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Copy of that blog entry for posterity's sake:

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Calling It What It Is
JANUARY 25, 2010

By Rita Argiros, Ph. D.

I've decided to use blogging as a way to track my thinking and my feelings over the next several months. I already blog about dog training and I contribute to other Family Foundation School blogs and sometimes those blogs may be informed by my reaction to the smear campaign against the school. But this series is meant to be different. Here I will be publicly sharing my reactions to the smear campaign

The leadership at the Family Foundation School reached a decision a few days ago. We need to be more assertive on the Internet. In the past and for a variety of reasons, we have not directly defended ourselves against the smear campaign on the Family School Truth site and CAFETY. I don't know where the new approach will take us. But it's clear that we need to do something different.

Our school has been here in Hancock, in one form or another, for over 30 years. Thousands of teenagers and young adults have come and gone. I was here at the beginning. I left for more than a decade. And now it's been 10 years since my return. I came back here full of hope. There were so many good things about the school but also so many things I thought we could improve. I am a reformer, not a revolutionary. If you knew me and my history you'd know that that is a very important statement. Most of my graduate school education took place in a sociology department that valued revolutionaries and disparaged liberal reformers. My family was always politically conservative. So, whether I came out somewhere in the middle by blending the best of my family and my graduate education, or whether I figured out a way to rebel against both my parents and my professors, I believe I ended up being able to see both sides, their strengths and their weaknesses. But the middle is a very difficult position to maintain. When former students of the Family Foundation School began to use the Internet and all the new social media tools as part of a political campaign to promote youth rights, we, the leadership of the school, were caught unprepared.

We certainly underestimated the power of social media. I just read an article in this week's New Yorker about President Obama (get link). The White House is an organization that, by all accounts, uses social media very well. Yet, even they have been slow to appreciate how much it has undermined the power of truth and reason.  Recently when Sarah Palin mentioned the so-called "death panels" for the first time, the Obama administration let the matter go. Apparently, they believed that no reasonable person in the media would give the remark any credit and it would just die. They were wrong. Palen's remarks viraled out of control on the Internet. It was picked up and bandied about on cable and main stream news media and the administration were forced to respond.  The lie was relentlessly repeated until it became a significant weapon in our dysfunctional national politics. The Death Panel lie joined the ranks of all the other lies that have been told about President Obama.  My favorite lies being that Obama is not a US citizen and that he was raised a Muslim. Nobody I know believes those things and yet every national poll shows that many people do believe them or at-least think that they might be true.

Like the Obama administration in the death-panel case, the administration of The Family Foundation School failed to appreciate the power of emotions and the impotence of reason. Theoretically I understand that emotions influence decisions. I'm trained as a sociologist and I'm familiar with psychological and neurological research on emotions and decision making. As an academic, I find it distasteful to use emotions to sway people's decisions. That's my bias. And it's proving to be a significant handicap.  Facebook and the Family School Truth website have allowed a core group of radical student rights activists to collect and organize 30 years worth of complaints and grievances against us.

And that brings up the second thing working to our disadvantage. We have consistently embraced criticism. As our detractors relentlessly point out,  the program of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly says that we shall admit when we are wrong and it charges us to make amends wherever possible. We do that. In 2006, at my parents' 50th wedding reunion party, to which we had invited every alumni we could possibly contact, I publicly acknowledged that the techniques and methods used in the past, although accepted practices at the time, were wrong. We understood that many of our alumni carried pain and anger from some of the things that happened to them. And we offered each of them the opportunity to speak with members of the Argiros family and other staff they were close to. We wanted to give ourselves and them the opportunity to hear and acknowledge what had happened.  We listened. We offered our apologies as best as we were able. We considered carefully each comment and, when appropriate made changes based on the feedback.

I am grateful for all the alumni who have met with us. But it must be understood that these meetings and the smear campaign are not what caused us to change.  We change and grow  because that is who we are. It is our commitment to the students that we live and work with that eliminated outdated tactics from the old TC model, that implemented the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention model, that is always looking for ways to balance necessary controls against students need to practice healthy choices, that implemented ever more family counseling, that increased the amount and quality of parent-child communication and worked to make the amount of time students spent here less. All of these changes were well under-way long before the smear campaign was launched.

I would never have made that speech at my parents' anniversary if we weren't already transforming ourselves. In fact, the one thing that has always characterized the Family Foundation School is our willingness to embrace change and best practices. We will continue to meet with former alumni, and alumni parents. And whenever we hear a valid criticism or complaint we will address it. Unfortunately, openness to criticism has weakened our ability to defend ourselves against the lies, distortions, and exaggerations you can read about on the Family School Truth site.  Four years after my public address, caring parents making the most difficult decisions of their lives are struggling to trust what may be the best alternative for their child by the same fear tactics the smear campaign erroneously claims we use.

