Author Topic: "FORMER SPECIAL ED. TEACHER IS VINDICATED"  (Read 1529 times)

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Offline Jill Ryan

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"FORMER SPECIAL ED. TEACHER IS VINDICATED"
« on: April 19, 2011, 05:44:37 PM »
A little bit of history, that unfortunately keeps repeating itself.

Taken from: http://http://jilliestake.blogspot.com/p/ridge-creek-school-former-spec-ed.html

Thank you to the ORCC documents of late,  Marla McGhee, former Special Education teacher at Hidden Lake Academy(HLA), now Ridge Creek School(RCS) has been vindicated and it's a long overdue.  She was forced into silence for blowing the whistle on HLA,  receiving a cease and desist, and threatened with a lawsuit.  Although she was silenced her written word reverberates through our minds.  Like those after her, Clarke Poole(Admissions HLA), Cheryl Tantangelo(Director of Counseling RCS, depending on the day, apparently lost her position for speaking out to parents -  ORCC report), Dr. Horwitz (tending psychiatrist) all spoke out against admission of inappropriate students to the school. According to Dr. Horwitz, an argument ensued with XXX, Horwitz refused to take children off their medications, citing ethics and his oath.  Dr. Horwitz sent a letter to parents. Dr. Consuelo Reddick took over, but did not last, reports floated that she was worried about her license.  They too, were history;  another threatened with a cease & desist and a lawsuit.

The pattern of accepting inappropriate students (continuing after licensing and name change to RCS), against the schools own set guidelines for admissions is clear.  The school shall continue these inappropriate admissions until the ORCC stops them, or a child, or staff member dies.

The ORCC reports that there have been four attempted suicides by hanging since September 2010 (what the ORCC knows about). Students and staff have been targeted by violent offenders (ORCC reports), including LCSO incident reports of two riots.  Near 70 dispatch calls by LCSO to RCS in the last two years(LSCO logs), medication mishaps(ORCC reports), now another attempted suicide (it is reported that EMS and the LCSO were not called) and another child beaten by violent thugs.

The ORCC is mulling things over ... SIX years later.   It is very quaint in Dahlonega, very contained.  

Marla McGhee's letter
 Runs From HLA
Author  Topic:   Teacher Runs From HLA
marla  posted 2/7/05 5:15 PM      
As per this demand, Marla’s post was deleted
http://fornits.com/wwf/viewtopic.php?to ... =90#154999
Quote
I am a rare adult survivor of HLA - I got out IN FEBRUARY 2005,with a little sanity left. After teaching special education for nearly 20 years, I only survived 6 months at HLA. The kids don't feel they can talk to their counselors - maybe its manipulation - maybe not, so they told me things, but I was not in a position to do much except listen without criticizing them and then report safety concerns.ACTUALLY I REPORTED A SAFETY CONCERN TO A COUNSELOR (D.S.) THE DAY I LEFT. IT WAS ABOUT A GIRL WHO HAD JSUT RETURNED FROM A PSYCH HOSPITAL FOR TRYING TO COMMIT SUICIDE WHILE SHE WAS ON "clean air" _ where there is supposed to be extra supervision - THE GIRL HAD CUT SEVERAL MORE TIMES (mostly small stuff)DURING THE 24 - 36 HOURS SHE HAD BEEN BACK AT HLA AND TOLD ME SHE DIDN'T FEEL SAFE AND THOUGHT SHE NEEDED TO RETURN TO THE PSYCH HOSPITAL - I TOLD DOUG S. - ONE OF HER COUNSEWLORS ABOUT IT AND HE SAID "WELL, TELL HER TO CUT AGAIN AND THEN WE'LL SEND HER BACK TO THE PSYCH HOSPITAL." They certainly can't tell their parents their real feelings and experiences without being punished for being manipulative by those who are assigned to monitor their mail, email and phone calls. HLA is not the panacea for all teen problems - most of which kids grow out of or learn to use to their advantage in the business world. Some HLA kids need counseling, some need AA, some need psych hospitals; most need love and time to mature - most are there because their parents were MANIPULATED BY ED. CONSULTANTS AND HLA advertisements. Want a GREAT LAUGH? Go to "struggling teens.com/archives/2001/6/visit01.html" this is a site from "Woodbury Reports, Inc." some ed. consultant deal out of Idaho . This site, while only a few years old, certainly did not describe the HLA I just left. The article claimed the campus was attractive - that's about the only info. I can agree with in their entire review. All the "players" names have changed, except Len, who still owns it and seems like a decent guy, only he leaves the "Mice to play" while he does all his other business things and they do whatever they find most convenient (and maybe even sadistically fun). The article says all teachers are certified - try maybe 20%! The site claims all the kids have IEPs - not! Even if they come in with an IEP, HLA does not have to abide by it because they are a private institution. 100% do not attend college! The cafeteria does not over look the lake - maybe they visited on a rainy day! Restrictions kids get less food and water and are supervised by folks with questionable objectives. Most of the counselors are straight out of college with no experience, so they buy into what the administrators feed them about treating kids in a very punitive way and being constantly suspicious, not to mention telling them behavior modification works. It has been proven that behavior modification in humans is temporary at best.PARENTS - DO YOURSELF AND YOUR WALLET A FAVOR - BEFORE PICKING ANY BOARDING SCHOOL, VISIT UNANNOUNCED AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, AFTER PLACING YOUR KID IN ONE, VISIT UNANNOUNCED. Refuse to be treated like a mushroom- kept in the dark and fed crap! (Parents need to know when their son has been beaten up by a group of homophobic guys. (Some of the kids who came to tell me their problems were gay and felt they were being discriminated against because of this by their counselors and others.) Parents need to know when their daughter has stepped in big puddles of blood first thing in the morning that were left behind by her suicidal roomate. Parents need to know that group therapy has been shown to be more harmful than helpful for "cutters." THIS IS ALL SERIOUS AND FROM THE HEART BECAUSE I TRULY CARE ABOUT THESE KIDS.  

