Author Topic: Current state of BCA  (Read 5215 times)

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Offline concerned father

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Current state of BCA
« on: March 09, 2006, 03:00:00 PM »
I currently have a son at Boulder Creek Academy, and would appreciate hearing from people who have a sense if things have changed under their new ownership and staff (much of which has remained from when it was under CEDU ownership).

This note was prompted by the fact that I received a call from the staff yesterday that my son seemed depressed.  They wanted him to be tested by folks from Northwest Psychiatric Associates, likely to be followed with a presciption for "meds".  This raised a big red flag with me.  I am not giving any type of permission until I do some research and visit my son (that will happen in a couple weeks).

In general, I am against putting kids on meds, especially if its being done just to make things easier for the staff.  I'd like to get some honest feedback from folks with knowledge and opinions on the current state of BCA.

Fire away.

Concerned Father
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2006, 03:12:00 PM »
Well it's an interesting question you pose and I'm sure you'll get many an interesting answer.

I can't speak with too much authority on the matter of the "New" BCA, I can say that I know a few of the staff that are working there. I was a student who attended Northwest Academy in the late '90's and 2000. I have remained in close contact with Ruth McKnight, who last I heard was the Manager (or Program Director) at either NWA or BCA. Like I said, I'm no authority figure on these matters, but I can say that Ruth is a good person and your son is probably in good hands.

As far as medication is concerned, that's a decision you are going to have to make on your own. Many will tell you that the staff at BCA medicate too easily and they're probably right. It's just something you are going to have to think about yourself. Do you want your son to be on medication or not? It might also be in your best interest to find out what medication they are suggesting putting him on, and do some research. There are many books on the market which will detail the sideaffects of the various medication. "The Pill Book" is the one that I am familar with.

I can speak from experiance that while the methods of the staff members might not always be the best, I can assure you that they only have the best intentions. I know that doesn't count for much but it's something.

Good Luck.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2006, 03:38:00 PM »
Why would you spend good money sending your child to a place with no proven track record (longitudinal studies), whose therapetic methods consist of psychological and verbal abuse, with no real program tailored to the individual, with minimal contact and isolation, farcical academics, and "experimental" type therapies that are harmful to developing minds? This is a short list.

As far as medication, I would send him for an independent evaluation by somone who does not have a vested interest in the outcome.  But remember, he is at that age where emotions are instable anyway. It's part of adolescence.  Many of the schools just dope the kids up to keep them compliant.  They won't tell you that of course.  

They always say the same thing to parents if you question the program: The kid is manipulating you.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2006, 03:41:00 PM »
We had a similar course of events a few years back when my son was at RMA.  

For some reason, the staff thought he was depressed, I saw him as pretty unhappy about being taken away from his friends and behaviors but not clinically depressed.

I just said point blank that if him being there depended on being medicated, he'd be out by the end of the week.  My parent counselor made clear that she understood it was our choice and that there were other ways to treat depression besides drugs.  Then I had a conference call with the doctor (can't remember his name) and with the team counselor and somebody else.

Everyone was very agreeable to following a non-medical course, the doc actually said that he was not interested in "medicalizing" every case of oppositional behavior.

Long and short of it, he graduated, did fine, does presently do fine, has never been depressed since getting out, views his school years as a good thing overall although I bet he'd change parts of the program if he were running it (wouldn't we all).

Hope you get a good outcome.  I personally think Americans are in general too quick to grab a bottle of pills to face any hardship and I don't think the long terms effects are very well documented with children and adolescents for many psychotropics.  Maybe you can get by without them.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2006, 03:42:00 PM »
get him out of there. it is going to ruine his life it did for me. i have ptsd from ongoing abuse from staff. this is when the brown schools was in charge. i dont think it has changed much.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2006, 03:53:00 PM »
To the original poster:

Most of the people on this site won't be able to tell you much about the new BCA. Especially people claiming to have PTSD. I'm not going to get into a debate with people making that claim, but they attribute it to physical and severe mental abuse, which just doesn't take place at BCA anymore. I was there for nearly 3 years between 1999 and 2002, and never saw someone physically assaulted. The worst that takes place is the mental brainwashing and a lot of staff yelling at kids.

So I won't comment on whether to pull your child or not based on all that. I get upset when parents make the huge decision to send their kid to one of these schools and then come on here second-guessing themselves. If you're not sure about your choice, why did you invest so much money and so much heartbreak in the decision? Makes me wonder...

Anyways, I will comment on the meds issue. To say the staff at BCA overmedicate is a dire understatement. To this day, no psychiatrist outside of BCA has seen any reason to place me on any kind of medication. Yet the clinical staff at BCA suggested to my parents that I be loaded up in anti-depressants and various mood stabilizers. See the connection? If you are going to make ANOTHER huge decision, which is placing your child on a medication that WILL change who they are, I would put a little more thought into it. Get an outside opinion. DEMAND that your child be seen by a psychiatrist in North Idaho that has ABSOLUTELY NO connection to BCA.

That's the only safe course you can take. There's a chance your child may need meds, but odds are they don't.
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Offline concerned father

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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2006, 04:02:00 PM »
"This is a short list"

I'd be happy to hear a longer one, if you're willing to take the time time to lay it out.  I am curious what you base your opinion on.  Did you attend BCA?  Work there?  Heard horror stories from people who did one or the other?