In the past, whenever I have discussed the smear campaign, I have always taken great pains to resist using the word "lie." Reserving that for those stories that I knew from my personal experience were complete fabrications. If there was any truth at all in anything that an alumni said I would focus on that. And I would ignore, for the sake of reconciliation, everything else.

We can't afford to do that any longer. The current generation of teens and their families are suffering. And The Family Foundation School has an answer. It has been effective in most cases. We have anecdotal evidence. We have statistical evidence. We have our word, and we have testimonies of countless students and their parents available to anyone who asks.  We are open to inspection and we have accreditation. We have the most open admissions process of any therapeutic school, wilderness program, or residential treatment center you will ever come in contact with.  I'm not willing to have even one parent driven away by what I will, from now on, call by their right name, lies.

Until this started happening to us, I often wondered if we really needed two commandments: one against lying, and the other against bearing false witness.  False witness seemed to me to be another form of lying.  But that's like saying that murder is another form of assault. False Witness is lying taken to the point where it murders another's good-standing in the community. That is what is happening to us. So here in this blog I will express my feelings as well as my reason. I will be emotional. I am deeply upset, angry and grief-stricken by what the adults who organize and maintain the smear campaign are getting away with on the Internet–the new wild West–where rules about slander and libel do not apply. There is no way to know if students and their families are suffering today because parents in crisis are turned away by the clever emotional appeals made against us.  My candor may backfire.  We'll see.

# # #


--- Quote from: "bossybee39" ---
--- Quote from: "Danny Bennison" ---
--- Quote from: "Eliscu2" ---
--- Quote from: "Che Gookin" ---Elan
--- End quote ---
Yes Elan  :jamin:
--- End quote ---
At some point in time we have got to stop fucking around and get our collective heads together and start
documenting the abuse, line by line of what went on up there. It will blow your mind. really.
One problem must be fixed first, is we have to find a "safe place" (metaphore) to have these conversations.
Folks probably will not come on here or there b/cuz there scared, for many reasons not just the obviousess.
Second have a motive that has solid integrity. I truley believe this story gets out here this will definetly help
to change things.
...........Thanks.......Danny.......... :shamrock:
--- End quote ---
Elan and UTAH BOOTCAMPS there is more than one that is heinous.
--- End quote ---
I agree with you wholeheartedly we (Elan) just have to get this story on paper and or disc so we can tell it. Like you were saying. I am really trying to come up with a way to get these stories from ppl. That is my short version for here
the rest should be discussed on our forum here.  :shamrock:  :shamrock: Danny

mark babitz:

--- Quote from: "psy" ---Do you have a good suggestion as to the next program to create a website for.  I'm looking for a program that already has a lot of good information out there on it, but isn't prominently available in a google search.
--- End quote ---
:rocker: You would need a licenced private investigation firm to do that type of work.Forward info is about all anyone will find,The most the pay investigations sites will offer is specific persons not organisations.You have to be that fly on the wall so to speack. I think everyone knows what goes on, it is proving it. Why couldnt a current student film a GM or something with a small digital camera ? They seem to allow them now and that would be good evidence, at the least publicity. :rocker:  :jamin:  :rocker: I know it might sound crazy but it could work.And has been done by other groups.

mark babitz:
Elan discussion from New Forum Policies

1 ... 9, 10, 11 by garystadler » 17 Jan 2010, 13:51 in Open Free for All 1601812by mark babitz  
9 minutes ago :soapbox: -[1813 views-160 posts] :rocker:  New Forum Policies
1, 2, 3, 4 by psy » 01 Jan 2010, 18:02 (Global announcement) 471751by FemanonFatal2.0  
TodART BARKER'S HOME ADDRESS  :rocker:  [1751 views} :rocker:

1 ... 4, 5, 6 by stack jones » 16 Jul 2009, 04:05 in The Seed Discussion Forum 85973by stackjones  
ay :rocker: [973 views] :rocker: The point to be made is hostility and confusion draws attention, allot.No matter how much bitching and I cant find stuff to read was said ,they all read threw the posts don't they ??Nosiness if nothing else causes attention. Now if you substituted or dropped into those forums some really good stuff on Elan or another hell hole like it guess what.All attention is good attention if you have control of it. No one can deny a few of us woke this site up and were totally recognized, for good or bad people knew we were here and not running. That's what intimidates and scares folks, the relentless pursuit of them, numbers dont lie.Elan and the rest aren't closing soon but, you can put them so far on their toe they fall over. :rasta:  :rasta: How many  things in your national news paper do you read ?? How much is in there and how much news is positive ? Good news doesn't sell papers or publicity, thats why relentless attack campaigns work. Look at any election, what do they do ? attack each other  and their families, morals etc.and it wins election for Presidents :rocker:  :rocker:



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