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Messages - survivorami

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1
Gaulds and all the spouses/relatives of the Gaulds:

* Joseph "Joe" Gauld, founder
* Laura Denton Gauld & Malcolm Gauld, current presidents/heads of Hyde, Joe's son and daughter in law
* Paul Hurd & Laurie Gauld Hurd (former heads of Hyde), their children
* Georgia "Gigi" Gauld Macmillan & Donald Macmillan (former heads & employees of Hyde). & their children
* Kenneth Grant & Claire Denton Grant (Laura Gauld's sister), & their children

Then there are a ton more faculty who maybe went to Hyde, came back after and married another Hyde faculty member and had some kids and then put their kids in Hyde for no charge.  That is a long list, will come back later with it.


2
James Michael Ziede, 27, died in August 2021, suddenly/unexpectedly while on a trip

https://massapequafuneralhome.com/obituary/james-michael-ziede/

3
Hyde Schools / Grieving parent of a former Hyde student shares his testimony
« on: September 03, 2021, 02:59:06 PM »
Grieving parent of a former Hyde student shares his testimony.
Trigger warning: Suicide

I am not ready, even after these years, to discuss the details of what happened to my son, the long tortured path that led to his death. I said that Hyde was a station along the way and contributed, though Hyde is not solely responsible in that sense... I am also afraid to give too much away that might identify me to Hyde trolls or others. The people at Hyde have shown they are quite capable of the most nefarious behavior in protecting their God Gauld and their little enterprise and I have no room left in me for fighting. I can tell you that they spun him like a rat.. changing the maze whenever he thought he had it down and convincing him that he was a piece of s--- unless he played their game. He couldn't. He didn't. He failed there and they smashed his self-confidence to pieces. He was weak, mentally ill, needed some form of treatment but no one recognized it. I pulled him out jail over and over again, retrieved him from international locales after he'd been arrested, incarcerated in various institutions.. his illness progressed and everyone along the way who made it worse - like the people at Hyde - contributed. I contributed myself. When your  20-year-old son takes your shotgun after breaking into a gun cabinet and blows his brains out, you are also destroyed by it.

Suffice to say that the vulnerable types must be protected from institutions like Hyde because Hyde is no different from the general society, in that respect. Who doesn't conform, is destroyed. It is the school's failure to determine who it can help and who it cannot - who it will in fact make worse - that makes it a quasi-criminal enterprise. Any truly idealistic institution would recognize its limitations to protect those it might harm. Not Hyde. Money drives Hyde. Money, power and self-aggrandizement are its stock in trader. Once they get your money, it's actually in their interest to force you out because it's non-refundable and they get paid for not doing anything. Meanwhile the next fool steps up, urged on by [pro-Hyders] no doubt, and another $30-40-50,000 goes into the company safe. It's a racket run by a kind of Mafiosi, sociopaths with suits and sob stories and a very slick brochure.

This past February was the fourth anniversary of my son's suicide in the basement. Prior to that he had spent some time at Hyde, perhaps a year or less and whatever problems he had to begin with were so exacerbated by his experiences there that I have always linked the two. I couldn't say it was direct because there was some time between when he was thrown out of Hyde and when he shot himself, but I believe to this day that the actions of the head of that school and several of its psycho caretakers were direct contributors.

I can't go into details about what happened at Hyde except to to say that the profound, deep, dishonesty practiced by the staff, many of whom I am sure are unqualified to be called such, the cultism, the terrorism inflicted on already disturbed children would result in long prison terms to the practitioners thereof in any reasonable society. Hyde, in my opinion, is a nightmare, a mental torture chamber created by a psychopaths and created to breed acolytes...

Do not send your son to Hyde. If you have already done so and he wants out; do not believe the staff at Hyde. Their entire purpose functions just as the street soldiers of Scientology function to recruit and impress more members... If I were a praying man, I would pray for you and your son; as it is, I can only avail you of the benefit of my experience there and the terrible consequences one faces when allowing these kinds of individuals to oversee the psychological development of a child, especially one already having difficulty in the world.

To the parent... Every once in a while you come across really extreme advocacy for Hyde. I urge you to be wary on this basis alone... There are many children who go through Hyde and come out the other side but that isn't the issue... Those cretins don't know one illness from another from a third and they simply put everyone through the same filter, discarding those who don't pass... If your child is among them, he will be destroyed by the Hyde process... it's Hyde as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. these people (I use the term loosely - they are monsters in their own right) are self-appointed cultists, emotional terrorists and liars through and through... the fact that some less vulnerable children survive the experience and come back proselytizing for the cause means nothing... These people and many like them should be shut down and I believe that sooner or later the awful truth about what goes on at Hyde will "out" and people like [Pro-Hyde commenter] here will find some new excuse for it... Don't send your son to Hyde unless you are certain that he is strong enough to withstand the emotional battering he will receive there. They have made themselves very rich on the despair of others and employ their family and friends and other advocates as rewards - just like any cult... These people are dangerous, untrustworthy and eventually I believe they will be seen as criminal.

Reposted from another post from June 2011.

4
Hyde Schools / Re: PLEASE HELP!!! Should I send my son to Hyde???
« on: September 01, 2021, 09:48:28 PM »
No one should be sent to Hyde, ever.

5
2011 Hyde School Graduate, Justin O. Castor Takes Plea Deal on Aggravated Rape Charges filed against him for allegations against then 19-year-old Justin.

Arlington Man's Curry College Rape Hearing Delayed
See why the probable cause hearing got pushed back until Aug. 29.

Posted Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 5:35 am ET
Updated Tue, May 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm ET

An Arlington man and two from Malden charged with raping a Curry College student in January had their court proceedings postponed Friday until Aug. 29, according to a report in the Currier Times, the school's student newspaper.

Justin O. Castor, then 19, of Arlington, Kensley Metellus, 19, of Malden, and Shakarus D. Semexant, 20, of Malden, appeared in Quincy District Court for a probable cause hearing. The hearing was delayed, however, after the Norfolk District Attorney's Office asked for more time to review the evidence, which included two used condoms, according to the report.

The three men allegedly raped the student in a residence hall after a dance at the college on Sunday, Jan. 20. They were arrested by Milton police five days later and charged with aggravated rape, conspiracy to commit rape, assault with intent to rape and indecent assault and battery. The college sent an email alert to students about the incident the following Monday, Jan. 28.

After Friday's hearing, Castor's attorney told the Currier Times that his client "vehemently denies that he committed any of the crimes."

Castor, who graduated from the Hyde School in Maine in 2011, and Metellus, a 2011 Malden High School graduate, both attended Curry College last year but not this year. They both knew the alleged victim, according to the Currier Times.

