Author Topic: MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA  (Read 5688 times)

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Offline try another castle

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MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2006, 08:29:00 PM »
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The parents who post on strugglingteens.com do NOT get money for giving feedback on programs.

That's not what I said, I said Lon did. (I could be wrong.) And another poster brought up a good point, parents DO get tuition breaks by referring other people to programs, whether they post about it on strugglingteens or not. Again, read Maia's book. It talks all about that.

Regardless, in my eyes, the issue is more about Monarch right now than strugglingteens, although I seriously caution against taking any recommendations from there, because there is a serious conflict of interest regarding people who suggest programs from that site.

I've been reading some things at the Monarch website. Mainlly regarding qualifications for staff. On the faculty page, there is no information as to the certification or qualifications of any of the staff members. You have to ask yourself, what makes them qualified to help your children? Are they lisenced therapists? Do they have a degree in therapy, social work, psychology or psychiatry? What IS their educational background, anyway?

I also read the statement from the school's founder Patrick McKenna:

http://monarchschool.com/founder_message.html

He writes:

"I was a teen in trouble. My parents and I suffered through our family struggles until my parents happened to discover a new kind of boarding school that eventually changed my life. [my note: what boarding school was this, by any chance?? Probably a good question to ask him, before you send your kids to be under his care.] Were it not for my parent [sic] persistence and courage, I am not sure where my self- destructive path might have led me. During my stay at school, I realized that my life had changed forever because of the gifts I was being given. I began to dream of a school and plan for the day when I could establish one of my own.

Many years later, after varied life experiences, including marriage and children, I arrived in a place personally to begin planning how I might accomplish this dream."

You mean that's it? That is what makes him eligible and qualified to run a residential center for troubled teens? Because he was a troubled youth himself, and he has had "varied life experiences"? I cannot find any place where he lists his qualifications. What is his educational background? What certifications and degrees does he have? Is he even a therapist?

I also looked at the employment link. There is currently a position open for a lead counselor.

"Job Overview: The Lead Counselor acts as a member of a team of professional staff delivering the emotional growth program and modeling the values of the school. Work includes direct service time with the students, administrative duties, and evening floor time. The Lead Counselor participates in or leads many of the core activities of the school, including the facilitation of group meetings and discussion, development of student action plans, boundary setting, physical education, and multi-day trips. The Lead Counselor should also demonstrate the ability to give constructive feedback, present clear information, and use inclusive language and behavior.

Qualifications: The position requires the ability to understand and work with today?s youth and families, highly developed interpersonal and social communication skills, and leadership skills. In addition, the Lead Counselor should be adept in computer and word processing skills, writing reports and plans, and should possess a BA or BS degree in related field with significant experience (minimum 2 years)- Masters degree preferred. "

That's IT??? A bachelor's degree in a related field????? Masters preferred??? And this is a position for a lead counselor! First of all, faculty who work as counselors in residential programs that cater to at-risk youth should have a masters at the very least, and it should NOT simply be an optional qualification. Even then, that is no guarantee that they are qualified. (For instance, what school did they get their masters from, and what was their masters in??) There were staff at my school who had a masters, for instance, and I still wouldn't trust having any kids of mine within a 50 mile radius of those guys.

In addition, you may have noticed that I put the term "emotional growth" in bold. That is a buzzword in the behavior mod industry. I strongly caution against schools that use this term to describe their program. An excerpt from Maia's book describes this:

"As the wilderness deaths accumulated and tough love in the woods moved from its "miracle" period to its "controversial" one, tough love for teens once again took on a new form. This was the "specialty school," sometimes called a "behavior modification" or "emotional growth" boarding school. Such organizations had existed since the late '60s and took their cues from Synanon. The CEDU chain (which includes Boulder Creek Academy, Rocky Mountain Academy and the ASCENT Theraputic Adventure program) [my note: this is where Monarch faculty Steve Rookey and Tim Earle used to work, which I mentioned in my previous post] for example, was founded by Mel Wasserman, who'd been involved with Synanon himself, and some former Synanon members in 1967. Their programs include lengthy, confrontational large-group sessions called "Propheets" similar to Synanon's "the game". They also involved excerises like those in est and similar encounter seminars."

