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Rest in peace, motherfucker.

The Ridge Creek School / Hidden Lake Academy / The Beat Goes On
« on: September 27, 2011, 05:06:46 PM »
There's still a lot going on with HLA/RCS. The property on which the school sits is to be auctioned on the Lumpkin County courthouse steps next week, the same day as Bucchi's bankruptcy hearing in Atlanta. See details and other good stuff at

This was posted today on Jilliestake:

Saturday, July 23, 2011
For those of you that were not privy to Ridge Creek School facility when it was Hidden Lake Academy, Mr. Clarke Poole worked in Admissions, degreed in Psychology, and was working on his PhD.  Mr. Poole submitted his resignation citing his repeated concerns over  "unsafe and unethical practices regarding the admission of certain students to Hidden Lake Academy."  His resignation letter went to educational consultants citing his concern for the  "physical and emotional safety of the families and children you refer."

Mr. Poole released  the now infamous (1) "in-house emails" between himself, Mr. Buccellato and Ms. Nicole Fuglsang. Ms. Fuglsang, unlike Mr. Poole, walked away taking Hidden Lake Academy secrets with her. Ms. Fuglsang was a "mandated reporter," like the rest of staff all these years, she did nothing.

Mr. Poole was vilified, threatened with a lawsuit, much like Ms. Marla McGhee, only he was stronger and Buccellato's "henchman" disappeared into the night.  Aside from a handful of true, decent, loving friends,  most educational consultants and industry people protected their purse strings, and offered no support.

Mr. Lon Woodbury was one such educational consultant and industry blogger.  His  "Struggling Teens" and "Woodbury Reports" apparently continues to be subjective in reporting "industry news,"  appears spineless, and obviously does not see past his bank account in exposing those facilities that tarnish what honest advocates have dedicated their life to - the safety and well-being of our children.

This came into "Jilliestake" yesterday.  At the time of publishing, there has been no response to Mr. Poole's email to Mr. Woodbury.  If Mr. Woodbury would like to respond, "Jilliestake" would be more than accommodating in publishing his response.

July 21, 2011
To: Lon Woodbury, Woodbury Reports, Inc
From: Clarke Poole
Dear Lon,
I’m wondering if you’re going to print today’s article from the Dahlonega Nugget, the link to which is found below, or if you will wait as you did the last time Ridge Creek School was in the news and print only the “rebuttal”, which was no rebuttal at all but only advertising hype written by Ridge Creek School and which never addressed the substance of the news story, although I doubt there will be a “rebuttal” this time around. Ridge Creek School is finally done.
I’d like to know, Lon, whether you’re a legitimate journalist, or a propagandist for your industry. Many parents come to your website, and hire your firm, expecting to get independent and competent advice regarding a school for their child. If the way in which you have dealt with Ridge Creek School is any indication, you have misled and ill-served your readers.
For some time, you have known or should have known, that Ridge Creek School was on the brink of collapse. You also knew, or should have known, that it was operating with skeletal staff: no Director or Assistant Director of Education, no Special Education teacher, few if any certified teachers, no Director of Operations, and the list goes on. You also knew, or should have known, that staff turnover was happening at the speed of light, with some newly hired staff leaving within a few days of being hired and some not even showing up for work on their first day. You also knew, or should have known, that Ridge Creek School’s credit rating was somewhere below zero, that staff paychecks have been bouncing for months and that for years it has been in arrears on everything from federal, state, and county taxes to paying for food service. You also knew, or should have known, that there is a growing list of lawsuits against Ridge Creek School , as well as liens that go back almost 10 years against Ridge Creek School, Hidden Lake Academy, Inc, HLA, Inc, and their owner, Len Buccellato. You knew all these things, or should have known them if you are indeed a journalist and a source of information for parents of “struggling teens” as you claim. Yet to my knowledge you never once offered a word of caution to parents who were considering Ridge Creek School as a placement option for their son or daughter. There are now scores, if not hundreds, of parents who have been left with huge debt and children who are worse off than before. Len Buccellato continued to solicit students, largely with the aid of educational consultants, and cash their tuition checks right up until the week the school announced its closing with no hint to the parents that this was the case. That money will never be recovered, and those children are left in the lurch. Your website and the news articles it contains are widely read by industry professionals and parents. You could have helped to avoid much financial pain and emotional suffering if you had printed what you knew. But you did not.
You also knew, or should have known, that Ridge Creek School was accepting students who had long histories of violence, severe psychological disorders, and criminal records. This resulted in numerous attacks on other students and staff, causing injuries requiring hospitalization. You also knew, or should have known, the long history of suicide attempts at Ridge Creek School . These are not unfounded allegations, Lon. They are facts that could have easily been verified by checking with appropriate state agencies and local law enforcement. Why did you not do this?
Ridge Creek School and its owner have ruined many lives, and by your silence and tacit support you are complicit in every one of them. As a journalist and as an educational consultant, you are a disappointment.
There is a book currently in the works that will expose all this and much more. It will name names. I’ll see that you get a copy so you can perhaps review it on your website.
Clarke Poole
Link to Dahlonega Nugget article ... ecreek.txt