Semexant attended Mount Ida College in Newton in 2010 after graduating from Malden High. Both Metellus and Semexant played football their freshman year in college.

During the probable cause hearing, a judge will weigh the evidence and then decide whether or not to move forward with the charges. All three men are out on bail.

Article: https://patch.com/massachusetts/arlington/arlington-man-strikes-plea-deal-in-curry-college-sexualassault-case

Currier Times Full Report: https://curriertimes.net/2013/04/12/assault-trial-postponed-campus-policies-remain-largely-unchanged/

6
Hyde Schools / Re: Former Hyde Student Ron Posner kills girlfriend?
« on: August 11, 2021, 03:40:13 PM »
CONTINUED.........

BROWN BECAME CLOSE friends with Kip Eaton, a Barrington High classmate who lives in Providence, where he attends Johnson & Wales University.

"She was always, I could tell, deep down a little sad, but she would never show it," Eaton said. "She wasn't sure exactly where her life was headed, or her relationship with Ron."'

Waller, her friend from the University of Maine, noticed something wrong, too. She spoke to Brown in early December. She sounded down. But when Waller pressed, Brown said she was fine.

By early December, she told Eaton that Posner would be coming home soon and that she was looking forward to it. She'd even helped him get the money to fly back to Rhode Island. But Eaton had his worries.

He knew that Posner and Brown seemed to get along well sometimes. "Happy? Oh yeah, they seemed very happy at times," he said.

But he knew about the night at Motel 6, and he knew how Posner would sometimes talk to her.

"He'd yell at her and say, I know you're doing this. I know you're doing that," Eaton said.

Around the time of Posner's return from California, Brown hit a milestone: her first apartment.

Angell Street on the East Side pulses with vitality. The old houses-turned-cramped-apartments seem quaint beside the Starbucks, a sushi bar and bookstores that offer discussions on Plato.

The two-story house at 410 Angell St. is half a block from Brown University's soccer field. It is tan with burgundy trim and a gray side porch. The foyer is drab with stained carpets; even the basement has been made into a living space.

Brown moved into apartment 1, a one-bedroom on the first floor, paying about $725 a month. It was only about 10 miles from her parents' house, but it was hers. She fixed it up, with family photos and a tiny kitchen table.

Posner and Brown spent time with Kip Eaton, whose Federal Hill apartment was the hub of a small community of Barrington graduates who moved to Providence after high school. Posner bragged to Eaton that he'd managed to break out of Benchmark "multiple times."

Eaton, 19, thought that Posner was acting strangely.

"I'd say, 'Hey Ron, could you look out the window and tell me if it's snowing?' " Eaton said. "And he'd look at his watch and say, 'It's 7:30.' "

"He'd sit there, his eyes all fogged out. Mentally he just wasn't right."

Brown was worried, too. She told Eaton she didn't know what was going on.

"She said he frightened her a little bit," Eaton said. "I specifically remember her saying that."

At about 7 p.m on Sunday, Jan. 14, Loren Williams and his roommate were watching television in the apartment across the hall from Brown. They heard arguing and yelling. And then, the pounding on doors.

They opened their door to see Brown standing in the foyer, crying and telling Posner to get out of the building. He stood with his back to the door leading outside. Her back was to the stairwell. They said she looked small next to him.

"She was a tiny thing, she could not have been more than 100 pounds," said Williams, a middle-aged man who's lived in the building for three years. "She was crying and screaming and you could see this red mark around her neck. It was very raw."

"It went like this. It went all the way around," his roommate said, wrapping his thumb and forefinger around his throat.

The light in the foyer is dim and Williams strained to see if her skin was broken. It didn't look like it was.

"She was pale, very white," said Williams' roommate, who didn't want to give his name. "She looked like the life had been drained out of her. What struck me is that she was so scared that even when we were standing there, she kept running up and down the stairs knocking on doors."

The neighbors called police and tried to talk to Brown, but she was focused on Posner. They said it was as if she couldn't hear them.

Posner, the neighbors said, seemed to want to brush the whole thing off. She's just "freaking out," he told them.

The upstairs neighbors came into the building and asked what was going on. The woman tried to get Brown to go upstairs with her.

Posner asked Williams if he'd called police. When Williams said yes, Posner and Brown ran back into her apartment.

The neighbors yelled: "Leave the door open!"

She did.

When Brown came out, she had changed from a white blouse into a turtleneck sweater. Posner wore a windbreaker. He followed her out of the building.

Williams and his roommate pulled up their shade and crouched near the window so they could hear. Posner was trying to shepherd her down the stairs.

"He was saying 'I'll go with you, I'll go with you,' " Williams said. "It was horrible."

When police arrived, Brown said the marks on her neck were self-inflicted, from a panic attack. She told police that she took Effexor for her panic attacks, but hadn't taken the medication in a week. The police left after about 30 minutes.

But minutes later, at 7:32 p.m., a second neighbor called. "Weren't we just there?" the dispatcher asked. The caller said Brown had left, but that the "male subject wants to talk to police."

When the police returned, both Brown and Posner were in the foyer, with neighbors nearby.

Williams said he opened his apartment door when the police officer knocked. Williams said he could see the young couple behind the officer, arguing softly in the hall.

"The officer asked us what we heard because he said he was getting 'lies from both of them,' " Williams said.

Brown pulled down her turtleneck and told police that Posner had tried to strangle her. But she said she did not want him arrested.

An officer told her that she did not have to make the complaint, that he could.

"Or I can," another neighbor said.

The officer called the sergeant at the station and said he needed a domestic violence reporting form. Someone drove it over. He checked that an assault had taken place, describing it as "grabbing," and then gave the form to Brown to fill out her portion. She signed it, but did not mark on the diagram of a female body where she was hurt. She left blank the questions about who had hurt her.

The officer wrote in his report that there were "conflicting stories" and did not make an arrest.

Brown told police they could take Posner to Kip Eaton's house, in Federal Hill.

Brown followed, picking up Posner before he ever got inside. She drove him home to Barrington.

Later that night, Eaton and two friends went to Brown's apartment. She had scratches and black and blue bruises. She was so messed up, he said, he wanted to cry.

"Me, in my life, I had never witnessed anything like that," he said. I begged her . . . I said: 'You know Katie, he's done it twice now, he's only going to do it again. You've got to make a clean break.' "

She told him that she had already forgiven him.

"We all tried . . . I don't know, she just really loved the kid," Eaton said. "The bottom line was that she was a great girl who got mixed up with a kid who had a lot of problems."

"I really just wish I'd gone after him and told him to stay away from her."

A couple of days later, the talk at Eaton's place was how Posner said he had heard voices the night of the chaos on Angell Street.