The CEDU influence has been scattered over many schools, as facutly up and moved shop, either forming their own emotional growth chains, or getting a job at one. The Academy at Swift river is run by former CEDU faculty. Cascades is also a school that had CEDU ex-staff there, before it closed down. The dean of students at Carlbrook in Vermont, Tim Brace, was head of Rocky Mountain Academy when I was there, and Steve Rookey and Tim Earle work at the school you are interested in.

The problem is that this industry is unregulated. There are no checks and balances there to ensure that the students are being treated properly, and that the information given to parents beforehand is accurate and truthful. You may go to a school, visit a campus, speak with administrators, and talk with alumni and parents who give glowing reviews, and it all might check out fine. The school may have all of their bases covered, and that is still no guarantee the teens are being treated well.

When my parents toured the RMA campus, it looked like a dream school. Summer camp for troubled kids. The students were happy and smiling (I think my folks may have overlooked the fact that their facial expressions were similar to the ones you see on people who have just been through est, lifespring, or have been in a cult), the campus was beautiful, and in a georgeous part of the country, the staff seemed nice and competent. What they didn't see or hear were the screams coming from the rooms during afternoon "raps", (a form of confrontational group "therapy"), or the tactics used for kids who were being punished, (which got much worse after I had left) or the sleep deprivation and traumatic and exhausting exercises that were used during propheets, (a name for overnight or multi-day workshops.) Neither were they informed about the inadequate medical care, the dismisiveness towards conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, and drug addiction, (which later changed into misdiagnoses and overmedication once they stated that they started "treating" those conditions) or the lack of a proper academic education. (A lot of the kids graduated without a high school diploma.) Neither did they mention the lack of credentialed staff, some of which got their positions because they were simply alumni of the CEDU system. THAT constituted their "experience".

The problem is that since the industry is unregulated, the schools can outright LIE to you and give even the most savvy parents who know how to do their fact checking the right story about how qualified they are as an institution. They will also charge an outrageous sum of money for tuition, (up to several thousand dollars per month) much of it not even going to the care of the children or adequate pay for the staff.

Another thing I caution against is listening too much to anecdotal testimony. Especially if the parents or kids state things like "I would have been dead or in jail had I not gone to this school." What proof do they have of this? The fact of the matter is, there is currently no clinical, impartial study that asserts that residential care at these kinds of schools is any better than outpatient treatment at home. There is no control group. All there is is testimony from parents and kids (the student or alumni testimony is also normally from kids who are either still in the program, under its influence, or recently graduated. I can say that in my case, it took me years to deprogram myself from CEDU's influence.)

Again, I cannot strongly enough emphasize the importance of reading Maia Szalavitz's book (which I recommended in my previous post.) It's a fairly light read, in the sense that it took me about two days to finish. She is an investigative journalist who has thoroughly researched the industry. And like I said before, she has some very important things to say regarding what to look for in a program, and alternate options to residential treatment.

It is the least a parent can do before they decide to place their child in residential care.

Anyway, concerned parent, it is good that you are asking questions. I'm not here to tell you what to do with your kids or whether or not they need residential care. I am not an expert in child psychology or education. However, most of the people who run these schools aren't, either.


Oh and also:
Quote
It is NOT a smooth ride and happy times to have your child in one of these programs. There are lots of ups and downs and tears.


What information do you have that verifies that this is evidence of progress, or that this is an appropriate way to deal with at-risk youth? How much do you know about these so called "ups and downs and tears"? Testimony from staff, your kids? I told my parents that the school was great while I was there. I had no idea the amount of depression and emotional fallout I would later encounter as a result of my so-called education.

One thing that Maia talks about, it is sometimes better to do nothing than to send your child to a school that has no regulation or oversight.