The Ridge Creek School / Hidden Lake Academy / Where's Whooter?
« on: July 18, 2011, 10:34:14 AM »
Hey, Phooter! Where you been, pal? Why the uncharacteristic silence? Surely, you have some positive spin to put on all this news of Hidden Lake/Ridge Creek going down, and taking Bucchi and his bunch of gangsters with it. Let me hear it, Phoot.

Jillie's Take, http://

More children have been hurt at Ridge Creek School (RCS), formerly known as Hidden Lake Academy (HLA), a residential teen facility in Dahlonega, Georgia. A ‘tough’ group of students appears to be causing harm. Years ago, we had a handful here and there at Hidden Lake Academy (HLA), but nothing like the apparent gang mentality where the kicking of heads in appears to have become a favorite past time, aside from playing “Yahtzee.” “Yo-bro” has replaced “y’all”– perhaps achieved by watching too many reruns of “The Sopranos.”

Admission of violent students is increasingly obvious and so is the fact that the staff does not appear to be able to handle them. Admission of children with serious mental and behavioral health issues was/is not appropriate when the credentials of staff monitoring these children is that of a novice at best; lending itself to an environment that is dangerous for students and staff. This appears to run rampant at other residential teen facilities across the nation. Perhaps the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office is bored out of their gourds and looks forward to dispatching units to RCS. Either way it costs the taxpayers money and K9 -1 can cock its head to the sound of “yo-bro” while lickin’ “chew” off the ground.

Years back, facilities operating like RCS were called "reform schools.” The insane incidents at RCS make the facility more congruous to that of a PRTF (Private Residential Treatment Facility).

When RCS was Hidden Lake Academy (HLA), the tuition was approximately $5,800.00 a month in its irreverent heyday. Now, if as reported, there are approximately 40 students attending RCS paying the $3,900.00 a month in tuition, do the math. With salaries, mortgages, medical and liability insurance (if carried), property tax, state tax, local tax, federal tax, electric bill, phone bill, internet bill, monthly maintenance, various contractors including food suppliers, etc.- the outlook is grim.

RCS cannot afford to lose any more students to incarceration like Lucrezia Albegiani and Sydney Vaughn, along with others that have assaulted staff, those that assaulted their fellow students, those charged for the last riot, battery here, battery there, and the list appears infinite. RCS simply cannot afford for any other students to be arrested or prosecuted as it affects their “bottom line.”

To prevent RCS’s jugular from being exposed, much needs to be handled in-house, otherwise it will inevitably lead to their demise. If they continue to be caught not reporting incidents as occurred on 01-09-2010 (ORS/ORCC reports) RCS could be toast if the ORS/ORCC finds their backbone and is willing to take the entire debacle before the court. It was no different from when it was Hidden Lake Academy - containment.