"That comment did it for me. I was like 'wow,' " Eaton said. "After the first time, I thought maybe this was a one-time thing . . . but after the second time . . . I told her not to bring him around anymore."

On the night before she died, Brown went to Eaton's alone. She said she and Posner had just walked up Angell Street to a sushi bar.

"She said they had had a good night," Eaton said.

Then came Thursday evening, Jan. 18.

About 8 p.m., Posner appeared on the doorstep of his Rumstick neighbor, Pat Fowler. She thought he had been in a car accident, by all the blood on him. But another neighbor with him told Fowler no, "he thinks his girlfriend's dead in the driveway."

The state medical examiner has not released the cause of death, but a court affidavit states that Brown suffered a "major head injury of unknown origin."

Brown's body lay between the Posners' garage and her car, the 1998 black Honda, which police found with the headlights still on.

At her memorial service, Katherine Brown's father remembered her laughter and creativity.

Sometimes, he said, she was too good of an actress.

"She hid what was inside."

RONALD POSNER awaits his fate now behind bars, in a state prison dormitory with 12 double-bunked cells. On Friday, he will appear at a hearing on the question of his mental competency. Since his arrest, a judge has agreed to allow Posner to receive some form of medication while in prison.

Last Friday, Posner's lawyer C. Leonard O'Brien, said: "This is a terrible, terrible set of circumstances for everyone, particularly the Brown family and we very much respect what they are going through and the grief they are feeling.

"All I can say on Mr. Posner's behalf is that we hope people keep an open mind and allow the case to make its way through the system before they make their decisions."

Last Thursday morning, Posner's sister, Vicky, stepped out into the driveway of the family's house on South Meadow Lane. Three white candles marked where Katherine Brown's body lay a week earlier.

Vicky Posner said of her brother, "I know he loved her. He really did."

"When they were over here, they were happy. He was a nice kid. He just started hanging around with the wrong crowd."

The Posners weren't home on the night Brown died, Vicky says; her father had taken a relative out to dinner.

When Ralph Posner came home, "He came home to this."

* * *

REMEMBERING: Jane Wallis, a family friend, looks at a photograph of Katherine Brown after setting it up for her memorial service last week.

Journal photo / KRIS CRAIG

7
Hyde Schools / Former Hyde Student Ron Posner kills girlfriend?
« on: August 11, 2021, 03:39:23 PM »
Former Hyde Student Ron Posner kills girlfriend?

Providence Journal (RI) - Sunday, January 28, 2001
Katherine Brown: A turbulent relationship, a tragic ending
* Katherine Brown and Ronald Posner began dating when they were seniors at Barrington High School. "It was off and on," one friend said. "Either things were really good or really bad."

* * *

PROVIDENCE - Four days before her death, Katherine Brown screamed as she ran up and down the stairs pounding on apartment doors.

Get out! Get out of my apartment! I want you to leave, the neighbors heard her shout. You're scaring me.

Neighbors opened their door and saw the slight, 20-year-old woman facing the young man they knew as her boyfriend, Ronald Posner. He stood in the yellow light of the dingy foyer, watching her.

Brown's voice shook and tears streamed down her face. A raw red mark, like a choker, was around her throat.

The neighbors called the police.

Posner put his hands to his head. Neighbors heard him yell back at her: Look at what you're doing to me. You're going to get me in trouble.

She grabbed her car keys and ran out onto the porch. He followed, softly begging her to let him come, too. No, she cried, I don't want you in my car. You scare me.

The Providence police got the call at 6:56 Sunday night, Jan. 14, and when they arrived, they blocked the driveway of the East Side Victorian with their cruisers. They talked to Brown and Posner in the dark parking lot.

Neighbors watching from their back window were stunned when the officers soon drove off.

A second neighbor called the police, saying "the girl left, but the young man wants to talk to someone."

When the police came back, both Brown and Posner were there. Brown told the police that Posner, not a panic attack, as she had earlier told them, caused the marks on her neck. But don't arrest him, she said. Just take him away. The police described Posner as "nervous and confused."

It was agreed that the police would take Posner to a friend's house on Federal Hill. But as the patrol car drove off, Brown followed.

Before Posner ever got into the apartment, Brown's black Honda pulled up. Posner got in.

And they drove off together.

"I forgave him, I had to," she told a friend hours later. "I really love him."

"I want to be with him."

BROWN WAS with him in her death, the police say.

When they found Brown's body in Posner's Barrington driveway on Jan. 18, Posner stood nearby, his blue jeans and fleece jacket covered in blood. The police removed hair resembling hers from Posner's hands.

Authorities haven't divulged how Brown died. Posner has pleaded innocent to a charge of murder.

For a decade, there has not been a murder in Barrington, a quiet town where the grapevine flourishes like the marsh grass that fringes the million-dollar views.

Virtually everyone in town knew Katherine E. Brown or Ronald A. Posner, or knew someone who did, or knew their fathers hers a noted child psychiatrist, his, the owner of a half-century old jewelry company.

Posner's family lives in Rumstick, which juts out, like an elbow, into Narragansett Bay. Stone walls separate the manor-style houses and cobblestone barns that adorn rolling meadows. Golf-pro Brad Faxon and an executive who entertains Bill Clinton live in the area.

The Browns lived three miles away on Bernard Avenue in West Barrington, a neighborhood styled in post-war, although expensive, suburbia split-levels, ranches, and Colonials with basketball hoops in the driveways.

The Browns moved to Barrington when Katherine was little. They had lived briefly in California; her father would later joke that his daughter had grown into the quintessential California girl, with her straight sandy blond hair and love of sunshine. And her flair for the dramatic.

She took dance classes and won a part, at only 10, in a play being put on by Perishable Theatre in Providence. It was called Harm's Way, and the subject was so mature that her parents weren't sure she should see it, much less act in it. She convinced them.

She filled her room with collages and posted inspirational messages on her mirrors. She had three best friends, and they planned each phase of their lives, with the ending a real-life version of The Golden Girls.

In Barrington High School, she wasn't a standout student or the president of this or that. She played field hockey for awhile and danced in school productions, and loved fun, sometimes inviting everyone she knew to weekend parties at the two-story blue Colonial she shared with her parents and younger brother and sister.

And she was becoming known for another quality.

Her father was a noted researcher, studying sexual abuse and other childhood syndromes, as director of child and family psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital. Larry Brown's daughter, perhaps, had inherited his empathy.

More than one friend called her a rock, a crutch, or a shoulder on which to lean.

By spring of her senior year of high school, someone new was drawn to Brown's compassion: Ronald Posner.

HE WAS TALL and lanky with curly hair. And when Posner arrived at Barrington High School, he was carrying some baggage: emotional troubles and a few run-ins with the police.

Over the previous two years, Posner had begun a downward spiral falling from soccer star at Providence Country Day School to accused thief who victimized his friends' parents.

In late 1997, Barrington police pulled over a car and found Posner inside with stolen goods and drug paraphernalia.

About two weeks earlier, Dr. Stephen Schiff, a Barrington urologist, had reported the theft of a diamond ring his wife had given him for his 40th birthday and a bracelet he'd received from his parents. The items had been stolen from an unlocked locker at the Barrington YMCA.

He remembers the telephone call from the police officer: "He told me, 'We think we got your stuff.' "

Schiff says the police officer gave him a copy of his report which said the officer had found "all kinds of drug paraphernalia" in the car, "and a bunch of other stolen items among which were my ring and my bracelet."

"And then what we heard was the father was making an attempt to make sure everything was paid back," said Schiff. "He was going to kind of take care of things so that this wouldn't go to court" including paying back some charges made on stolen credit cards.

Because the value of Schiff's items totaled more than $500 making the theft a felony police officers urged him to press charges. This is not something to sweep under the rug, the police told him.

Schiff, however, dropped the matter once his ring and bracelet were returned.

Another woman, who asked not to be named, said police returned jewelry that Ronald Posner a good friend of her son's had stolen.

Posner's father, Ralph, also came to her house, she said, and apologized. She said Ralph Posner explained how his son had been stopped by Barrington police and found in possession of stolen property.

"I believe he [Ralph Posner] had a meeting with all of us," the woman said, referring to the others who had belongings stolen.

The woman said Ronald Posner was often in her home. "When he was around us, he was always a polite, nice young man," she said. But after the theft of her jewelry, "My son was just hurt. He felt betrayed by a friend." The friendship dissolved.

"It's very sad," the woman said. "His parents tried. They really tried. But it was very hard to help him."

IN DECEMBER 1997, Ralph and Maria Posner withdrew their son from Providence Country Day, six months before his scheduled graduation.

By January, he was attending Hyde School, a $25,000-a-year boarding school with 300 students in Woodstock, Conn.

"Plain and simple, this is a tough school," Hyde's website proclaims. "We have a highly structured curriculum and a demanding code of ethics. . ."

Families should consider Hyde, the website says, "if they are looking for an environment that will address character development, college preparation and family renewal."

Posner lasted about a year.

"He came midyear and he left midyear," said headmaster Kenneth Grant.

By February 1999, Posner was back in Barrington and enrolled at the town high school.

He grew close to Katherine Brown, but the turmoil continued.

In May 1999, Barrington police were called to the Posner home at the end of South Meadow Lane.

Posner had allegedly slapped his mother, pulled a telephone cord from a wall and smashed a glass table top.

Police arrested him. At his arraignment, a judge issued a no-contact order, keeping him away from his mother.

Weeks later, the no-contact order was vacated and the charges were dismissed.

BROWN KNEW POSNER'S other side. How he liked to get dressed up and go out to dinner, and to laugh. The two shared things creative: she loved photography, he was a talented sketch artist. And they bonded in deep talks often about his problems.

But life was calling Katherine Brown.

In early August 1999, she left Barrington for the University of Maine at Orono, a rural campus 12 miles north of Bangor.

She arrived three weeks before the semester began to participate in Running Start, a program for students who make it into college, but who may benefit from more guidance than other freshmen.

She got a jump on her credits, taking a mini-course, Literature of the Sea. On weekends, the Running Start group camped at Baxter State Park, in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin. She was nervous about rock climbing, but she did it, just as she camped in the rain. Once the semester started, the Running Start participants met weekly to talk about the adjustment to college life.

She hung pictures of Posner, and her friends from Barrington, in her tiny dormitory room. But things had changed.

"They weren't officially together when she was here," said Sarah Waller, 20, who met Brown through Running Start. "But they still talked."

And Brown talked about him, a lot. Waller had never met Posner. But she had mixed feelings about him.

"She would talk about all the fun things they did together. But he'd randomly call her up and accuse her of doing things that she didn't do," she said. "Then other times he would call her up and say how much he missed her and hated being without her."

When Waller asked her friend how she could stand the roller coaster, Brown explained that Posner had emotional problems. His family was wealthy, she'd say, but not warm.

"She tried to help him. He was just a really messed up kid, and when he'd do stuff . . . she thought he wasn't doing it on purpose," Waller said. "That was the kind of caring person that she was."

Posner planned to visit her in Maine once, but the trip fell through. When Brown returned to Maine from spring break, she told her friends she had spent every minute with him.

"It was off and on," Waller said. "Either things were really good or really bad."

Brown loved the college parties, but she could do without the classes or the Maine winters.

She was 19. She wasn't sure what her role in life was, recalled Angela Cole, her Running Start advisor. She didn't really want to be in college. She wanted to travel, to see Europe. She was a dreamer. She had goals and right then, they didn't center on a syllabus.

"She struggled in some ways with having to conform, to be in a box, it just wasn't who she was," Cole said. "Not that she was rebellious she was just really a free thinker."

Last summer, Brown sent Cole an email. She was going to take time off, then perhaps go to the University of Rhode Island. Cole was concerned, worried that once out, she would not return to school.

Brown called her friend Waller, too. She said she was "really happy." It had been a nice summer, things were good with the boy she called "Posner."

But what of him? In early September, Posner enrolled at Dean College in Franklin, Mass., and withdrew on the same day.

Then, on Sept. 10, there was trouble.

At around 9 p.m., Seekonk police responded to a 911 call at the Motel 6 on Rte. 114A. They found Brown sitting on a bench crying, her face swollen. She was reluctant to talk.

But after a desk clerk told an officer how a male guest assaulted her, Brown admitted her boyfriend punched her. Posner was arrested and charged with domestic assault.

Weeks after his arrest in Seekonk, Posner enrolled in the "Benchmark Young Adult School" in Redlands, Calif., according to a Massachusetts prosecutor.

The school's website describes its mission as helping young, at-risk adults with emotional and behavioral problems.

Most of the students who enroll in the school's year-long program, "do not want to be here," the school's website says. "Many have been living rather comfortably, skipping school, partying with friends and taking liberties with family values, among other disruptive behaviors."

Posner, 20, was still attending the school in December, when his domestic assault case came to court. The judge continued the case until this June, pending Posner's performance at Benchmark, said the state prosecutor.

Back in Rhode Island, Brown was again on her own. She turned 20, and at a Thanksgiving party told friends she was ready to go back to school and work hard. She made plans to take classes at the Community College of Rhode Island.