Clarke Poole's Emails
Quote
From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 12:57 PM

To: Christy Jones; John McMillon; Josh Watson; Clarke Poole

Cc: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: HLA Student Profile.....

Please give a brief summary of the student you feel is a good fit for HLA. I want to make sure Admissions and the counseling department are on the same page. J

THANKS!!!!!

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 3:44 PM

To: Nicole Fuglsang; Christy Jones; John McMillon; Josh Watson

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

One whose parents can afford the tuition.

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 3:48 PM

To: Clarke Poole; Christy Jones; John McMillon; Josh Watson

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

This is not the standard we want to set!

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 3:48 PM

To: Nicole Fuglsang; Christy Jones; John McMillon; Josh Watson

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

There are ideals, and there is reality.

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 4:01 PM

To: Clarke Poole

Cc: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

Clarke, make sure all your potential students are reviewed by me before forwarding them on to Len.

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 4:01 PM

To: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

I'll be glad to, Nicole; but lets be real. Len and Len alone sets the standards for admission to HLA. It really doesn't matter much what we or Counseling think. It's his call, plain and simple.

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 5:28 PM

To: Clarke Poole

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

Clarke,

You are either part of the Team or you are not. You chose. There are standards whether you use them or not.

If you are having bad day or have become frustrated please forward your emails to me directly instead of sharing your negativity with all around you.

I wouldn’t take a student profile to Len that I didn’t think was appropriate or borderline appropriate, it would be a waste of his time.

He trusts his staff maybe he is putting to much trust in you if you feel you do not need to follow the standards for the type of student that is appropriate for HLA.

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 10:17 AM

To: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

Nicole... this deserves a thoughtful reply, and this morning I have a tour that should arrive at any moment followed by a move-in this afternoon. There is also some follow-up with the 4 move-ins I have scheduled for the rest of the week, but between now and then I will reply and we should certainly get together.

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 11:05 AM

To: Clarke Poole

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

I would love to meet with you Clarke and discuss your concerns.

Also, do you have copies for all the files for Fridays move-in’s or do you still need some from RCI?

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 9:50 AM

To: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: FW: HLA Student Profile.....

Nicole,

Let me first acknowledge that I responded inaccurately to your initial request for a student profile summary of applicants deemed appropriate for admission to HLA. You asked for my opinion on appropriateness, and I responded, somewhat but not altogether facetiously, with what I see as the official view of appropriateness.

To be absolutely clear on this, I have no lack of confidence in my ability to submit appropriate applicants for approval. In fact, based on some of the acceptances I've seen in the last year or so, I am confident that my opinions on acceptances would have been far less problematic than how some of the official acceptances turned out. This might be due to the fact that my focus would be solely on the appropriateness of the student for this school, rather than concerns based on finances or consultant politics.