According to parents and the ORS/ORCC, "Recreation staff"/"Night staff" continue to hand out psychotropic medication; an LPN or RPN is not a requirement for a licensed Child Caring Institution(CCI) as RCS. The only requirement is that the person needs to be trained in dispensing meds, age-21 or over. There have been seizures, med mix-ups; 245-255 med refusals over several months (ORS/ORCC reports), the list goes on ... been there, done that, continue to do it. Obviously, this regulation needs to be changed.

Hope spawned that things would change after the 2006 class action lawsuit "Ryan et al vs. Hidden Lake Academy, Inc.", the ORS investigation that prompted licensure, and the Washington GAO investigation during the Miller hearings and bill. Now RCS is worse than when it was HLA and who would have thought that was possible.

For things to change, it has to come from the top down and that goes for the entire industry and state agencies that oversee licensing. We know from the history of 830 Hidden Lake Road, whatever entity name is placed on that land, if the leadership does not change, does not relinquish, nothing will change. “Talk is cheap.”

Ask oneself … How many psychiatrists have been affiliated with HLA/RCS and why were ties severed?

Staff members come and go as if it is a hamburger joint drive-thru offering sub-standard mystery fare.

Parents are again hopeful as new staff is coming in with the same hopes and aspirations of those six months before them; offered the same promises of those that came before them a myriad of times. The North Georgia College students who work as Recreation and Night Staff will all be certified in restraint courses, CPR classes, etc. If the ORS was not breathing down RCS's neck, chances are those classes and certifications would never happen(ORS/ORCC citations/reports). Staff are presently needed, but expendable if licensure is accomplished.

Parents shall be placated, for now. Be sure to get in writing that RCS has insurance coverage including liability. Ask for the insurance carrier and make a call. Follow up monthly to make sure coverage is still in effect and the amount has not been lowered. As a CCI, insurance must be maintained. If your child is injured at RCS, you will want a stipulation that you shall receive documents immediately to file with your medical insurance carrier; be sure everything is documented. Do not sign any documents waiving liability for RCS or its owners.

The State of Georgia has a website where one can check licensing of counselors, psychiatrists, etc. Teacher certifications are also available. It is strongly recommended that a parent entrusting the well-being and care of their child to another, do their research. Do not rely on marketing or educational consultants; rely on yourself. Hidden Lake Academy and Ridge Creek School historically have marketed and published staff with a PhD, an M.D.,an MSW, etc. that did not exist, was not currently licensed/revoked, or not allowed to be licensed in the state because the title was achieved through an online course.


In addition, per the ORS/ORCC, disclosure of the profile of students attending RCS is your right before admittance of your child. If RCS accepts adjudicated children from out-of-state, in state, whether probationary, DJJ, or court-directed facility placement, this should be disclosed to prospective families and done in general fashion so as not to violate HIPAA laws.

The Office of Juvenile Justice complies with the Open Records Act. Therefore, contracts are public records. RCS had a signed contract effective on November 1, 2009 terminating on June 30, 2010(Contract # 461-93-RBWO100232Vendor 448345 NSC Spec. Res.* “non-profit.”) An extension of this contract commenced on a month-to-month basis beginning July 1, 2010. Pending is a new contract commencing on March 1, 2011 terminating June 30, 2011 (Contract #461-93-RBWO110167 Vendor 44834 NSC Spec.Res.- DJJ only -”non-profit.”).
The DJJ contract lists Ridge Creek, Inc. as a*” non-profit”. The Secretary of State website lists Ridge Creek, Inc. as a “profit corporation.” Which is it?


The only requirement for a contract with the DJJ is that RCS be a licensed CCI and follow the governing rules as set forth by KIDSTARGA at http:// . The ORS/ORCC was/ is fully aware of DJJ contracts, admission of violent children, and the potential for disaster if co-mingling of students continues. Indications suggest that RCS may discontinue their DJJ contract, but that does not prevent RCS from allowing out-of-state adjudicated/probationary children or non-adjudicated violent children from entering the student body.


In addition, familiarize yourself with the State of Georgia Rules and Regulations covering Child Caring Institutions (CCI):


Also, Facility Compliance Reports are available on the ORS/ORCC website, although not up-to-date and selective.


