegations are false…

I too had to take part in these “Lifesteps,” and was forced to watch some of my best friends be made to do strip teases in the infamous “french maid costume”, while the staff had all the other students yelling out derogatory comments… while the school has helped many children, at the same time, they also gave them plenty more complexes to worry about after the program. I can admit to being a difficult child, however, it does not warrant the different “methods” they use to “fix” problematic children, or at least this is what they lead the parents to believe. I’ve had this conversation with my own parents thousands of times, who sit there and claim that it saved my life… in some ways it did, in others, NOT SO MUCH-considering that I ended up in another program less than a year later.

The thing that saved my life, was maturity… not always doing everything that I feel like doing. staying out of trouble… turning 18 definitely saved my life. the one thing I took away from that experience was that I am not a VICTIM. I’m a SURVIVOR. They couldn’t take my spunk, passion for life, nor my dignity… no matter how hard they tried… I don’t know how to feel really, but I think that a temporary closure is at the very LEAST a step in the right direction.

The school closed in 2009 then the authorities intervened


Sunday, November 15, 2015

MM32 at the Monarch boarding school in Montana

This testimony was found on Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora. All rights goes to the author MM32, who made the original testimony

I attended the Monarch School in Montana (not Monarch "Academy," btw) from June 2009 to December 2010. I graduated the therapeutic program and came home with a few credits left to be able to complete high school. I've had about a year and a half to reflect back on my experience and I will say this: While I think some parts of Monarch are well-intentioned, I believe that it harms more students than it helps.

The therapy workshops, called "insights," are modeled after similar workshops seen at CEDU and the likes. (Do a google search for CEDU if you're interested in reading some scary stuff about places like this). There are 7 or 8 workshops I believe, most last a day long and consist of very strange therapy exercises. This includes screaming in a partner's face while pretending like they are your parents, getting on your hands and knees and being pushed down to the floor by a staff member and other students while you are supposed to resist, going around in a circle and telling your peers every bad thing you've ever said or thought about them, screaming while beating up pillows, standing up against a wall with your nose touching the wall for a long time while being told that the choices you make are leading you to "fear and death," etc. That list just a tip of the iceberg. These workshops were filled with all sorts of mind games as well as some seriously inappropriate breaching of boundaries, both physical and emotional. Not to mention students who had experience trauma (rape, abuse, etc.) were forced to talk about it with their peers within the first 2 months of being there, when they were still getting to know people, and with no licensed therapist present. In the very last workshop, an intense 5-day one, they had strict rules about not being able to bite your nails, sitting in a certain way, not masturbating when we got back into our dorms at night, etc. If you did any of these things, you had to stand up in front of everyone and admit it. It was very invasive.

On top of that, we were constantly told that if we talked about these workshops with anyone else who hadn't been through them -- newer students, random people, and even our PARENTS -- that there would be consequences.

The rules were over the top too. The dress code was very strict. There was the "only girl rule," which meant that a girl couldn't be sitting at a table with two other boys, but a boy could be in a group of all girls if he wanted. On one hand, physical contact with the opposite sex other than hugging was VERY against the rules, but people of the same sex were pressured into "smushing," which was their word for cuddling (putting a pillow between your open legs and letting a girl lie down on it, etc.). If you didn't smush with people, you would be seen as "resistant." If you developed a crush on a student and other people noticed, you were forced to talk about it in group therapy, where you would have to explain your entire sexual past to that person in front of everyone else, and then you were temporarily placed on "bans" with them, which meant you weren't allowed to talk to them, touch their belongings, mention their name, or even make eye contact with them. Bans were a specific punishment for other offenses as well.

We weren't allowed to listen to any music that the staff didn't like, watch TV, read the newspaper, watch the news, go on the internet unless for academic reasons and supervised, talk about popular culture, watch romance movies, pass notes, crack too many jokes, have a strand of hair in your face (for girls), have unmatching socks on, read comics, read any magazines other than sewing magazines, and use sarcasm, among other things. The rules were very invasive and included strange things like not being allowed to shave pubic hair. Students would get in trouble for things like drinking out of the same cup as a member of the opposite sex. Punishments included being on bans from the entire school (including not being able to look at anyone), being put in isolation (basically sitting at a table with just a notebook and not being able to participate in daily activities), work assignments (which included getting a meal taken away on certain days so you had more time to do physical labor outside), digging stumps out of the ground even if it was raining or snowing, etc.

Staff crossed many boundaries as well. Students were encouraged to share disclosures, which basically was a list of every "bad" thing they had ever done, and staff would do the same. This included sexual disclosures, so I ended up hearing graphic details of staff members sexual pasts during workshops. Staff members would also be physically affectionate with the students (i.e. "smushing"), give them back rubs, and knew every detail of your life and thoughts.

2013 the school became the center of the Free Madi campaign


Sunday, November 1, 2015

A testimony from an unknown CEDU like boarding school

This testimony was found on Reddit. All rights goes to the unknown author only known as "Survivor". Located in Idaho the school seemed to use methods as they were used by the now defunct CEDU-chain which closed after some lawsuits.