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"Learn from your mistakes so that one day you can repeat them precisely."
-Trevor Goodchild
[ This Message was edited by: sorry... try another castle on 2006-03-04 20:36 ]
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Offline Nihilanthic

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MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2006, 09:03:00 PM »
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On 2006-03-04 16:21:00, Anonymous wrote:

"There are VERY few programs which give referral fees or tuition reductions.  The better programs do a lot of screening before even allowing a kid to enroll in the program.

Parents with kids in the program can give you plenty of information.  It is NOT a smooth ride and happy times to have your child in one of these programs. There are lots of ups and downs and tears.  The parents on strugglingteens.com will share ALL of this with you- the good and the bad.  "


Im sure they will, but they're also going to spin it pro program and give the benefit of the doubt to program incarceration, to program censorship, to program communication shutdowns (kids cant even get a lawyer or legal represntation...)

As Julie said in the ASR thread, theyd try to find the good in a concentration camp and side with it. Programs are selling 'all the answers' to parents and giving the parents what THEY want, and after theyve given their child to them for months or years and tens of thousand of dollars why the hell could most people admit they were wrong?

But, I digress... part of program dogma is recommending it to everyone and having a regime of suspicion upon your children, almost like a pyramid scheme.

Plus, they could just be fuckin LYING about program referrals. ISACCORP.org has tons of examples of it being very much true.

And, this has... done nothing to address my first three questions:
  • First, why do you WANT a program?
  • Second, do your children NEED treatment at all?
  • Third, why not use treatment thats proven to work, isntead of 'treatment' that simply reverses the burden of proof when challenged and tries to stymie any sort of criticism or review, IF and ONLY if you actually need treatment for your children?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
DannyB on the internet:I CALLED A LAWYER TODAY TO SEE IF I COULD SUE YOUR ASSES FOR DOING THIS BUT THAT WAS NOT POSSIBLE.

CCMGirl on program restraints: "DON\'T TAZ ME BRO!!!!!"

TheWho on program survivors: "From where I sit I see all the anit-program[sic] people doing all the complaining and crying."

Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2006, 09:14:00 PM »
Didn't I read somewhere that some of the programs require these 'thank you letters' or testimonials as part of one of the steps or seminars or levels?
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Offline katfish

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MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2006, 11:53:00 PM »
Quote
On 2006-03-04 15:05:00, Anonymous wrote:

"I think information coming from parents who currently have kids in these programs or have kids who recently came out of a program is more valuable


I would say it takes a full couple of years to fully be able to digest what goes on at many of these facilities.  So trying to determine its efficacy based on recent testimonials and especially from parents, in my opinion, is almost useless and
yields generally overwhelming positive rhetoric in favor of program-- any dissent comes later when the child recognizes that some or all of the dehumanizing methods employed by a specific facility or they start to understand and become angry to the extent their rights were taken away.  

As far as parents, it appears many parents are frequently left in the dark about the traumatic experiences of their child.  Frequently the relationship is already so strained that the child does not feel comfortable or feel parents are receptive to criticism of a 30k + expenditure. I have yet to see a relationship with family improve b/c there isn't much by way of family counseling given child is hundreds or thousands miles away.  Child comes home 'obedient' for a while, stuggles b/c of social set backs, possible PTSD- but I guess parents attribute this to the transition between the 'healthy' school into real world of challenges, rather than attribute these issues to the questionable  efficacy of these programs  unproven methods and the proven lack of efficacy of RTC's in general...
See: Fact Sheet: Children in RTC's From the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and Policy
http://cafety.org/index.php?option=com_ ... &Itemid=35
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Offline try another castle

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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2006, 12:28:00 AM »
Quote
Quote
On 2006-03-04 15:05:00, Anonymous wrote:

"I think information coming from parents who currently have kids in these programs or have kids who recently came out of a program is more valuable

I would say it takes a full couple of years to fully be able to digest what goes on at many of these facilities.  So trying to determine its efficacy based on recent testimonials and especially from parents, in my opinion, is almost useless and
yields generally overwhelming positive rhetoric in favor of program-- any dissent comes later when the child recognizes that some or all of the dehumanizing methods employed by a specific facility or they start to understand and become angry to the extent their rights were taken away.  