According to the former Executive Director of RCS, in an unusual email to parents dated Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM subject: Ridge Creek School, the email states that RCS could not make payroll.

Dear Parents,

    It is important that we take a minute this afternoon to update you on a situation that occurred this weekend.

    We went into the weekend with an unfortunate position, where as a company we needed to delay providing our staff pay checks. We currently have over $150,000 in uncollected tuition, which in combination with the economy has placed us in a difficult situation. There are plans in place for staff to receive these checks this Thursday, the 20th. We continue to have a core staff dedicated to the work being done with your children and the execution of the mission and vision of Ridge Creek School. The students, through whatever means, became aware of this situation and orchestrated a plan to create chaos and disruption on campus at lunch on Sunday the 17th. 16 students, simply stated to staff, “F-you, there are 45 of us and 7 of you,” and proceeded to walk out of the lodge. Our shift leader notified me, who called in an additional 7 staff to campus. We are blessed at Ridge Creek School to have the number of staff who live on campus and locally as we do.

    What originally started as a student walk out ended with four students being charged by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office after having broken windows on campus. Many of the students involved quickly settled back into the program upon the arrival of additional staff and were found to be in more of a follower role. A staff meeting was held this morning in which the incident was reviewed an each student staffed. The students behind orchestrating the event are being dismissed from Ridge Creek School due to the severity of their actions, most of which were new students into Ridge Creek. Student safety continues to be our number one priority, and we will continue to make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that your children remain safe and are provided the opportunity to be surrounded by positive students and given the ability to make good decisions.

    On that note, I want to take a moment to recognize the 29 students who had no involvement in this incident. These students truly showed their true character in a time of need, during which they followed staff directions, were supportive of peers and worked to provide a calm in an otherwise chaotic situation. One tearful conversation that truly sticks out was between members of our basketball team, in which they were worried they would have to forfeit the season due to the actions of some of their players, during which other students volunteered to join the team “even though I am not that great,” to ensure that they are able to complete the season that they have worked so hard in. It is this character that is the true character of a Ridge Creek School student.

    I am sure by this point all parents are wondering where their child fits into this incident. Those parents of involved students were all notified yesterday of their child’s involvement. For the remaining parents, however, I am certain that you will hear all about it from your child via email and during your call this week. The students were in the dormitory while this happened, and only have limited information as to the actual details. It is understandable that they will want to discuss the “excitement”, however it would be more beneficial to discuss what characteristic they used when faced with the decision to join in or not, and how they were supportive while this was occurring.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I will do my best to respond within a timely manner.

    Take care,

    Chris Grimwood, MSW

    Executive Director

    Ridge Creek, Inc.

    706-864-4730 x2206

Nothing new. Welcome to HLA. Where are the funds coming from to pay the new staff? RCS is up for re-licensing. Operational funds equal to one-plus years were needed to obtain a CCI license, has that changed? Was this ever addressed?

ORS/ORCC/DFCS investigation continued ... per a “call from the Commissioner.” Perhaps in the end, the ORS/ORCC will grant a “probationary license” to RCS, then slide in a full license the next year as was done before with HLA; amidst more citations and fines, because “when the cat is away ….” Former ORS Director, Keith Bostick, “If they (HLA) do one more thing, we’ll shut them down” (2007). Next - three licenses – two CCI’s and one OCCP awarded. Mission accomplished. Then again, ORS has a new director, although rooted with the old ORS entourage. Time will tell.

In an email from Mr. Bostick, then Director of the ORS, dated November 4, 2009, after the signing of the DJJ contract between Ridge Creek, Inc. and the DJJ on November 01, 2009. Mr. Bostick as the ORS Director apparently knew of the DJJ contract(if he didn’t know, he should have been fired); thus, it appears from the below email, he intentionally circumvented answering any questions put forth regarding the co-mingling of DJJ children at RCS and the existence of the DJJ contract. In addition, Mr. Bostick did not clarify that there were no DFCS children at the school. Currently, a DFCS investigator stated February 2011, there are "no DFCS children placed at the school, not to my knowledge." Easy enough.

