Author Topic: Hyde School Survivor testimony  (Read 651 times)

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Offline survivorami

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Hyde School Survivor testimony
« on: July 02, 2021, 07:40:00 PM »
An anonymous submission by a survivor of Hyde:

I attended the Hyde Woodstock Campus for two years and graduated. I came to Hyde because my therapist recommended it due to another client who attended Hyde School. Before I went, I was in a residential facility for a year due to suicide attempt, self-harm, and alcohol and drug abuse. I was a victim of sexual abuse and physical abuse by a family member. During summer challenge, we were doing an activity and I shared this abuse. My discovery group turned on me and told me all I did was pity myself. I was told by two staff members that I took myself too seriously, I was too sensitive, and I live in a perpetual state of self-pity. I will never forget those words or forgive those who uttered them. Although now I believe in not dwelling in trauma, at that age I was not able to understand why anyone would say this to me. I was humiliated. I was belittled.

After summer challenge, I started my junior year. I hitched a ride with another family and had a cigarette at the house before we left. I was on 2-4 for several weeks for breaking travel ethics. During this time, I was not allowed to call my family. I was isolated from the community. I was not athletic; I was not popular. I was often bullied by the people in my class due to these things. I was always given the worst jobs on campus, such as dinner crew and cleaning toilets. I never received a nice room, like the many other attractive and athletic students. They often treated me poorly during the sports I played with them and mocked me. My peers monitored me on 2-4 and often gave me work outs and I often threw up. I was once forced to do a trail run in the rain and fell on a rock and split open my knee. I needed stitches and I was not given the opportunity and have a scar to this day. I was sick once and coughing up blood from a severe sinus infection and the nurse did not believe I was sick. I did call my mother and they granted me treatment.

Before I returned for my senior year, they were not going to promote me. The only reason I was promoted was I believe my parents refused to pay for me to repeat a junior year when I was doing well academically. I remember packing up all my belongings and loading it into my friend’s car at home and begging my mother to send me to a wilderness program instead. She said she would. I ended up returning to Hyde on 2-4 for my actions during the summer and being a probationary senior. Many of my peers and friends were not promoted a grade. One person was on his third junior year. During my senior year, I hated my classmates so much I did not want to be on the varsity teams.

Dean’s area consisted of only the most attractive girls and athletic boys at school. I found out after I graduated that the Dean was having a sexual relationship with at least one of the students I knew. I believe he was grooming young girls and abusing his power. This is verified and this abuse did occur. These students were not given these positions of power on merit. They were given them on looks, and many of them were awful bullies who delighted in proctoring and administering work outs to those in trouble. Many of them were likely “dirty” themselves. There was not a time at Hyde when I did not break the ethic of “brother’s keeper”. I had a close friend who was always breaking the rules. During a big bust, they brought him in the room, and I would not admit to knowing anything. I was sat for hours in front of a piece of paper and a pencil and interrogated. Since I was not forthcoming with this, I spent several weeks in punishment. I was not permitted to call my parents. One incident, I remember we were moving rocks and we made a structure of them. They made us all move the rocks and to another location and somebody spoke. I remember a brutal workout because this was right after lunch, and I threw up everywhere. At lunch, if someone got too much food on their plate, they were forced to eat it. I did this once, and when I could not finish my friends also on 2-4 offered to eat it. One of them threw up.

For years I had the Hyde nightmares. That I was back there. That I could not escape. I would scream in my dreams; I have a Master’s degree! I am done with high school!

I crashed and burned during my first year of college. I used so many drugs I do not even remember that year. I do not blame this on Hyde, I had addiction issues. But I was traumatized by some staff and mostly my peers. I did not fit in. I had 2 teachers who were particularly vicious to me. I would ask a lot of questions, and I was criticized for that. If was quiet, I would be criticized for not being a leader. Senior evaluations were brutal for me. I sat in a room while my peers (who in general I did not fit in at all), tore me apart. I was different. I have always thought that Hyde was the place where all the bullies go when no other school would take them. But there were also people like me with significant emotional, physical, sexual, and medical trauma. I received no outside counseling while at Hyde. I did receive medication management.

My parents were impressed. I was able to graduate High school when I would not get out of bed at home. I did well at Hyde for fear of punishment. My vocabulary improved. I had my pick of colleges.
I don’t disagree with accountability and structure for troubled teens. I do not even disagree with tough love. But Hyde at times was brutal. I had survived a lot, and I think Hyde taught me to be even more of a survivor. If I could make it through that program, I can do anything. And now I help troubled youth. I am a social worker. I am not worthless, as they often made me feel. I thought I was being sensitive. I went to a reunion once. I spoke to some of my old teachers. I joked about my days at Hyde, our misdeeds, childish stuff. They did not find it funny and suggested I come back and do another senior year.

I am not bitter about it. I was angry at my parents for a long time, but I know now they did what they felt they had to.  I made choices to make my life better. Being a good student helped me with that and I have a career path that means a lot to me. I want to give to other people, because of what I have been through. But the truth is, Hyde was not equipped to handle true mental health issues. I know some of my classmates have never recovered from their time at Hyde. I know many who have committed suicide or have died of drug overdoses. It did not break me, but it could have. I had already survived worse things in my life. It made me stronger, but not for the reasons they intended.

Original post on Hyde School Survivors Facebook page: