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Topics - Whooter

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The Troubled Teen Industry / Are there safe programs?
« on: August 02, 2013, 10:17:22 PM »
Quote from: "webdiva"
It is finally here. The Fix My Kid fundraiser is live!

Please help us spread the word and finish this film. The pitch from the directors starts after the trailer. This is for all those
we have lost, all those who have been hurt, and all those who currently suffer inside these programs. You will not be forgotten.

Click here http://

Quoting the "Fix my kids movie" link above:

"The report on the hearing also states that "many programs and many people around the country [are] committed to helping improve the lives of young people and who do good work every day, but it is difficult for parents to tell the good programs from the bad. And that difference can be lethal."

I have always been interested in why no one has ever engaged in an open discussion here on fornits on this topic.  Its seems to be taboo for some reason.  The rest of the world understands and realizes that there are good and bad programs but, for the most part, no one is willing to discuss helping the young people and their parents choose the best path possible or help them differentiate between the good programs and the bad ones.  The lack of discussion seems to lean towards allowing the status quo to continue.


The Troubled Teen Industry / Behrens Study vs. ASTART Debate thread
« on: May 25, 2013, 01:38:12 PM »
Quote from: "psy"
Overseen by a third party?   Paid for by Aspen, you mean.  There are plenty of problems with that "study".  So many, in fact, that I thought you had long ago given up on defending it.  Here's a detailed thread on the topic (of which there are many).  Let's keep discussion of the Behrens study to that thread, if we can, as it's closer to the topic than this thread.  Far too many threads have been derailed talking about that study.

The study was funded by Aspen Education, Conducted by Canyon Research and was overseen by a third party.  The 3rd party was WIRB which is an Institutional Review board.  They reviewed and approved the study and looked at areas like the Canyon Research employees previous ties to the industry, if they had any financial ties(other than the current study)during the study etc..  WIRB is also responsible for reviewing the majority of drug submissions to the FDA.  So they are a reputable firm.

This was a study conducted surveying 1,000 parents and graduates of a few programs. The results were presented at the Annual meeting of the APA American Psychological Association.

If my memory serves me well the study showed that up to 80% of the kids who graduated from the programs studied were still doing well after 2 years.  Most people with an anti program bias reject the results, but aside from this small population the study serves as a great piece of information for parents and professionals alike when determining the success of the industry.

The next best thing would be for someone to fund a study who has no ties to the industry and include more programs and track these kids for 2 or more years post graduation.

Review Study here


Tacitus' Realm / Funny
« on: January 19, 2011, 10:24:11 AM »
The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill to stop the mandatory printing of congressional documents.

.....the Government Printing Office was required to provide Congress with 325 copies of the three-page bill, according to the office of author Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y. The GPO typically prints between 325 and 475 copies of any bill or resolution, and this one was no exception.



The Troubled Teen Industry / Academics in present programs
« on: January 15, 2011, 06:52:41 PM »
I started this thread to discuss the academics provided by the present programs and discuss the ways they have improved (and have not improved) over the past several decades.  A good start may be to post the schools rooster of teachers and their qualifications.
Thread rules:
I want to keep posting in this thread limited to survivors and program parents only and exclude previous program teachers and staff because of their bias on the subject.

Program name: Bromely Brook

Teachers on staff as of 1/2011:

Balch, Colleen - Science Teacher B.A., Colby College; MS.Ed., Northern Illinois University

Burrow, Jeremiah - History Teacher B.A., Marlboro College; M.A.L.S, Dartmouth College

Clark, Kim - Teacher (no information)

Dawsen, Clemma - English Teacher BA in literature, creative writing and ceramic art from Bennington College, and an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.

Lenfest, Chenoa - History Teacher.  She graduated from CSC with a B.A. in History and Minor in Political Science.

Meyer, William - Science Department  He earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from Yale University in New Haven CT and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Noguero, Manuel - Language Teacher

Rubano, Pat – Teacher Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science from Pace University, Master of Business Administration degree

Bromley Brook School is accredited by CITA, licensed by Vermont Department of Children and Family Services, and a Recognized Independent School in the Department of Education in the State of Vermont. As such, our curriculum is approved by the State, facilitating appropriate credit transfer to other schools across the country. Our High School Diplomas are recognized by the State of Vermont.