There is a fairly long list of students whose appropriateness I have questioned, especially in the last year or so. To point to just a few, let's look at (Jane Doe 1), (John Doe 1), and (John Doe 2).

(Jane Doe 1) had trouble here from the beginning, with most of her incidents involving violence. Finally, she was complicit in an elopement that culminated in the physical, and, by all indications, sexual assault on another student who was hospitalized for several days due to her physical injuries, especially internal injuries in the pelvic area. Then, rather than being dismissed immediately, she remained enrolled here for another month. The educational consultant who referred her to Hidden Lake was (Consultant 1).

(John Doe 1) came here with a very troubling history and equally troubling psychological evaluation. He was constantly involved in trouble including physical assaults on other students. He finally attacked and threatened to kill another student and the on-call clinical staff was called to evaluate him. She determined he was not only sincere but determined to actually try to kill the other student, and signed the order to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital. He did not return to Hidden Lake. The educational consultant who referred him to Hidden Lake was its owner, Len Buccellato.

Finally, we have (John Doe 2). Why in the name of Heaven this boy was ever even considered for admission to Hidden Lake is beyond me. He should have been in a padded cell in a psychiatric prison, and we knew it going in. It's difficult to distinguish his psychological evaluation, which was done by Len Buccellato and Brad Carpenter, from that of Hannibal Lecter's. Yet, in spite of first hand knowledge that this boy was not only totally inappropriate but dangerous, he was approved for admission and attended for a full year, interspersed with hospitalizations, until withdrawn by his parents. The educational consultant who referred him to Hidden Lake was (Consultant 2).

As an aside to this disgraceful episode with (John Doe 2), I took a call several months ago from (Consultant 3) an educational consultant in Miami. She had received from us a copy of Lakeside Reflections, in which was a photo of (John Doe 2). A month before (John Doe 2)’s family contacted (Consultant 2) for help in finding placement, they had called on (Consultant 3) at her office. She had, quite sensibly, recommended only RTC's for (John Doe 2), but there was his picture in Lakeside Reflections, a Hidden Lake student. In her excited (foreign) accent, she said "Clarke! My God, Clarke! This boy is a student there? Oh my God!" At least I was able to tell her he was no longer enrolled, but I was unable to give her a reason as to why he had ever been accepted in the first place without opening an ethical can of worms, so I feigned ignorance.

There are others, of course, who were known from the beginning to be inappropriate for placement, and I'll be glad to go into them with you, but I'm sure you are starting to get the point. Len has repeatedly said to me and everyone else who has ever worked in this department that "we do not do well with dysthymic kids", yet I have never seen a dysthymic kid not accepted for admission. If we know we do poorly with them, why accept them? At least they are not a danger to others, but they do little for our retention rate, which currently stands at 40% for the Peer Groups graduating in May (assuming none of the few who remain are withdrawn between now and then).

This brings us back to your question about my being or not being a part of the team. Just for clarification, you stated "You chose", indicating I have already made my decision, and the implication was that I had chosen to not be a part of the team. Perhaps you meant to say "choose", but perhaps not. I have, in fact, chosen, but not in the sense that you imply. As I said in an e-mail to you and Len several months ago, every comment and observation I have made as an HLA employee has been made with the intention of calling to management's attention practices that I believe are detrimental to the reputation and longevity of Hidden Lake Academy, as well as the safety and therapeutic well being of its students. Also as I pointed out, every time I do so I am reprimanded. I have a long list of such occurrences archived which I'll be glad to share with you and with others, should that be necessary. I am trying to be a member of this team, but I am not an automaton or a sheep. I have views and opinions which I am qualified by education and experience to express. No one has to like them or act on them, and obviously no one ever has; but I still feel compelled to state them, even if it puts my job in jeopardy, especially if I believe they involve ethical compromises and issues of student safety.

I'll be glad to meet with you and with Len to discuss these and all other issues that are of concern to you; and when we do so, I will go into a longer list of concerns of my own. I would appreciate a response to the issues I have raised here in response to your question regarding my commitment to this school, and my competence in evaluating applicants.

Sincerely,

Clarke Poole

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 1:37 PM

To: Clarke Poole

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

While we will address the majority of this email not on email… I wanted to make one comment….