**[Note: Three email addresses have been removed, as they were private parties. One name omitted. In addition, two attachments of ORS public documents were removed.]

Fwd: Hidden Lake Academy , Inc. HLA, Inc. Mountain Brook Academy, Ridge Creek School, Ridge Creek, Inc. , Ridge Creek Wilderness, Creekside Academy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 5:33 PM
"Keith Bostick" <[email protected]>

"B.J. Walker" <[email protected]>, "Brenda Woodard" <[email protected]>, "Carol Winstead" <[email protected]>, "David Statton" <[email protected]>, "Pamela Carr Cosby" <[email protected]>, "Shameekia Carroll" <[email protected]>

Ms. ----, below you will find my responses (Red) to your questions in your email dated 11/3/09:

Mr. Bostick,

I am requesting clarification as to exactly which entity in the above "Subject " line the ORS is currently licensing and what kind of license each entity has been granted.  A court document  filed on 10-30-09  DOC. 76 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court state the following:

The Office of Residential Child Care (ORCC) was formerly the Residential Child Care Section within the (former) Office of Regulatory Services in the (former) Department of Human Resources.  Effective July 1, 2009, ORCC became a program area in the Department of Human Services.
The ORCC inspects, monitors, licenses, investigates and enforces regulatory activities in licensed residential child caring facilities. ORCC oversees a total of five license types.
1. Your subject line referenced the following license types:
Ridge Creek, Inc. has a Child Caring Institution (CCI) License.  There was a change in ownership request received by our office on 7/21/09 and the change of ownership was approved by our office on 8/6/09.  This change in ownership was from "Hidden Lake Academy Inc.(HLA)" to "Ridge Creek, Inc."  The last license review was conducted on 12/3/2008 and the next review is due before the end of the year.
Ridge Creek, Inc-Mountain Brook Academy is licensed as a CCI.  The last license review was conducted on 12/3/2008 and the next review is due before the end of the year.
Ridge Creek, Inc.- has an Outdoor Child Caring Program (OCCP) The last license review of this program was conducted on 8/25/2009 and there were no children in placement at the time of this review.  The next review is due before 8/30/2010.

Our review also shows that there is a program called HLA Incorporated that is licensed by the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division under the Department of Community Health (DCH) and not licensed by ORCC.

"HLA is a licensed child care institution with the Georgia Department of Human Services".  Since HLA for all practical purposes only exists on paper, one must draw a conclusion, this was an error on the part of the filing attorney or perhaps not.  According to SACS State office HLA was closed and re-opened as The Ridge Creek School , although court records clearly state HLA is currently licensed by SACS.  Also, court records state that HLA is currently licensed by SAIS and SAIS confirmed that is not the case as they lost 501(c) status.    Ridge Creek School now  a propriety school cannot be licensed by SAIS .

2. ORCC no longer licenses a facility under the name Hidden Lake Academy Inc. (HLA).

According to your office,  Hidden Lake Academy, Inc./HLA and affiliated entity HLA, Inc. are no longer licensed by the ORS.  The license has been switched to Ridge Creek School, Ridge Creek, Inc. and  and/or affiliated entities.

3. See #1 above for the programs licensed by ORCC

According to the ORS web-site under Hidden Lake Academy, HLA, Inc. the ORS has deleted all reports (incomplete as they were), except 2 very old  "X-ray" reports.

4. See #1 above for the programs licensed by ORCC

According to the DJJ and DFCS,  the ORS has sanctioned the placement of DJJ and DFCS children on the premises of  the former HLA and affiliated entities now known as Creekside, Mountain Brook , The Ridge Creek School and Ridge Creek Wilderness.

5. Please See #1 above for the programs licensed by ORCC.  Also, ORCC does not sanction placements.  We license and regulate facilities in accordance with rules and regulations of that license type.   Contractual agreements regarding referrals and placements are not a regulated activity by this Office.