Using a throwaway here, since my other account links to my real identity. I went to one of these schools back in the 90's. I was one of a handful of kids that survived one of these "schools".

At the time, I was 16 years old, and had never done drugs or drank alcohol. I was one of the only Jewish kids that went to an Episcopal school in South and was kind of a late bloomer. At 16, I looked more like I was 14 and was about 5'6 120lbs. I spent a lot of time playing video games. Specifically, Gemstone and Ultimate Online. After my parents divorced I skipped a week of school.

Around 5:00am, I woke up to see to shadowy figures on either side of my bed. Without my contacts, I couldn't see very well. One of the guys said "Your coming with us". I was so panicked that I didn't even reach for my camping knife which was in one of the drawers, adjacent to my bed. The two men grabbed me when I was wearing nothing but my boxers and I hit one of them in the nose.

I was fighting for my life and it took both of them about 20 minutes to get me upstairs which was about 30 feet away. At that point, I saw my mom and my dad and they said these guys were taking me to a new school. The "escorts" as they were called threw me into their rented car and I quickly locked all the doors before they could get in. Much to my surprise, these guys had left the keys in the car. I turned the keys and the car started. Although I couldn't see anything, I started to back the car up and turn it around.

Moments later, glass shattered all around me. One of the guys pulled me out of the car and I landed in the broken glass, cutting my legs, arms, and feet. The escorts returned with some of my clothes and dressed me. Little did I know, the nightmare had only begun. After I was handcuffed and taken to the airport, these guys returned their damaged car which someone had "broken in". I yelled for help at the airport, but my cries were ignored.

Physically and emotionally exhausted, I passed out on the airplane and woke up in Idaho of all places. I was driven to the northern part of the panhandle where I arrived at my new "school". Upon arrival, I was ordered to strip down to my boxers which I initially refused. After my clothes were removed, the staff member saw the cuts all over my body. He asked if I cut myself. At that point, I told him that the escorts had pulled me out of a window.

I refused to go with him to the dorm and asked to call my parents. He refused my request and about 4 hours later I was taken to a mental hospital where I stayed for 3 weeks under the "care" of a psychiatrist who oversaw all the "patients" at the "school" I was it. Rumor has it that this guy saw over 400 patients at a time. Some of the people at the hospital were bipolar or had other mental illlnesses. Others, like myself, had merely been uncooperative with the program.

In reality, I got the better of it. The other alternative was a 6 - 8 week bootcamp called Ascent, where students were forced to march through the wilderness, dig holes, and move heavy rocks from place to place all the while staff screamed at them and told them they were worthless. One person at a similar wilderness program was attacked by a bear.

When I finally arrived at the school, my clothes were taken away and as part of the program, I had to purchase wrangler jeans, and plane t-shirts. I had a patagonia fleece and they cut off the logo. I was put into a "peer group" and a "team". I would go through "prophets" with the peer group, one every couple of months. These basically involved telling a bunch of people who were either ex drug addicts, admitted child molesters, or mormons who thought they were doing you a favor all the stuff that was messed up about your life. There were weekly or biweekly "rap" sessions where these students and staff would scream at each other at the top of their lungs.
Most students went along with the program, but I refused to yell as the entire thing seemed insane to me. My privilege of clothes were taken away and I was forced to wear a jumpsuit, similar to what an auto mechanic wears. Kids who lost their clothing privilege were required to wear a jumpsuit even if it was sweltering outside.
The staff at this place was a medley of misfits although there were one or two normal folks who were just kind of out of place. Many of the staff were in their early 20's and were Mormons. One guy had tried to kill himself with a shotgun and had actually confessed to molesting children in the past. Other people were ex drug addicts or dealers. About 50% of the staff there didn't even have a college education and nearly everyone was unqualified to deal with kids, many of whom had serious problems.
Why were my parents cool with this? They didn't have a fucking clue. The staff would read all the mail that I sent out and if they didn't like what I wrote, they wouldn't send the mail. Also, I had no contact with my closest friends from back home. The staff withheld all letters from them. What about talking on the phone? My parents spoke with a "counselor" from the school once a week and spoke with me once every 2 weeks for 10-15 minutes. If I said anything that the staff didn't like, they would hang up the phone and simply tell my parents that I was trying to manipulate them.

I didn't leave the campus for a over a year. It was 7 miles to the nearest town and residents were finanically rewarded if they caught students. As a student, you weren't allowed to have any cash on you, which made it more difficult to escape. I started hiding small change and training in cross country. I read Tom Brown books in case, so I would have some survival skills in case I bailed.

The food we were fed was absolute shit. I have a very distinct memory about eating macaroni and cheese that was covered in flies. In fact, it was so bad that I started my own sustenance garden.

I could probably write a book about how fucked up that school was and it's sad that these places still exist. I left the place when I turned 18 and went to another boarding school for 6 months. Even though that put me a 6 months behind everyone else in my grade, it was worth it since it actually helped prepare me for college and I went to a top 30 school. I rarely talk about the past and few people know the full story

The original testimony on Reddit
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