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Messages - psy

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The Troubled Teen Industry / Tution and other questions.
« on: October 13, 2006, 10:24:38 PM »
The US Department of State is quite a cushy employer when one is posted overseas.  Education for all children is paid for in full until the age of 21.  My parents contacted an educational consultant (surprised?) by the name of Ann(e) Weiss (a personal friend of Jayne Longnecker), who recommended Benchmark Young Adult School.

     Many students were sent to benchmark because their values clashed with those of thier parents.  One kid i knew was sent there since his parents were going through a nasty divorce and didn't want him to bear witness to it.  Another was sent there for asburgers.  Other reasons:
    ADHD (a sizable portion of the students)
    bulemia / anorexia
    learning difficulties
    being socially a bit slow
    mild autism

     The reasons posted in my above post (from their NATSAP entry) are actually fairly accurate, though many of the problems were greatly exaggerated.  For example, i would fall under the category of "Distressed family relationships."  While that was true at the time, we found a way to get along eventually.

     For the most part, the kids were normal and would have done just fine anywhere else (though the staff would undoubtedly dispute this.)  The program did not care if a kid was normal.  As long as the parents were willing to pay, they were willing to torture the kids psychologically.  There were kids there with drug and alcohol issues but i would estimate the percentage at somewhere around 30% to 40%.

     As you can imagine, someone who was shy, suffered from depression, or had any number of the listed issues, would not be helped at all by the program.  They claimed a 97% success rate when we toured the program.  I don't know how they got that number.  Maybe they count "success" as eating out of a dumpster on the streets.

     According to their private school Affadavit (excel format.  go to cell B2436) they employ 10 full time teachers.  This is fradulent unless they count the teachers at Redlands Adult School (even then i don't think it would add up to 10, and they are most definately not full time teachers at Benchmark young adult school).  You should know, Jayne, that lying to the feds can get you in big big trouble.  here is the Educational staff listing on their website.  I count four.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Suing them.
« on: October 13, 2006, 02:06:48 PM »
Suing them is not feasable for me at the moment.  My parents, unlike most who sent thier children there, did not have to pay for the program.  Since my father was/is a State Department employee, my stay at that wonderful program was entirely compllmentary of the US taxpayer.  The lawyer I, and my parents could hire would not be of the caliber likely to win agains a dream team assembled with the financial resources at Benchmark's disposal.  I have waited until now, when i have found other survivors, to speak out publicly.

My hope is to raise awareness about the program to the point where current / former program parents start raising questions and perhaps take legal action of their own.  I do not want their blood money.  I merely want them shut down.  Hopefully at that point parents and their kids will start to reconcile, realizing the lies woven to tear them apart.

Thanks for the link.  I will file a report at ISAC.  I will inform other survivors i have found of this as well.

I was homeschooled as a child until the age of 18.  Although I found it isolating at times, it did not mean i did not have friends on the outside.  The education i received was from an accredited institution and was generally top notch (although infused with a liberal dose of religious indoctrination).

As you can see i am quite literate (more so than for example, many staff i would meet in the program i would be sent to.)  Home schooling, although not particularly my desired form of education at the time, actually put me ahead of many of many of my collegues, educationally, who i would later meet at college.

I was sent to program because it was advertised as a boarding school.  My parents and I were having a religious and philosophical dispute at the time which contributed to this decision(they are very religious, i am not).  We both undersood that the reason for my placement in benchmark was to complete High school.

After a year of hell, they figured out enough of what was really going on in program to "rescue me".  We found, by simply not discussing certain issues and/or aggreeing to disagree, we were able to get along fine.  All that is needed for reconciliation between parents and thier children is for the truth to come out.

I hear ex-"students" on this site bashing their parents for sending them there.  I felt the same way until i realized they had no idea what was going on.  They were lied to and the little communication that was allowed was filtered and distorted to convey the meaning the staff members wanted.  Yes there were some parents of students I knew who were just plain fucked up, who didn't care.  90% of them, however, were, and still are, kept in the dark.  It is impossable to know which of the two groups your parents are in until they are exposed to the truth.  If they had known, I would never had forgiven them as I have.