Marketing and Advertisements to Educational Consultants and prospective families (found also on the internet) regarding these schools do not reflect in any way that DJJ and DFCS children will be attending any of these entities, located and housed on the same premises(190 acre campus including Ridge Creek Wilderness dorms).  Creekside is not on the ORS web-site, why? If it is listed as a facility, under what name?   If there are contracts with the DJJ and DFCS, how is it licensed?   Why would the ORS condone sending DJJ and DFCS children, children that were already in harms way, to a facility where the staff are not even experienced in helping troubled children that are not from these agencies?   Looking at the tawdry history of the place, it would be baffling to the simplest of minds.  

6. ORCC does not have a license for a facility named Creekside.   Also, please refer to #5 above.  The ORCC inspects, monitors, licenses, investigates and enforces regulatory activities in licensed residential child caring facilities.  When non-compliance with established rules and regulations are determined; ORCC is authorized to initiate appropriate enforcement actions in an effort that agencies may achieve and maintain compliance with the rules and regulations.

According to ORS documents from their 2006 Hidden Lake Academy investigation,  one notation stood out during an ORS surveyor interview with the LCSO;  to paraphrase,  the notation by the surveyor referred to the LCSO stating  how political this was and how well connected the owner (omitted) was in Atlanta.  This was not encouraging to say the least, nor was what the 2008 Federal GAO agents found during their  investigation of HLA preceding the "Miller Bill" as it is known.

7. Not clear what documents you are referring to; nor am I clear on your question.

Referring back to ORS regulations, one-license, one entity, has that changed?  Exactly how many entities were piggy-backed using HLA's old license?

8. See #1 above for the programs licensed by ORCC

It would seem apparent,  that the ORS not only has a moral obligation, but fiduciary responsibility to prospective families and it appears that full disclosure and transparency does not apply to these entities.   Why?  Wasn't t the ORS created to also protect the children and families through oversight?

9. The ORCC inspects, monitors, licenses, investigates and enforces regulatory activities in licensed residential child caring facilities.  When non-compliance with established rules and regulations are determined; ORCC is authorized to initiate appropriate enforcement actions in an effort that agencies may achieve and maintain compliance with the rules and regulations.

What are you doing to prevent new families from losing their life savings,  if the US Trustee's Office and BB&T's attorney win their motion for Chapter 11 bankruptcy dismissal and conversion to Chapter 7(liquidation) which includes the 190 acres these schools rest upon?  

10.  The ORCC inspects, monitors, licenses, investigates and enforces regulatory activities in licensed residential child caring facilities.  When non-compliance with established rules and regulations are determined; ORCC is authorized to initiate appropriate enforcement actions in an effort that agencies may achieve and maintain compliance with the rules and regulations.

Again, I  respectfully request clarification as to which entities the ORS is currently  licensing at 830 Hidden Lake Road , Dahlonega , Georgia re:  HLA, INC., Hidden Lake Academy, Inc., and it affiliates, Creekside, Mountain Brook Academy, Ridge Creek School, Ridge Creek Wilderness, Ridge Creek, Inc. and it's affiliates.  This time, I would appreciate a viable answer as this fiasco has been allowed to continue  for 4 years, including previous complaints  logged from the late '90's, 2001, etc.  I also request the ORS web-site exhibit professionalism, honesty and transparency in posting survey reports that are not 'subjectively' placed or cleansed.   What comes after "The cat is black" and "The sky is blue"?  Please see attachment dated 08-26-09.  Has anyone returned for a site visit?  Recent court documents filed by HLA and it's affiliates state there are 38 children on the premises at Ridge Creek....Now we know which premises, but the question is, which school?  Are there 38 children on the premises?  According to the survey report dated 08-25-09  it is Ridge Creek, Inc. and it's affiliates... The surveyor reported :
   "A site visit was made on August 25, 2009 around 12:00 PM. The Director informed this Surveyor
that the agency don't have any placement activity at this moment. The agency was informed to
contact the Surveyor when the facility has placement activity.''