It is exciting times and it appears that Ridge Creek School is doing well and positioning itself for meeting the needs of its present expansion.  This is good news for this growing therapeutic boarding school in this slow economy.  They have decided that business is brisk enough to add on an Admissions counselor to help with the work load.  They are reaching out for a Georgia certified masters level Director of academics, masters level Head Master/ licensed  and master level and licensed Director of Counseling.  They are also looking for a Georgia certified teacher for special education and yet another licensed counselor to add to their present staff and support the growing demand for their services.

The owner and founder, Len Buccellato, appears to be taking a well deserved step back and relinquishing a few of the hats he has been wearing   and at the same time adding to his staff of State certified and masters level employees.

Link to job descriptions

Director of Academics (Georgia Certified masters level)
Head Master (Masters level)
Special Ed Teacher (Georgia Certified)
Director of counseling (Licensed and masters level)
Counselor (Licensed)
Admissions counselor (Bachelors/Masters level)


The Troubled Teen Industry / Improvements within the TTI
« on: December 29, 2010, 09:26:24 PM »
This may be a good place to document noted improvements in the industry over the years.  

From reading several accounts of survivors' experiences in Straight and the seed one improvement that comes to mind is the quality of the food.  Many complained that they were served substandard and even rotting food.  In today’s programs they cater to various people’s needs from food allergies to vegetarian to Vegan.  The food meets higher standards than those of the programs of the past and although when I ate there the food was not of the standards of 3 star restaurants the food was very good.  I don’t think any of the kids complained at all.


News Items / Current Events
« on: December 27, 2010, 12:13:57 PM »
This thread is intended to capture any lastest news articles pertaining to the Troubled Teens Industry, which comes across peoples desk.

Auldern And Stone Mountain
Dance Together In A
Winter Wonderland

December 20, 2010

Auldern Academy and Stone Mountain School have joined forces to create a Winter Wonderland dance for their schools. This is the third dance that the schools have joined forces for a successful school dance. The much-anticipated event first began in 2008 as an experiment to see if the two schools could successfully provide a safe and healthy interaction between the boys and girls who attend each single sex school. It has been a huge success and has lead to the implementation of regular interaction between our students.

The night was filled with excitement as the boys from Stone Mountain entered the dance. Auldern girls and Student Life Counselors had spent the day transforming the dining hall into a winter wonderland, filled with sparkling snowflakes in honor of the season. The DJ revved up the music and students joined together for an evening of dance and socialization. All students really seemed to enjoy themselves at the event.

Doug Deaton, a professional photographer who also teaches at Auldern, was on hand to capture the event for the parents of the students.

We thank the Stone Mountain staff for bringing their boys such a long way and helping to chaperone the dance. Stone Mountain will host the next event in early 2011. This is a tradition we hope continues for many years to come.

Auldern Academy is a therapeutic boarding school in North Carolina serving young women grades 8-12. For more information about Auldern Academy, contact us at

Auldern is owned and operated by Sequel Youth and Family Services, Inc.


Feed Your Head / NATSAP staying strong in todays economy.
« on: December 22, 2010, 02:59:00 PM »
All members of NATSAP are now required to be licensed and/or accredited.  This sets up standards which parents can rely on.  It is good to see they are staying strong in this difficult economy.

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) was created in January of 1999 to serve as a national resource for programs and professionals assisting young people beleaguered by emotional and behavioral difficulties. The Association is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors comprised of representatives from the NATSAP membership.

Membership In NATSAP
Membership in NATSAP is voluntary and is renewed annually. Our members include therapeutic schools, residential treatment programs, wilderness programs, outdoor therapeutic programs, young adult programs and home-based residential programs.

NATSAP requires the members of our organization to be licensed by the appropriate state agency authorized to set and oversee standards of therapeutic and/or behavioral healthcare for youth and adolescents or accredited by a nationally recognized behavioral health accreditation agency and to have therapeutic services with oversight by a qualified clinician.