Lies went both ways.  I was told lies about my parents as well.  Communication was filtered so there was no way to know the truth.  The goal of many programs is to sever the relationship between the parent and child to produce a buffer of mistrust, damaging the credibility of any accusations the children had, while at the same time making it less likely for the children to trust thier parents enough to confide in them.

The program i was at was for over 18 students.  It was run by a former CEDU employee, director of Hilltop, (Jayne Longnecker), who hired from much the same pool  (such as her ex-CEDU accountant) as the rest of the schools on this forum.

They used CEDU's techniques as well, such as the Lifespring derivative, "profeets", known where i was "Benchmark Young Adult School," as "Friendship Workshop". Sleep deprivation, no food, forced confessions, tacky music, forced self-mockery, humiliation and other mind games were all inherited from CEDU, as well as some inventions of their own.  They purchaced the rights to use these techinques (which makes me wonder whether the CIA has any intellectual property they wish to sell).

You may wonder "How could they do this if the students were over 18?"  Well the program was in a -- not very nice area of southern california.  We could leave if we wished (and many tried), but we could not take our money or many of our belongings.  My identification was held from me, further complicating the possibility of leaving program.  Yes they could not legally do this, but they did, and what was a student to do?  Get a lawyer?  With what money?  Contact the parents?  With what credibility?

Students who went AWOL with no money, no transportation, no housing etc. were forced to live on the streets, under bridges and in tunnels.  Some were raped, some are dead, and some are probably still living on the streets (no doubt deserving their fate for not following the "program")  This type of thing is a common sight in Redlands california.  The local police are told the students are problem kids who couldn't deal with the program.  Given the propensity of the police to believe the "educational institution", the kids had little hope of alerting legal attention (nor did most of them have much faith in the "system" given their experiences with institutions of authority).

Students who went AWOL knew their chances, and yet they still left.  Ask yourself why?  No it's not drugs or booze.  You need money for that, and half of the student population had no substance issues anyway.  Students were there for: (and i'm quoting their entry on NATSAP:)
?    Academically unsuccessful
?    Adoption issues
?    Attention deficit (ADD/ADHD)
?    Distressed family relationships
?    Drug/alcohol abuse
?    Inability to emancipate
?    Irresponsible behavior
?    Lacking motivation
?    Learning differences
?    Poor judgment
?    Requiring structured environment
?    Shy/withdrawn
?    Signs of depression
You may say "oh they could sell themselves for drugs."  They could.  But i would imagine some did sell themselves for food.

They had NO qualifications whatsoever for learning disabliities.  I have a handwriting disablilty known as disgraphia.  We informed the program of this fact when I arrived.  An educational psychologist certified this as an educational requirement.  We were told i would be able to use my palmtop computer to take notes, and after a month i would receive my desktop computer.  During this first month, no parent communication is allowed at all.  A cynical person would suspect this is because the tuition refund deadline expires by then.

After a month of being an absolute angel, my palmtop was suddenly taken away, and I was informed i would not be getting my desktop either.  I was shocked.  I thought since i obeyed all the rules I would be rewarded.  WRONG.

So then i began to speak out.  If they were not going to play by the rules, why would I?  Were they supposed to be some sort of example of "how to be trustworthy".  As i realised the lies, i felt like such a fool.  One wound not expect such treatment from a licenced instution.  Licenced by whom?  oops.

When i was placed in a motel for being a little too vocal about the abuse that took place in the program, and a little too influential over other the attitudes of othere students, i would let AWOL kids stay in my room.  When this was discovered, i was transferred to another motel.

Motels are where approximately 30 to 40% of the student population (when i was there) were placed under these, or similar circumstances.  It was meant to be a punishment but many saw it as a reward.  It was hardly a reward, however.  Although i was able to (by threatening legal action and bluffing about procuring a pro-bono lawyer) procure the remainder of my posessions that had been denied and adequate sustainence, most students in motel were only provided with Three "Cup 'O' Noodles" a day along with a granola bar.  (go look on the back of a cup of noodles, under nutritional informaion, i dare you.  Consult a nutritionist if this does not somehow bother you.)  Some were kept on this inadequate diet for months.  The motels were hardly luxurious and were raided by the cops on an almost nightly basis for anything ranging from domestic violence to drug dealing. (Redlands is not a nice place at night)  Although the tuition was 80000 a year at the time, Benchmark only paid 60 dollars a week for the motel i stayed in.  My parents were "appalled" by what they saw there.