11. Please see above #1 response for licensed programs and their next review due dates.  With regard to the web site survey that you referenced, it was brought to our attention that a training survey was inadvertently posted to the web site. The survey was a mock survey that was used as a training tool strictly to ensure that new surveyors in training learn how to correctly create a survey and how to correctly input information into that survey report.  The mock survey was intended to assess computer access and skills.   The content of the survey findings was relevant to the training.  It was never intended for the mock survey to be posted to the web site or to be viewed by anyone other than the ORCC trainer and trainees.  We have deleted the survey from the system and we have taken action to ensure that a similar situation does not occur.
Our records show that there were no residents in placement in the Ridge Creek Inc. - OCCP; however there may have been residents in placement at the Ridge Creek Inc. - CCI on that date.

I am sure you shall agree that a reasonble time frame for an aswer to be forthcoming should take no more than three business days.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

For the children.


---- ----

c.c. Snailmail Gov. Perdue

Ms. ----, I hope that I have responded timely and rendered answers and clarification to your questions.  If you have further questions, please contact me at my address below, thanks, kdb

Keith D. Bostick, L.C.S.W., Director
Office of Residential Child Care
Department of Human Services
2 Peachtree St; Suite 32.432
Atlanta, Ga  30303
Phone - 404-657-9001
Fax - 404-657-9637
[email protected]

What is frightening is that those that are there to protect these children have their hands tied. DFCS sends their agents in repeatedly, filing their reports with the ORS/ORCC/DHR/DCH/DHS whomever - reports that describe egregious circumstances. “Children are afraid to ‘talk’, and the staff clams up.” Then, the ORS shelves their reports. Why?

A young man attempted suicide by hanging himself in the lavatory, and barely survived (ORS/ORCC/DFCS) Does anyone care? Is anyone out there? What are suicidal teens doing at RCS in the first place? Another student likes to cut herself/himself so badly that she /he hid a rock in her/his underwear (ORS/ORCC/DFCS). How is RCS staff equipped to help this child, aside from removing the rock? For more incidents visit the ORS Facility Compliance

At last glance, RCS was not a licensed asylum, or drug rehabilitation facility. RCS markets that they treat various anomalies. Aspergers syndrome? Qualifications? Please!

Everyone understands the corporate “bottom line.” In this case, the “bottom line” is that the state agencies need to ensure to the best of their ability that the safety of the children is their “bottom line.” No one is going to give a hoot if “this is extremely political and this facility is well-connected in downtown (Atlanta)” (Lumpkin County Sheriff McClure 2006). They will see all those connections scoot if a child dies under their watch ... that includes the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office. Pleading that RCS lied to the agencies will not cut it when there is a consistent track record that is far less than stellar. They are all culpable.

For those many staff that have left HLA/RCS/RCW/RCS-MOUNTAIN BROOK/CREEKSIDE WILDERNESS without reporting or disclosing the truth to the appropriate agencies/licensing boards – good luck on your quest in finding your integrity. A former staff member once said, “I have family, kids.” Perhaps that is exactly ‘why’ one should come forward instead of crawling under a rock. To quote former Assistant Director of Admissions,"I just couldn't tell one more parent they should send their kid there."

The less than handful of staff that did come forward publicly received immediate cease/desist letters and threats of imminent lawsuits from the law firm representing Hidden Lake Academy.

The far reaches of “containment”:

Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office calls have escalated.

911 dispatch call logs (that were released per LCSO) indicate there were 61 calls made to 911 from Ridge Creek School the last two years as of January 2011. When cross-referencing the released call log with the ORS/ORCC reports, there appear to be missing logs re Lucrezia Albegiani, Sydney Vaughn, etc. Of those 61 calls, 21 were runaways. That is approximately 34% runaways, leaving the 66% to assaults here, assaults there, a couple of riots, a few OD’s(med mix-ups, med refusals),battery here, battery there, suicide attempts, fire alarm, property destruction, statutory rapes that are "not rape"(sexual assaults),and the beat goes on(ORS/ORCC/LCSO LOGS). Far from the 90% runaways claimed by former Sheriff Mark McClure in 2005(see below) and far from the most current statement by Sheriff Stacy Jarrard stating, “LCSO is occasionally called to the boarding school, formerly known as Hidden Lake Academy, to assist with runaway juveniles,” (The Dahlonega Nugget 12-01-2010). "Occasionally"? If in 2005, Sheriff McClure was correct that 90% were in fact runaways, obviously RCS has become the poster place of insanity. One can imagine how RCS must wish the facility could go back to 2005.