8
Hyde Schools / Re: A Negative Experience
« on: August 11, 2021, 05:11:05 AM »
Some things you don’t forget until your dying day.. or dementia, whichever comes first…

9
Hyde Schools / Cutting/self-harm at Hyde; 3 survivor testimonies
« on: August 11, 2021, 01:59:45 AM »
Cutting/self-harm at Hyde; 3 survivor testimonies

Survivor 1:
I think one of the biggest red flags in my opinion was during the time I was there I would self-harm a lot. While one nurse was compassionate whenever it would happen, the head nurse at the time and a couple other staff members including the dean of students Mr. Truluck would shame me for it. As far as I know these incidents weren’t always reported to my parents and there were never any sort of psych evaluations done.

One time after the death of a former student who was my best friend I attempted to go to my dorm parents as I was feeling like self harming but I was really trying to work on it and had been told by the compassionate nurse and other faculty that I had permission (as if this should of even needed to be given) to go to my dorm parents after lights out if I felt like self harming and to talk about the death. A staff member on duty happened to be walking through brook house at the moment and told me no and made me feel badly about that situation. I proceeded to return to my room and and do significantly more harm to the point I thought I might of fucked up and overdone it. I ended up going to my dorm parents who called in other staff and they simply tended to the wounds and let me go back to my room.

On another note either my junior year or senior year I tried to sign up to do big brothers/big sisters. The faculty in charge signed off on it and was excited for me to do something like that but Mr. Truluck decided to veto the decision. When I went to him to ask why he said “he did not trust me alone with a child” and other things painting me out like I was a pedophile. To this day I still believe Truluck was consistently unkind to me because I was open about being a part of the LGBT community.

Survivor 2:
In terms of self harm I encountered a very similar problem when asking for help at Hyde. Mr. Truluck was the dean still and made me feel absolutely horrible. My dorm parents were completely unhelpful and tried their best to avoid helping me. I remember asking for help once and being made to feel like a reject, failure, and weirdo.. let’s just say I did not handle their response well...and then when I brought to the nurses later that day I was only made to feel worse.

My self harming behaviors reached the highest levels while I was at Hyde. I never felt like I could talk about it with anyone, so I would hide it. Staff would gossip about it and somehow other students found out (not from me, I told no one). I remember getting a note from my then~boyfriend telling me that one of the “seniors” pulled him aside and warned him about me. (I still have that note, but it has students’ names so I won’t include it).

When I completed Hyde I was able to find the right support and was told that being open and honest about the feelings that I had that were leading me to self harm would be the only way to move forward. I did so and the self harm stopped. There has got to be a way to better help students going through this, I hope things are different now, as I was there more than 10 years ago.

Survivor 3:
I struggled with self harm a lot in high school. Especially at Hyde. One time I cut too deep and I had to go get stitches. And the staff that took me literally made jokes about it. I was on the dance team and she was one of my coaches and she made a joke saying that I should do a dance to Stitches by Shawn Mendes and completely made the situation a joke. The fact that I cut my wrist so deep that I had to get stitches was comical to her. And afterwards I got no support. Only sending me to Eustis afterwards because I was having “behavioral” issues, bc i was suicidal and they didn’t take it seriously.  At all. I spent 2 years at Hyde and that was the most difficult time of my life.
-________________

Mr. Truluck still works at Hyde. Hyde has never in its 55 years employed a single licensed counselor or psychologist. Over the last 15 years, they sometimes employed a single social worker.

10
Another post by the same blogger, a former Hyde School student..

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Intrusive Thoughts

Thoughts imbue upon my brain at a mile per second. Unwanted thoughts, disturbing thoughts, psychotic thoughts, as they have for twenty years. Thoughts of distant past I can only hope are delusions, thoughts of recent past I can only hope are misinterpretations. They hound me for a couple hours nearly every day before I can talk myself down with what I can only hope is my more rational side. To conquer them is a multi-decade struggle, and I can only fear, a lifelong struggle.

It began at what America used to call a 'school for truants' [Hyde]. As an adolescent I was already far gone quite, even in late childhood beset from depressions and anxieties, unremitting agony complete with an absence of all good feeling in my chest that felt physical. The slightest provocation would stimulate violent outbursts, followed by still more depressed remorse. I was almost certain that making it to 38 was an impossibility, and I'm sure the thought occurred to my family as well.

The boarding school [Hyde School] was a place for badly behaved teenagers, whose animating philosophy was that a person's character was responsible for their actions. They were therefore in control of their actions, and any amount of mental and physical pressure was justified in the pursuit of behavioral reform. It was the kind of place that poured gasoline on mental fires, and what until then was merely agonizing depression became full-blown lifelong psychoses.

In my twenties, I nursed a terrible psychotic illness, and developed a tendency to confess everything else about what I was feeling so as to hide a shameful yet egoistic conceit that I was literally speaking to God all day every day and God was answering back. It was He who breathed life into every decision I made, and threatened retribution most terrible if I contravened laws he would make for me moment to moment. To this day, I have some sort of obsessive voice threatening punishment for all decisions I make that contravene it. I try not to listen, but the voice speaks to me all the time - often sending me signs, basing decisions on a value system of numbers, letters, and even colors. During college, I would have full blown visions of angels and demons, and it goes without saying that however merciful angels were when they consoled me, they were quite severe in their judgements.

Those particular voices and images quieted somewhat in my thirties, but they come to me with each decision I make, and every choice I make over the course of the day is never entirely my own. 

But terrific agonies such as those are fully replaced now by obsessive thoughts, thoughts of past and present, thoughts of every sin I ever may have committed, and many which I may not have committed yet with details which, if they haven't, come fabricated fully within my head, detail by detail, along with interpretations of what people may think of me and my actions in the recent past that are of the most severe judgement, and cause in me the most severe of panic. These details could not come more abruptly, without warning, and with moral judgement so draconian I cannot help but often think myself deserving of being known to everyone as the most reprehensible creature on earth.

In recent years, the inner horror has been so dreadful that headaches have become more and more frequent. Numbness on the side of my face and all throughout my body with a feeling of a drooping mouth, a headache two weeks ago that circumambulated the whole head, and markedly increased day-to-day difficulty with spelling, remembering words, remembering what I was talking about, and all that accompanied of course by the further fear that my days are now numbered.

____________________________________________

And I'm not going to go through 'deh andereh meiceh' again, about getting manipulated and lied to by a guidance counselor into going to a school for 'character education' that was a cult. Stuck for three years in a place that demanded as much access to your thoughts as any angry god on punishments of daily physical torture and public humiliation, during which the pressure mounted in the mind of this once insufferable teen atheist until delusions of God's personal interference in every decision of his  life began; delusions which have been described by professionals as everything from extreme "Pure O" (obsession) to Schizotypal Personality Disorder, obsessions to which he can still only pay fealty at every moment, even as he types.