It is worth noting that students posessions are kept by benchmark in a warehouse connected to the Benchmark "Ed-centre" (which is "emptied" occasionally.)  Students who leave program are not allowed to get their property back, and are told they must receive authorization from their parents.  Given the propoganda, and censored communication, do you think the parents are likely to aggree, considering they are often told a student will buy drugs with the loot.  Now consider that i brought with me over 3000 dollars worth of computer equipment(value at the time).  The warehouse was littered with goodies.  What do you think happens when the warehouse is full?

There has been one suicide in the program that i know of as well as multiple attempts.  While I was there, a 17 year old kid attempted suicide, which he later explained was an attempt to get a vacation from the place.  Suicide attempts were sent to a local medical facility, and when released were returned to program.  The were forced to pay the bills covering the cost of the ambulance by working for less than minimum wage on "work ethic" which was a system of punishment wherby "fines" were worked off at 2.50 an hour.  Since fines were handed out so freely for things such as, talking to girls (at level one, this was not allowed), it was not uncommon for half of the student population to be working the entire weekend away, digging holes in a sand pit, and then filling them back up.  Conditions were not sanitary at all.  The sand contained anything from broken glass to animal bones.  The parents visiting were told a Volleyball court was being built (though they never saw the students laboring).  I was told this when i toured.  When i came to Benchmark in 2001, They keep one empty, remodeled apartment to show visitors, and claimed that the rest were in disrepair and being remodeled.  A student i recently contacted, who was sent to the school in 2003, was told the exact same thing about the apartments when he toured with his father.

We were told by staff members (who probably believed it considering their level of education) that we had signed our constitutional rights away when we entered program.  Although I tried to point out this was not legally possable, many kids there had been in program since their early teens and had no idea what was, or was not, against the law.  It's not like the emphasis was on education in the program there.  None of the resident councelors during my stay at benchmark even had high school diplomas (although many had multiple felony convictions,) yet this place was accredited as a high school.  Students in need of high school diplomas were bussed off to Redlands Adult School where they (if they were lucky enough to earn the privelage to attend) finished their high school educations.

To those who ask: Why yes it is a member of NATSAP.  Perhaps you can request a tour for which cherry picked students (threatened with "consequences") will be delighted to tell you what a wonderful place Benchmark is.  This was routine whenever there was a parent coming to tour the facility and interview students.

To those who certify schools i have one word for your naivete: Terezienstadt
If indeed it is naivete, and not corruption.

I was very lucky since most kids were simply dropped on the streets, as my parents were told told by the program's Goebbels like parent relations councelor, that i would fail miserably and cause all sorts of chaos.  This parent relations councelor's name is Carl Janowitz.  Some may know him from such wonderful student getaways such as "Cascade" which was shut down for rampant child sexual abuse.  He has since left the program and is now a child psychologist in Thailand (which he frequented in program to visit his sponsored children).  Now i am going for my master's degree as an art/IT student so his predictions of failure have proven a little off the mark.  Thanks Carl for the vote of confidence.  I love you Carl.  Hugs. :D

To The Benchmark Employee spidering the web:

If some Benchmark employee wants to contest these facts pointed out in this document in court, I would welcome the opportunity.  Remember who you are fucking with Jayne.  I've had a lot of time to prepare, and you throw out a lot walking, talking, bundles of gratitude who i'm sure would love the opportunity to jump to your defense *sarcasm intended*.[/quote][/b]

The Troubled Teen Industry / Pencils?!!
« on: October 13, 2006, 02:23:51 AM »
Wait til they discover pencils can be used to stab you in the eye.  What about x-acto knives, scissors, belts etc etc etc.  Almost anything can be used as a deadly weapon.  Oh the stupdity of it all never ceases to surprise me.

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