This whole topic came about because of the comment you made that an appropriate student is “one whose parents can afford the tuition”.

It was interesting to see that of the three families you discussed two were provided with significant financial aid because their families could not afford the HLA tuition.

Doesn’t really fit with your statement.

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 1:39 PM

To: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

As I noted in my response below, that comment was partially in jest. It has no bearing on the description of the students' appropriateness for this school. I'll be glad to meet with you at any time.

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 2:02 PM

To: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: FW: HLA Student Profile.....

I have reviewed my notes for these families and I see nothing to indicate that any of them requested one cent of financial aid. May I ask the source of your information and also ask you to check this out yourself? As I indicated, it still has no bearing on anything, but I want to make sure we each have all our facts right before we go into a meeting.

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 2:08 PM

To: Clarke Poole

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

I know because I was a part of the approval process while they were at RCI and then moved on to HLA.

I know for a fact the level of aid they were getting at RCI & HLA as I worked with both families directly.

I am the source of this information.

Sincerely,

Nicole Fuglsang, MA, NCC, LPC

Director of Public Relations/Admissions

phone (706) 867-1720

fax (706) 864-5826

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Sat 2/25/2006 9:57 PM

To: Nicole Fuglsang; Bill Gray Jr.; Len Buccellato; John McMillon; John McMillon; David Reifenberger; David Jordan; Mark Keith; Christy Jones

Subject: FW: HLA Student Profile.....

Nicole,

I can understand precisely why you said you do not want to continue to address my concerns over student safety and unethical practices on e-mail. However, there are several final points I want to make for the record.

(1) You stated with total certainty that two of the students referred to below received "significant financial aid because their families could not afford the HLA tuition." Upon my questioning the accuracy and veracity of your statement, you also said "I know because I was a part of the approval process while they were at RCI and then moved on to HLA. I know for a fact the level of aid they were getting at RCI & HLA as I worked with both families directly. I am the source of this information." The adamancy with which you state your position is compelling. However, it is totally false.

I went to Bill Gray's office at 4:30 Friday afternoon and asked him to personally check the financial records for the three students in question as a means to help me refresh my memory. He did so in my presence. None of these students received one cent of financial aid. (Jane Doe 1)’s family received the Ridge Creek rebate the first month she attended Hidden Lake Academy, rather than the third month as is normally the case. However, the amount of tuition paid by her family was exactly the same as any other family. There was no financial aid requested or granted to any of these three families, period. This raises the question in my mind as to why you so steadfastly insisted that you were right in spite of my urging you to check your facts.

The whole business of financial aid was, of course, a red herring designed to deflect the focus away from the point of my letter: that the safety of Hidden Lake Academy students is being compromised by the improper and unethical admission of totally inappropriate and dangerous students. As I noted, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the concerns I had raised. Just for the record, (John Doe 2)’s psychological evaluation, conducted and signed by Len Buccellato, includes a diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder, Pedophilia, and Personality Disorder with Antisocial Features. I am still waiting for your response as to why this boy, as well as the others, was approved by Len Buccellato to attend Hidden Lake Academy.

(2) You are the Director of Public Relations for both Hidden Lake Academy and Ridge Creek, as well as Director of Admissions for both institutions. In this job, you are the public face and voice of both programs. It would stand to reason that we would want in this very important position someone whose integrity is above reproach, since you speak for both programs. The fact that you intentionally attempted to mislead, obfuscate, and deflect rather than address honestly my concerns regarding student safety and ethical placement is, in my opinion, an insult not just to me, but to everyone in either of these schools, students and staff alike, as well as the parents of students and the educational consultants who they hired to assist with placement.

On January 31, 2006, you sent out a notice to all staff, and perhaps others outside HLA, that the "new student riding program will be completely operational by February 1st, 2006". It was obvious to all with eyes that this was impossible, since it was nothing more than a small area of scraped dirt the day before. I sent a reply to you stating "This is exactly what gets us in trouble with parents and consultants." I never received a reply. The "riding program" is still in exactly the same shape as it was the day you sent the announcement... no horses, no program.

If this approach to "public relations" is condoned by management, then it is no wonder we are constantly losing both students and staff. It is wrong, dishonest, and shameful.