That aside, 90% and 34% are handsome figures, enough runaways to fill a Brooklyn bakery before Sabbath - just take a ticket. Can one blame the students for taking a hike?

K-9 units (01-16-2011) reportedly were on the property for crowd control (911-call log) during one of their "mini-riots." $10,000.00 in damage was reported with glass broken out everywhere. “A report filled out by Deputy Brad Farris described the building as “demolished.” (The Dahlonega Nugget, Dahlonega, Ga., January 26, 2011, Page 9A).

From the same article, “It was later discovered that these runaway teens had hiked to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church where they reportedly broke into the Camp Wahsega Road sanctuary and searched for a phone. There was none. “The whole idea was to go to that church and call somebody,”said Martin. Martin said nothing appeared to be stolen from the church besides a blanket.”

911 Dispatch log excerpt dated 01-18-2011 indicates that the students did more than look for a phone.


*Below - Excerpt from the interview with then Lumpkin County Sheriff Mark McClure (LCS since 2005) taken from DHR contact sheet dated 08-16-06 by Dorothy Gore Director II Lumpkin County DFCS. Another investigator was present for part of the interview. Note: Grammatical errors left intact for authenticity.

The excerpt speaks volumes.

    "Sheriff stated that they have looking into all of the crinimal allegations
    at the facility. Approximately 90% of what they get are runaways. In
    some of these cases, the children then commit crimes off the propery.
    Most of these reports come from the facility itself. They not been able
    to prove any criminal act where the facility is at fault. He is not willing
    to allow his officers to go on interviews that do not involve specific
    criminal acts. He asked if the OBI Could accompany ORS on
    investigaitons without specific crriminal charges. Director did not the
    answer to that question. He pointed out that this was extremely political
    and this facility was "well-connected" downtown (Atlanta. He is will
    to intervene if there are criminal allegations and he is willing to go
    through his files regarding past incidents and share those with the
    department. The individual who can do is out of town in training and
    will not return until 8-18-06."

Alarming … The State of Georgia is sovereign like all other states. Therefore, the state cannot be owned by any entity.

More containment:

The Dahlonega Nugget published and then retracted a story reporting a “riot” at Ridge Creek School on 12-05-2009, where 7 units were dispatched including Deputies, Fire, and EMS - resulting in Case #38 Simple Battery ; Case #39 Threats.

[Note: LCSO still refers to Ridge Creek School as Hidden Lake Academy after the name change.Names have been replaced by dashes.]

LCSO 911-log excerpt from Incoming 911: 12/5/2009 11:20:10

“Original Dispatch Remarks:
------- 12/5/12009 11:26:58
------ 12/5/2009 11:35:41
------- 12/5/2009 11:43:54
------- 12/5/2009 13:35:50

Question – Would it have been more acceptable to Ridge Creek School if the Dahlonega Nugget stated the facts from the LCSO dispatch log, police incident report, or perhaps stated a “riot-like” atmosphere?


Acronym referral list:

ORS ---- Office of Regulatory Services
ORCC --- Office of Residential Child Care
DFCS --- Division of Family and Children’s Services
DHS --- Department of Human Services
DCH ---- Department of Community Health
DHR ---- Department of Human Resources
CCI ---- Child Caring Institution
OCCP --- Outdoor Child Caring Institution
PRTF --- Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility
LCSO --- Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office
LCS ---- Lumpkin County Sheriff
DJJ ---- Department of Juvenile Justice
GBI ---- Georgia Bureau of Investigation

HLA ---- Hidden Lake Academy
RCS ---- Ridge Creek School
RCW ---- Ridge Creek Wilderness

DAM ---- Damage
ADV ---- Advise
REF ---- Reference
CRH ---- Chestatee Regional Hospital

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