Agreed. Anecdotal testimony is NOT evidence of a good school. Like Katfish said, it is downright useless. I would even go further and state that no matter how many years removed, positive statements which claim that the kid's life was saved by such a school is still useless, because there is NO evidence that can back this up. No independent study, no control group whatsoever. Because of this, there is no possible way of knowing how the kid would have fared had they not been placed in residential treatment. The burden of proof is on the industry to prove its effecacy, as opposed to the burden of proof being on the detractors to prove it's not.

We already know, without fail, through firsthand accounts, deaths, medical records, trials, video, and investigative exposes like Szalavitz's, that people are traumatized by these experiences. However, what we don't know is if the people who claim they were "saved" by such institutions would have been any better off had they not been sent there.

I don't know if there are abuses occurring at Monarch. (But I think I could make a safe bet that there are.) What I do know unequivocably is that, based on their website, their staff are totally uncredentialed and unqualified, and the school has faculty who were at one time on payroll at abusive facilities. I certainly wouldn't send any kid of mine there, to be sure. There are far too many red flags.

No amount of positive, glowing (and questionable) testimony by parents and students is going to counteract the hard evidence put forth by their own website. They should not be taking care of children, period.

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[ This Message was edited by: sorry... try another castle on 2006-03-04 21:35 ]
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Offline Anonymous

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MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2006, 01:23:00 PM »
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On 2006-03-04 15:05:00, Anonymous wrote:

"I think information coming from parents who currently have kids in these programs or have kids who recently came out of a program is more valuable than the crap you are spewing here.  You have no specific knowledge of these programs. There is an occasional post on here by someone with firsthand information- a number of these have been pro-program. These people don't stick around long, of course.  There are many parents on ST who are willing to share the short-comings of the program they KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT. All it takes is a one line post on the Programs sections asking "Please contact me with information about _____."  What is censorship about THAT?  "


You know, that one post of yours reveals your whole entire problem.

The only kind of person who can see the parents as having "firsthand" information is someone who doesn't see the kids as people at all.

All the parents' information is strictly secondhand.  They've never lived in those facilities in the Program.  All they know is what the Program operators have chosen to allow them to see, what the Program operators say to them---they're deaf to the kids *except* when the kids are telling them what they want to hear.

Just like you are.

You've depersonalized these people just like the middle-class women who hired black southern women, under Jim Crow, to clean their houses and cook their food, and paid them a pittance, and called them "girls."  Just like the white men and women who would walk past a black man or woman in a grocery line without even thinking twice about it.

You can condone anything being done to these kids, because you see "parents" as people.

You'd say of course you know teens are people, and you'll think I'm being ridiculous.  But you saw the parents as people worth listening to, and the kids are only an afterthought---and even then, only after someone has pointed out to you that you didn't mention them.

My family is from Alabama.  Never lived there myself, but all my relatives are from there.  I've seen what it looks like when some otherwise nice-seeming person depersonalizes a while group of people without even noticing they're doing it.

I've seen it more times than I can count, and more than enough to recognize it when I see it again, just with the "those people" group changed.

What it looks like is just like you.

Julie
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2006, 01:45:00 PM »
See above:  I said "middle-class women" when what I really meant was "middle-class white women."

When you're raised in a culture, even when you know it has preconceptions you don't agree with and don't want, it's insidious.  You have to watch for it or the same old thing can slip by you.

Our culture depersonalizes children, but depersonalizes teenagers more than children of any other age.

Unfortunately, Program Parents and Programs raise this to a high art.

The Programs are to teenagers what the KKK is to African Americans.  Sure, it's okay for "those people" to exist, but only if they "know their place."

Ginger---if you're reading this, would it be presumptuous to ask you to add that last paragraph to the quote rotation?