(3) I am still waiting for answers to the questions I raised with you regarding admissions policy. In my capacity as senior admissions coordinator, I have an ethical responsibility to the parents and educational consultants with whom I work to be able to assure them that their children and clients are safe in this environment and properly placed here according to their needs and our ability to successfully address those needs. I am requesting a face-to-face meeting with you and with Len Buccellato to assure me that policy will be changed and those crucial issues properly addressed. I am also requesting that David Reifenberger, Director of Human Resources, also be present. Unless I am granted this meeting and in it given personal assurances by Len Buccellato that these concerns and others that I intend to raise will be immediately and honestly addressed, I have no choice but to tender my resignation in accordance with proceedures proscribed in the HLA Employee Handbook effective at close of business on March 15, 2006.

I am copying Len Buccellato, owner of HLA; Bill Grey, Director of Operations, HLA; John McMillon and Christy Jones, Director and Associate Director of Counseling for HLA, respectively, who you copied on your original e-mail; David Reifenberger, Director of Human Resources; David Jordan, Director of Counseling for Ridge Creek; and Mark Keith, Director of Operations for Ridge Creek.

Sincerely,

Clarke Poole

From: Nicole Fuglsang

Sent: Sun 2/26/2006 9:37 AM

To: Clarke Poole

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

Clarke,

We will meet Monday to discuss your concerns.

Again, email is not the appropriate place for this conversation as things are easily misconstrued. It concerns me that you are so willing to slander those around to try to prove your point. I understand that you are frustrated and apparently angry but is unprofessional to continue this email banter. It seems as though you just want to do this to get what you "think" in writing.

As to your statement below.... I expressed my understanding of the situation. If it was wrong I will correct it. Jumping to the conclusion that I "intentionally attempted to mislead, obfuscate, and deflect rather than address honestly my concerns regarding student safety and ethical." is completely false, slanderous and is absolutely insulting. Again email is not the place for this conversation as thoughts and tone of an email may be misconstrued. We will meet on Monday to discuss your concerns.

Nicole'

From: Clarke Poole

Sent: Sun 2/26/2006 10:12 AM

To: Nicole Fuglsang

Subject: RE: HLA Student Profile.....

For the record, Nicole, the definition of "slander" is to utter a false report. Unlike your e-mails, mine contain only facts which I or anyone else can verify. I will be in my office by 8:30 tomorrow morning, and I will be ready to meet with you and the two others at that time.

Dr. Horwitz Letter to Parents

Quote
GENERAL PSYCHIATRY
COMMONS
BUILDING ONE, SUITE 730
ATLANTA. GA. 30328
Phone 770-394-5050 Fax 770-730-0998

5/15/05

Dear HLA Parents,

Due to the fact that so many parents have inquired regarding my departure from HLA, I see no reason to withhold the truth. Two months ago, HLA hired another psychiatrist, to "Help share the load and give parents a choice". Which I thought was an excellent decision. Very quickly HLA started having her see many of the students I had been treating without informing me or having me discuss the case with her. This was frequently done in the guise of quoting me as asking for a "second opinion" even in most cases where I had worked closely with the parents and the student was doing excellent. As of yet, the new psychiatrist still has made no attempt to contact me even to say hello. My guess is HLA has strongly discouraged this contact.

As time went on, no new students were assigned to me. On several occasions 1 specifically asked both the HR director (who never returned my calls), and the CFO if I would be replaced. I was told on several occasions that 1 definitely was to be staying Only after some pressing and pointing out the odd behavior on the part of HLA did the assistant head counselor state in fact, I was being "phased out". Keeping in mind that HLA is a small community. I can hardly believe that these events were simply an oversight or a communicat: jn issue.

I believe this deceptive process which HLA had chosen is highly unethical and clearly is not in the student's or parent's best interest in any way. Therefore, by their actions, HLA has assumed total responsibility for any student under my care and has the complete task of their continued care whether it is to transport them to my office or have the new psychiatrist conduct a complete evaluation and continued treatment. As is clearly evident, the transition could have been ridiculously easy, professional, and effective if HLA had simply been open and forthright regarding their intentions.

I hope you can appreciate my actions and current position in not being able to work effectively in such an environment. I was saddened to quickly leave under such circumstances. I can only hope that HLA keeps their new pool cleaner than they did their relationship with me. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. 1 very much enjoyed working with you and your child and hope I was of help. Thank you.

Sincerely,

V ~~
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