_____________________________________________

The first time I fell in love was with a fundamentalist Christian girl. Amy S_____. I was seventeen, and I met her on a cruise boat on the Black Sea. She was my first kiss - yes, it was quite late, but if you have to have a late first kiss, then experiencing it under a meteor shower off the Greek coast is probably the way to go. She was a Californian, a red-head like me, but 5’11 to my 5’4 ½. She claimed she was solicited to become a model, and it was not at all hard to believe. I was too shy to go up to her for nearly a week, but the day before I left, I finally worked up the nerve when I saw her on the deck, and told her that if I didn’t speak to her before I left, I think I was going to regret it. We were inseparable until five-o’clock the next morning. As it turned out, we had a lot in common. We were both too smart for the situations we’d found ourselves in. We were both clearly itching to get out from underneath backgrounds we found too repressive, or at least that was my impression of her. I’d met her mother earlier that week, and her mother was a holy terror, bragging to anyone who would listen about how terrified her children were of her. And during those years at a rather draconian boarding school, my very mind was being warped from mere depression to outright delusion. For a year or two afterward, we kept in touch via phone and IM, and would occasionally swear our mutual love to one another. On New Year’s Eve 2000 we spent the night talking on the phone to one another about eloping. When I found out she wasn’t serious, it began (for many more reasons than that...) the worst month of my life. In retrospect, I wasn’t particularly serious either, but having fallen into a place [Hyde School] as I did which literally caused me to experience manic delusions and hallucinations, I was looking for any way out, and desperate enough to think that underage marriage to a fundamentalist Christian was a legitimate option. Nevertheless, as I was (perhaps) still a potential marriage prospect down the road, or at least one to whom she kept declaring her love, she kept trying to ‘save me’, and getting me to see the rightness of Jesus Christ. The emotional disasters that followed were rather inevitable...

_____________________________________________

I often think to myself that my life began around the time I turned 19 or 20 – and everything which happened beforehand was the unfortunate life of some thinner person whose rather painful memories were inexplicably deposited into my brain. There’s a famous quote from Stravinsky in which he declared ‘My childhood was a period of waiting for the moment when I could send everyone connected to it to hell.’ It can’t be denied, there’s something amazingly immature about that sentiment – everyone has their reasons for acting as they do, even if those reasons are unjustifiable to anyone but themselves. No matter how angry you may (still) be about things which are fifteen or twenty years in the past, you're much better served by trying to see things from the point of view of those who made you angry. But I can’t deny that there were all too many moments in my twenties when that was precisely how I felt about everything which happened in my teens, and all too many moments of my twenties when I obsessed over the worry that my teens were going to happen all over again.

_____________________________________________

When I was sixteen, I would be trapped in a school for three years that was basically a cult from which maximal mental pressure was applied to make sure no one left - a school for troubled teens who believed all learning issues are a function of a person's moral character and therefore all failures to comply with demands, no matter how strenuous nor unreasonable, ought to be met with various forms of corporal punishment.

When I was sixteen, my high school required us all to play a sport. Since I didn’t make the JV soccer team, I was forced to play JV football. To toughen me up, the coach had me be a much repeated contestant for ‘bull in the ring.’ For those who have never played 'bull in the ring', here's how we played it: The entire Varsity team would surround me in a circle. And from any direction any one of them could run up to me to tackle. Putting me in the middle was almost like a pastime for the team.

I certainly had a more decent time being a wrestler and cross country runner than I ever did in football, but by then I hated every single thing about playing sports. I swore that after I reached college there was not a single person in the world who could make me play any sport ever again. My current physique is my reward for that promise, and even now that I’ve long since tried to get back ‘on the wagon’, every attempt to get back into physical activity is eventually hampered by something that triggers those old memories.



11
From a former Hyde School student....

Monday, August 11, 2014
Depression, Robin, and me
(to whatever god there is, I pray that I eventually have the strength of mind to post this as an in-text facebook post)

I don’t think I’m alone in this regard, but the apparent suicide of Robin Williams has hit me far harder than any celebrity death ever has. It is a horrible, brutal lesson of just how powerless the world still is against depression. The most beloved man in the world, who brought more pure joy and delight to more people than perhaps any figure from history ever has, was nevertheless powerless against depression’s pull. If it can claim Robin Williams, who did so much to redeem himself from its hold, is there any hope at all for those of us who struggle with it every day yet have nowhere near his platform to disarm it?


So it’s far past time to talk about the ravages of this illness publicly in my most public forum where I post 12098572039485 times a day: on Facebook. How can I stand for anything on my own two feet if I don't stand up for myself and those like me who suffer so greatly  - this illness which made me a C and D student and bully fodder in a parochial school that amplified its effect exponentially, even though it was perfectly clear to so many that I was more intelligent than nearly every A student they'd ever met (modesty is not one of its inherent traits, but mania is :) ), which forced me through the ‘troubled adolescent’ system, in which thousands of cynical or (still worse) fanatically concerned professionals make a quick buck by giving bad advice on how to handle teenagers of whom they clearly have no understanding; which delivered me for three years to a boarding school [Hyde School] where depression was thought of as nothing more than a character flaw, and where extreme mental and physical pressure was exerted every day to ‘correct’ these flaws on all of us in manners that resemble the slimiest tactics of Guantanamo - which in turn delivered me to nearly a decade of psychotic delusions and mental hallucinations which only a decade of consistent therapy was able to address; which in turn led me to years of inability to work a steady job, which of course lead to still more horrible depression. It’s led me to acts against others which, however objectively explicable they might be under the circumstances, I will and can never allow myself any forgiveness. Physically, it may have already aged me far beyond my years - causing me a battery of physical tics and uncontrollable tremors,  vertigo, dehydration, insomnia, along with massive food binges that cause all the predictable chest and stomach pain and rapid heart beat that goes along with it. Romantically, it has prevented any semblance of a long term relationship in my adult life. Socially, it has given me all sorts of difficulty with my (thankfully) many friends. Familially, it has caused more strife than any family should ever have to go through, and I worry has bequeathed a small (though far too large) bit of my infection  - a contagious illness if ever there is one - to my closest family members. In many ways, it is the cruelest of all possible illnesses, because it can strip all who suffer from it for decade upon decade of the ability to recognize any way in which we are still blessed. I’ve written in detail about this plenty of this on my blog, where, I’m well aware, I’m quite safe because nobody actually reads it.