Julie
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2006, 02:17:00 PM »
Not quite, Julie.  You have heard from kids who have attended various programs who have come here to give their support and impressions of the program.  You refuse to listen to anyone- even a teen- unless they have something negative to say.  YOU are the one excluding a whole class of people as not having worth.  In this case- parents!  You think we are not worthy enough or intelligent enough to make an honest assessment of a program based on WHAT OUR OWN KIDS TELL US DURING AND AFTER THE PROGRAM, as well as the extensive research most of us have done.  
Read your words- you are the one beating down a class of people!
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2006, 12:05:00 PM »
all the things you guys are saying are completely false. i went to monarch school i was there for two years. i lived with patrick, and tim and ron in patricks house with his kids and his wife. i started the school. i built the school from the ground up with te three others in my peer group. i llived there all of the horrible things that people say are happening DID NOT HAPPEN. no one had physical force used against them. if a faculty member ever did he/she would be fired immediately. that was not tolerated. yes in the beggining your phone calls were monitared but as you continued on throughout the program your freedom and privalgies grew and grew by the time i graduated i was basically free do to anything within reason. as for steve. he is one of the nicest, most wonderful, caring, loving person i have ever known. same goes for tim. i trust both of them with my life. i love them with my whole heart. yes like everywhere there are some poor staff you can't escape that but overall i had a wonderful respect for most all (95%) of the staff. for the mother who is worried about your daughter's friend. he is in good hands.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2006, 12:07:00 PM »
also dan is tim's father not brother. and he did not leave carmen for a student nor did steve sleep with a student.what you are saying is competely blashamous and get your facts stright before you say/write anything
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Offline Goodlife

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Re: MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2012, 02:31:11 AM »
I graduated from Monarch and would not be successful if it were not for the personal and family work I experienced. I know that some want to put it down but it seems a lot of those posts are from ex-students who never completed the school for one reason or another. I've met other students from different programs and am so happy my parents picked Monarch School.
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Offline Pile of Dead Kids

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Re: MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2012, 03:26:44 AM »
Quote from: "Goodlife"
I graduated from Monarch and would not be successful if it were not for the personal and family work I experienced. I know that some want to put it down but it seems a lot of those posts are from ex-students who never completed the school for one reason or another. I've met other students from different programs and am so happy my parents picked Monarch School.

Haven't seen one of these in a while. 3/10
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...Sergey Blashchishen, James Shirey, Faith Finley, Katherine Rice, Ashlie Bunch, Brendan Blum, Caleb Jensen, Alex Cullinane, Rocco Magliozzi, Elisa Santry, Dillon Peak, Natalynndria Slim, Lenny Ortega, Angellika Arndt, Joey Aletriz, Martin Anderson, James White, Christening Garcia, Kasey Warner, Shirley Arciszewski, Linda Harris, Travis Parker, Omega Leach, Denis Maltez, Kevin Christie, Karlye Newman, Richard DeMaar, Alexis Richie, Shanice Nibbs, Levi Snyder, Natasha Newman, Gracie James, Michael Owens, Carlton Thomas, Taylor Mangham, Carnez Boone, Benjamin Lolley, Jessica Bradford's unnamed baby, Anthony Parker, Dysheka Streeter, Corey Foster, Joseph Winters, Bruce Staeger, Kenneth Barkley, Khalil Todd, Alec Lansing, Cristian Cuellar-Gonzales, Janaia Barnhart, a DRA victim who never even showed up in the news, and yet another unnamed girl at Summit School...

Offline mm32

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Re: MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2012, 04:53:30 PM »
A little late to jump on this thread, but let me give you my two cents.

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.

Since this thread hasn't been updated in a while, I'm going to leave it at that for now.

I have much much more I could write here if anyone is interested.
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Offline anchorsurvivor

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Re: MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2012, 04:46:16 PM »
I don't know about monarch academy but i went to anchor academy and was physically beaten and denied sleep, food, and bathroom priviliges at times.
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Offline Oscar

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MONARCH ACADEMY, MONTANA closes
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2017, 01:53:42 AM »
The official report is that the number of students, they keep confined at the facility had become too low, so they were forced to close.

Official press-release:
Monarch School Closes (Struggling Teens marketing firm)

Student testimonies:
Various student testimonies (Tales from the black school - testimonial blog)

Fact pages: