Sunday, December 13, 2015

Testimony about Shepherds Hill Academy

This testimony was found as a reply to a comment made by a parents to another student. All rights goes to the original author.

The harsh reality is that most wilderness programs are rampant with child abuse. It is very hard to explain how much trama SHF has caused me. People claiming I only say it because I am an evil lier trying to discredit a christian program don’t make it much easier. But SHF will not fear me into silence. I am opposed to your tactics of coercion and indoctrination. SHF takes advantage of the weak and vulnerable who are seeking help. Convincing them if they do not place their child in the program immediatly the child will be dead or in jail. This is a tactic all of these wilderness camps use.

There are plenty of programs that have been reported and even charged with child abuse (in some cases murder) and they continue operate. Many times they move to another state and change their name. How are these people still able to abuse kids? I do not know. Look at, watch the Capitol Hill briefings. The briefings include testimonys from, ex students of wilderness programs, parents of children who died in these programs, mental health experts, and Greg Kutz of the Forensics Audit Unit and Greg Kutz, Managing Director of Forensic Audits and Special Investigations for the US Government Accountability Office describes reports from two GAO investigations into the troubled industry for teens. Heres the link

Beatings for extreme reasons? My first day there I was unable to run up a hill. I was yelled at in front of everyone and swatted because I was unable to do it. This is just one case. i know ex students who had bruises that lasted weeks for asking why they had to do some meaningless task. The bible tells you to beat kids so that makes it ok? It also tells you to murder witches, stone disobedient children, and endorses slavery(shf?). I will assume you are ok with these things as well.

These parents pay tuitions that are the same as Ivy League schools. Yet the child is “treated” by special meals (I was on them for over a month and a half.) being told im a terrible human unable to be loved, my parents failed me, only if we work the program will we not die or go to jail or be a drug addict. These children with serious mental issues need real medical help from real doctors using real science that is backed up by peer reviewed medical journals. Your son or daughter may appear to be helped, but many more claim to be abused. Others are to afraid to say anything because they are afraid of Trace Embry and his cult. Every ex student I have spoken with claims it has taken them and their family years to overcome the problems and scars SHF letft them with.

You and SHF claim we are evil, demonic people that are simply trying to destroy SHF. This makes absolutely zero sense and is completely insensitive. What is there for me to gain from telling others I was abused at SHF? It is not easy at all. The reason I tell people and try to get the information out there is not because I am evil or have some sinister plan. The reason is very simple. I wish to prevent other children from being abused at the hands of Trace Embry in the name of science, medicine, therapy, and even Jesus.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Vindication - about Mount Bachelor Academy

This testimony has been given by a former students as comment to an article about the closure of the school. All rights go to the original author

Having been a student at this school during it’s first 4 years of opening, it’s hard to describe my reaction to this news. Elated? Relieved? Perhaps vindicated is the best word to describe it. Though I did learn some useful tools and behavioral modification techniques, those pale in comparison to the horrible memories I carry with me, suppressed for years until I began working through them very recently.

I arrived at the school a very young, scared, self-loathing, 12 year old girl, who had already attempted suicide 3 times. I was stripped of the drop of self-esteem I had there, in the school’s process commonly known as “tearing the student down in order to build them back up”. When I arrived at MBA, I was on very strong prescription psychiatric medication. I met with a licensed psychiatrist twice during my 3 1/2 year stay. Once in the registration process, and one more time 6 months later. There were many times where the staff were “unable” or “forgot” to refill my medication, which, among other things, greatly effects the brain chemistry, as well as induces withdrawal symptoms. During the “lifesteps”, I was not allowed to take my medication, was only allowed 2-3 hours sleep, was forced to perform physical “emotional growth” acts to the point of exhaustion, was strongly encouraged, on a regular basis, to scream until my face was covered with purple spots of burst blood vessels, was consistently told I was “worthless, manipulative, a whore, a slut, a spoiled brat, unwanted by my parents” and other names I don’t care to share. I was 12 years old. The staff allowed other, older students to call me similar names while I was on a “self study” for kissing a boy, who was 4 years older than I. During the 3 month self study, I was not allowed to look at or talk to anyone, sat in a desk facing the wall in the dining area, was given writing assignments, of which 90% were about the “negative” aspects of my “soul” and personality–I still have 3 of those journals.

When I attended MBA, NONE of the staff were licensed in any mental health/child welfare/psychological areas. In fact, Sharon Bitz, now the Executive Director of the school, was hired as a Drama teacher in my second year at MBA.

I understand that others have had positive experiences at MBA, and I think that is great. The mental, and physical, abuse, the stripping down of my self-esteem, the pure negativity of my experience, however, has haunted my for over 15 years, and shaped me as a person for much of those years until I began to work through the issues brought on by MBA. For a few years after leaving MBA, I reached out to the staff for guidance and support in the very rough transition back into the “real world”. On MBA’s website, it is stated that every student who leaves MBA has “24 hour” access to staff support, and that the staff make it a “priority” to be available for the students. Not one of my calls were returned, not one of my letters were answered. It has been said by both professionals and fellow students that perhaps the staff were aware and “ashamed” at the way I was treated. That would be fine, except the main focus of the school is to take responsibility for your actions, but it seems that does not apply to the staff who enforce that. I also do not think it is a coincidence that more than 10 former students, 3 in my own peer group, have committed suicide or fatally overdosed on drugs.

My experience at MBA may be unique, and unlike any other student there. Yet reliving what I have not completely blocked out is incredibly painful; even as I write this, I have a lump in my throat and knots in my stomach. I was young, probably too young to be there. Yet I was accepted, and was subsequently treated as if I was similar to the other students, the average age being 16.

There is more to tell, unfortunately, but I think this entry has made my point sufficiently. I have stayed silent for far too long. I am more than willing to testify, under oath, and tell my story. Someday, I may even write a book, in detail, of my experience there.

So yes, I do feel vindicated.

The school closed in 2009 after the authorities intervened and closed it.

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