Your question about why are we sending him there is a legitimate one.  I could write a short novel, but will instead say that we made what we felt was the best choice we could based on the information we had, people we spoke to and consultants we hired.  If we felt there was any way our son could live at home without hurting himself and putting himself at risk, he would still be here.
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Offline concerned father

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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2006, 04:12:00 PM »
"I get upset when parents make the huge decision to send their kid to one of these schools and then come on here second-guessing themselves."

I'd be more worried if parents weren't constantly assessing (or as you call it, "second guessing") their decision to send their kid away.  I think about him constantly, and want to do all I can to make sure he is healthy and safe.  And I want him to feel emotions--not spend his days in a medicated haze.

Thank you for your opinion on the propensity of the BCA staff to medicate.
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never

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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2006, 06:15:00 PM »
my advice to you is to take your kid out of that treatment center. right away. i was abused to a great extreme in the brown schools. this organizations are there just to make money. i dont think they care about the kids and there problems at all. if you have questions about what i went through feel free to pm me. i dont like to say what happened in my posts because there are ananymous users cuting people down.
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Offline try another castle

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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2006, 07:56:00 PM »
Quote
On 2006-03-09 13:12:00, concerned father wrote:

""I get upset when parents make the huge decision to send their kid to one of these schools and then come on here second-guessing themselves."



I'd be more worried if parents weren't constantly assessing (or as you call it, "second guessing") their decision to send their kid away.  I think about him constantly, and want to do all I can to make sure he is healthy and safe.  And I want him to feel emotions--not spend his days in a medicated haze.



Thank you for your opinion on the propensity of the BCA staff to medicate.

"


Absolutely. I'm glad that there are parents like yourself, who may question their decisions about what to do for their child. I hope that your son is ok. Please don't buy the program line that if he complains to you about the treatment he is receiving there, that he is just "being manipulative." It doesn't sound like you would.

But I agree with the other posters. Best to just get him out. Have you read Help at Any Cost yet? It has some very helpful suggestions and recommendations at the end of the book on alternatives to the behavior mod option.
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Offline Bean2

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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2006, 10:26:00 AM »
To the concerned parent:

I graduated from BCA in 1999 and had a great experience. It did really save my life. In regards to the meds...I asked to be on meds because of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). They were very helpful and listened to me about what I needed. But, if your child doesn't have any conditions like that and hasn't asked for help with depression (meds wise) I would go with your gut and tell them no. They tried to pressure my parents into doing things(they wanted me to change my name) and my Mom told them "No". they pushed her several times and she finally told them if they asked one more time she would be coming to get me. They never asked again. You are doing a good thing and I think you know that based on your post. I still thank my parents every time I go home for sending me- especially after I see or hear from other high school friends who weren't so lucky and are still in the same dark place they were at 16. I hope your family has a good experience overall. Good luck.[ This Message was edited by: Bean2 on 2006-03-10 07:32 ]
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Offline concerned father

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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2006, 11:36:00 AM »
"Please don't buy the program line that if he complains to you about the treatment he is receiving there, that he is just "being manipulative.""

No, I am in this with my eyes open.

When I see my son in two weeks, I plan on talking to him extensively away from the group setting.  Anything he says that might be worrisome will be investigated, in addition to concerns that I already have.  Despite all the troubles that he has had, he has never been a manipulative person, so if anybody from the school tries to feed me that line, it won't placate me.
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Offline concerned father

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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2006, 11:38:00 AM »
Thank you, Bean2 for sharing that.  I'm glad things have worked out well for you.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2006, 12:39:00 PM »
"When I see my son in two weeks, I plan on talking to him extensively away from the group setting. "

This sounds like a good plan.  My advice to you is to take him off campus when you speak with him.  This will reassure him that no one is listening in on your conversation, and will encourage him to fully open up to you.  BCA staff will of course resist this idea, but he is your son, and they can't prevent you from taking him if you want to. I split form BCA several years ago in 2002.   My own experience with BCA is that it is a HIGHLY ABUSIVE environment, and not theraputic at all. The experience did help me to grow up in some ways, but overall it  
hurt me a lot more.  I don't think I have PTSD, but I do still have occasional nightmares from that time.  My advice is that you should take your kid out of BCA right away, and find him a good second chance boarding school ( one that focuses on academics, not behavior modification or emotional growth).  Make sure that you listen to what your kid has to say. Be prepared to hear an earful.  No matter how bad it sounds,remember that what he says is probably true.  I hope this works out for you...But again, YOU SHOULD GET HIM OUT OF BCA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
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Offline Bean2

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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2006, 01:50:00 PM »
Concerned father-
Are you a member of a CEDU parents group? I don't know if they have one where you are located, but my parents joined one in Texas. It's just groups of parents who meet for dinner out once a month and talk about their kids (no actual CEDU school involvement in the group). My family still goes to catch up with friends they made while I was away- the group really helped them connect with some other CEDU parents and hear their advice. If you have questions I can try to find out more.[ This Message was edited by: Bean2 on 2006-03-10 10:51 ]
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