Here is my message: Whenever you look down on someone for publicly advertising their depression online, I want you to remember to look down on me too. Whenever you see an unhappy person as an inconvenience ruining your good time, I want you to remember to view me as a similar annoyance. Whenever you view someone with contempt for burdening you with their mental problems, I want you to remember to have contempt for me too. Whenever you accuse someone experiencing mental anguish of simple emotional manipulation and self-pity, I want you to accuse me of it too. If you become suspicious of becoming friends or dating or working with someone because of their depression, I want you to become suspicious of me too. If you decide that you have no time for people who bring you down, I want you to have no time for me. I want the enemies of depressed people to become my enemies, and I want to take pride that I stood for something that may one day make the lives of those who live with depression not be defined by it, even if it may be too late to define my life by anything else. I have done what I could to conceal this illness (which ultimately is, of course, very little). I tried for what I think is the best of reasons - it was nice for once in my life not to be completely defined by it. And yet the concealment did so little to lighten the burden that I have to ask if it is at all worth the rather superhuman effort it takes (and nevertheless I still dread the thought that it is still very much worth it). This illness has led me to many, many mistakes in my lifetime. But this will no longer be one of them. Some people simply can’t live with the horror of the mistakes which this illness causes them to make, but insofar as it is ever in my control, I will always opt to live with mine. I’ve not done particularly well against it, but I’m nevertheless damn proud of the fact that I’ve done as well as I have in the circumstances. Realistically, I may one day be lost to this illness, either by suicide or by delusion or by physical strain, but so long as this illness is not me, I will choose life, rationality, health and hale every day, and never, never, never give in to it.

Original post

Hyde School
mental illness
abuse complaints reviews
breaking code silence
I see you survivor
Gauld

12
Hyde Schools / Re: Former students - Our worst experiences
« on: July 03, 2021, 09:21:22 PM »
This place is an abusive cult run by Joe Gauld and all his offspring and their spouses, plus Malcolm Gauld’s wife Laura Denton Gauld and her sister Claire Denton Grant and Claire’s husband Ken Grant. This clan has been psychologically and physically harming kids and their families for decades while paying their mostly high-turnover faculty next to nothing and making themselves rich. The only other place where they do spend lots of money is PR/marketing, producing endless glossy photos, videos of smiling kids, and substance-less spinning explanations of what they “offer”.  Hyde is on a number of watchlists in the troubled teen industry survivors groups for alleged human rights abuses. There has been a huge number sexual assault accusations by students towards faculty and other students, which always gets promptly swept under the rug by the Gauld dynasty. Google “Hiler v Hyde” for proof of just one incident that resulted in Hyde paying off the family in a court settlement because of a teacher with a known history fondling a student.

Joe gauld is a narcissistic abuser who used to hit all the students and bragged about it in TIME and other local and national journals. This “school” employs no psychologists or mental health professionals while accepting “problem kids” with every issue from drug abuse to bipolar to a history of trauma, and then “treats” them with unscientific, made up, “character building”, sometimes racist and homophobic cult nonsense. They force kids exercise through tears and horrific pain, sometimes to the point of injury. They are chronically medically neglectful. If you want pitiful academics, cultlike nonsense, a high level of nepotism, no real science based help for anyone’s issues, physical and emotional abuse, and fake family “seminar” (pseudo-counseling) led by uneducated 22 year olds which do participants far more harm than good, as well as having to pay for your kid to be in therapy to recover from Hyde for the next 20 years, all for the low, low price of $60-70k plus $5k for summer plus travel, then Hyde School is the right choice for you!

Look up Hyde school on Yelp, message boards, on Amazon, on Reddit.. just Google the words “Hyde School abuse” or “Hyde school complaints”. Don’t be seduced by their non-committal spin, their vague, empty promises, and their photos of the happy kids on a ropes course (which a child might see one single time in a year). This is a dangerous, irresponsible, abusive environment for any human being to be in. There are also more than 160 dead former Hyde students, many from suicide and drug overdose, most died under age 30. Google it.

13
Hyde Schools / 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: https://www.facebook.com/hydeschoolsurvivors

14
Hyde Schools / Re: Impressions of Hyde School
« on: June 21, 2021, 06:29:58 PM »
Hyde is huge on LGAT (Large Group Awareness Training). It's been used in like, Lifespring, Landmark, EST, Synanon.. involves forced confession of sometimes deep traumas with no trained counselors or psychologists present. There's nothing magical about this.. it can be extremely irresponsible and even dangerous.

15
Considering a Private Residential Treatment Program for a Troubled Teen?
Questions for Parents and Guardians to Ask/Warning from the FTC: original doc- http://astartforteens.org/assets/files/FTC-Warning-Signs-2009.pdf

Private residential treatment programs for young people offer a range of services,
including drug and alcohol treatment, confidence building, military-style discipline,
and psychological counseling for a variety of addiction, behavioral, and emotional problems.

Many of these programs are intended to provide a less-restrictive alternative to incarceration or
hospitalization, or an intervention for a troubled young person.

If you are a parent or guardian and think you have exhausted intervention alternatives for a
troubled teen, you may be considering a private residential treatment program. These programs go
by a variety of names, including “therapeutic boarding schools,” “emotional growth academies,”
“teen boot camps,” “behavior modification facilities,” and “wilderness therapy programs.”

No standard definitions exist for specific types of programs. The programs are not regulated by
the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring as mental health
or educational facilities, either. A 2007 Report to Congress by the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) found cases involving serious abuse and neglect at some of these programs. Many
programs advertise on the Internet and through other media, making claims about staff credentials,
the level of treatment a participant will receive, program accreditation, education credit transfers,
success rates, and endorsements by educational consultants.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, cautions
that before you enroll a youngster in a private residential treatment program, check it out: ask
questions; ask for proof or support for claims about staff credentials, program accreditation, and
endorsements; do a site visit; and get all policies and promises in writing.

Facts for Consumers

Questions to Ask
Here are some questions to ask representatives
of any program you may be considering. The
responses may help you determine if the program is
appropriate for your child.

1. Are you licensed by the state?

If the answer is yes, find out what aspects of the
program the license covers: educational, mental/
behavioral health, and/or residential?
If the program claims to be licensed, get the name
of the state agency that issued the license and
contact the agency to verify that the license is
current. Often, the licensing will be through a state
Department of Health and Human Services or its
equivalent. If the program’s representative can’t
provide the name of the licensing agency, consider it
a red flag.

If the program is unlicensed and you still want
to consider it, contact the state Attorney General
(www.naag.org), the Better Business Bureau
(www.bbb.org), and the local consumer protection
office (www.consumeraction.gov/state.shtml) where
the program is located.

Regardless of whether a program is licensed, when
contacting any of these groups:
Ask for copies of all publicly available
information, including any complaints or
actions filed against the program, site visit
evaluations, violations, and corrective actions.
Pay particular attention to any reports of
unsanitary or unsafe living conditions,
nutritionally compromised diets, exposure to
extreme environmental conditions or extreme
physical exertion, inadequate staff supervision
or a low ratio of staff to residents, medical
neglect, physical or sexual abuse of youth
by program staff or other residents, and any
violation of youth or family rights.

2. Do you provide an academic curriculum? If so,
is it available to all program participants? Do you
have teachers who are certified or licensed by
your state?

Some programs may offer only self-study or distance
education. Sometimes, educational options are
not made available until a resident has reached an
advanced phase of the program. In addition, some
programs may claim that academic credits will
transfer to the resident’s home school and count
toward a high school diploma. Check with the board
of education in the state where the program operates
– and with your state board if you live out-of-state
– to verify that academic credits will transfer.

3. What about accreditation?

Several independent nonprofit organizations, like
the Joint Commission (JACHO), the Council on
Accreditation (COA), and the Commission on
Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF),
accredit mental health programs and providers.
JACHO accredits and certifies more than
15,000 health care organizations and programs
in the U.S. (www.jointcommission.org)
COA is an international child- and family
service and behavioral healthcare organization
that accredits 38 different service areas,
including substance abuse treatment, and more
than 60 types of programs. (www.coanet.org)
CARF International is an independent accreditor
of human services providers in areas including
behavioral health, child and youth services, and
employment and community services.
(www.carf.org)

Ask whether all components of the program are
accredited, for example, the base program, the
drug and alcohol component, and the wilderness
program. Then contact the accrediting organization
for confirmation.

The GAO’s Report noted that one program claimed
to be accredited by the JACHO, but in fact, only the
base program was accredited. Neither the wilderness
program nor the drug and alcohol component was
accredited.

The organizations above grant accreditation
and certification after evaluating the quality of
services provided by a treatment program. Parents
and guardians should be aware that some other
organizations that claim to accredit schools may
serve merely as membership organizations, and
may not conduct site inspections or otherwise
evaluate the quality of the programs they certify.

If a treatment program claims to be certified or
accredited, parents and guardians should contact the
accrediting organization and ask about the standards
the organization uses when issuing a certification.

4. Do you have a clinical director? What are his/
her credentials?

Typically, a clinical director is responsible for
overseeing, supporting, and maintaining the
quality of care for the program. A clinical director
may have an advanced degree in a related field,
like clinical psychology, and may be involved
in providing individual therapy, assessment and
consultation, staff training and development, and
managing or supervising the components of the
program.

5. What are the credentials of the staff,
especially the counselors and therapists, who will
be working with my child?

Do they have appropriate and relevant advanced
degrees like a Masters in Social Work, a license
to do clinical social work (LCSW), a Ph.D., or
an M.D.? Are they certified or licensed within the
state? If they are, by what agency or organization?

Ask to see copies of relevant documents, and
consider contacting the certifying or licensing
organization to confirm the staff credentials. The
GAO found that some program leaders falsely
claimed to have credentials in therapy or medicine,
which led some parents to trust them with teens
who had serious mental or physical disabilities
requiring different levels of treatment.

6. How experienced is your staff? Have they
worked at other residential treatment programs?
If yes, where and for how long?

Ask to see current certifications in CPR and other
emergency medicine. For wilderness programs, also
ask for proof of relevant training and expertise.

7. Do you conduct background checks on your
employees?

If the answer is yes, find out who does the
background check and how extensive it is. Call the
company to confirm that it provides background
check services for the treatment program. If the
answer is no or the program does not conduct
background checks, consider it a red flag.

8. What are the criteria for admission ? Do you
conduct pre-admission assessments? Are they
in person, by phone, or over the Internet? Who
conducts them?

If your child has serious addiction problems or
psychological issues, take special care to ensure
that the program is equipped to deal with them.
Discuss the appropriateness of the program with
your child’s psychologist, psychiatrist, or other
healthcare provider.

9. Will you provide an individualized program
with a detailed explanation of the therapies,
interventions, and supports that will address my
child’s needs? When is this done? How often will
my child be reassessed?

Ask whether your child will have group or
individual therapy sessions. If the answer is yes,
ask how often the sessions will take place and who
will conduct them. Once enrolled, confirm with
your child that the promised level of care is being
received.

10. How do you handle medical issues like illness
or injury? Is there a nurse or doctor on staff?
On the premises? Will you contact me? Will I
be notified or consulted if there’s a change in
treatment or medication?

Ask for copies of procedures the program follows
on dealing with medical emergencies.

11. How do you define success? What is your
success rate? How is it measured?

Some programs make specific success claims in
their advertising materials. To date, there is no
systematic, independently collected descriptive or
outcome data on these programs.

12. How do you discipline program participants?

Ask about policies and procedures for discipline.

13. Can I contact/speak with my child when I
want? Can my child contact me when he wants?

Some programs prohibit, monitor, or otherwise
restrict verbal or written communication between
you and your child. Find out what is allowed and
prohibited before you enroll your child.

14. What are the costs? What do they cover?
What is your refund policy if the program doesn’t
work out?

Private residential treatment programs often charge
hundreds of dollars per day. While health insurance
sometimes may pay a limited amount, for the most
part, the youngster’s family is responsible for paying
the fees and bills.

15. Do you have relationships with companies and
individuals that provide educational and referral
services?

Some companies may provide services, claiming to
match troubled kids with an appropriate treatment
program. Be aware that although some of these
services represent themselves as independent, they
may not be. They may actually be operated or paid
by one or more of the treatment programs. Ask the
service if it receives commissions from the treatment
programs.

Facts for Consumers
1-877-FTC-HELP FOR THE CONSUMER
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION ftc.gov
July 2008
Federal Trade Commission
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Division of Consumer and Business Education

For More Information
Among the sources of information for families
researching private residential treatment programs
for troubled youngsters are:
The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO)
Report to Congress: “Residential Treatment
Programs: Concerns Regarding Abuse and
Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth”
(October 2007) – www.gao.gov
The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s list of state mental health agencies
www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/state_orgs.htm

The U.S. Department of State Fact Sheet:
“Behavior Modification Facilities” –
www.state.gov
Your State Attorney General – www.naag.org
The Alliance for the Safe, Therapeutic and
Appropriate use of Residential Treatment
(A START) – http://astart.fmhi.usf.edu

A START is sponsored by the Department of
Child and Family Studies of the University of
South Florida. The Alliance includes leaders in
psychology, psychiatry, nursing, mental health
law, policy and family advocacy, as well as
individuals with direct program experience as
director, evaluator, parent, or participant in
such programs.


About the FTC
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint
or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-
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