NATSAP's Role In Placement
NATSAP members are independently operated and owned; therefore, NATSAP does not provide placement services.

Each young person has his or her own specific needs that must be determined in detail before placement in any program is appropriate. Since NATSAP has no means of determining the needs of young people whose counselors or families may be using the NATSAP directory and information on members, NATSAP does not recommend specific programs.

Information About Our Members
NATSAP publishes a directory annually to inform professionals, programs, and families about the many residential placement alternatives available to help struggling young people.

Listed alphabetically, the schools and programs in the Program Directory are diverse. The directory's listings offer a wide range of programmatic types, lengths of stay, and services to meet the needs of a variety of troubled young people.

Matching the services of a particular school or program to the specific needs of a young person is arguably the most important decision that will ever be made on behalf of that young person. The NATSAP directory is not intended by itself to supply enough information to make a placement. NATSAP encourages programs, professionals, and families to have appropriate academic and psychological testing conducted and to use multiple informational resources before suggesting or pursuing a placement for any young person in any program.

Professionals and parents seeking information on placement for a young person experiencing difficulties have access to the NATSAP Directory on this website. Searching the directory will return each relevant program's basic information, including contact sources.


Open Free for All / To: Dysfunction Junction/Troll Control
« on: December 15, 2010, 10:12:32 AM »
Dysfunction Junction/Control Troll,  After you were caught, yesterday, logging in under various aliases (once again).  I would like to give you the opportunity to tell us the other "User Names" that you post under.  Don’t PM me the list because this would cause you to be banned as was discussed yesterday.  If you don’t have any other aliases then this would be the thread to tell us that in or to list the ones you have.

Just trying to be clear and to facilitate your coming back out into the open.

I post under the name “Whooter” only.  The admins know that they have a standing open invitation to check my postings, IP addresses and PM box at anytime to confirm that what I am saying is true.  You on the other hand have had a history of deception and lies as we knew and was confirmed once again yesterday.  So to avoid wasting the admins time once again it would be to theirs and your benefit to disclose your various aliases and sock puppets at this time.

No need to bring up "RobertBruce".  We all understand that relationship.

By no means am I saying that this is something you have to do, DJ/TC.  I am just giving you an opportunity so that there is no confusion in the future which may cause you further embarrassment.


The Troubled Teen Industry / Independent Study Shows Success.
« on: December 02, 2010, 06:49:32 PM »
Quote from: "Gonzotherapy"

When you provide info, if you want it to be taken seriously, it must be independent information.

So that brings us full circle, Gonzo.  Below there is an independent writer who wrote a book about spending 14 months in a program.  I also provided a link to an independent study which was overseen by a thrid party to insure there was no conflict of interest.  They are from the state of Washington (I hope that state is acceptable to you)

Here are a couple of links for you:

1)  This was a study conducted surveying 1,000 parents and graduates of a few programs.  The study was overseen by WIRB (The Western Institutional Review Board) and they also approved the study.  The results were presented at the Annual meeting of the APA American Psychological Association.


2)  There was a writer who spent 14 months (I thought it was 16 months) inside a program and then wrote a book about his findings


A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer untangles the mysteries of the
teenage mind as he witnesses troubled kids transformed by fourteen
months at a school that offers therapy for adolescents in
Millions of parents struggle to grasp what goes on in their kids' heads,
on their computers, and among their friends. As an education correspondent
for U.S. News & World Report, David L. Marcus
wrestled with similar
questions while reporting on the welter of pressures American teenagers
now face – a resurgent drug culture, proliferating temptations and threats
on-line, skyrocketing suicide rates (three times higher than in the
To find answers, Marcus gained unfettered access to students, staff,
and parents at the Academy at Swift River
in the hills of western
Massachusetts. The kids at Swift River had already ventured down a
number of perilous paths all parents fear their own children might
take – drug use, violence, theft, internet addictions, eating disorders,
promiscuity. Known for combining intensive academics, a wilderness
program and group therapy, the school helps troubled teenagers emotional


Aspen Education Group / ASR Alumni Interview
« on: November 30, 2010, 11:23:35 AM »
Editor's Note: Ashley graduated from ASR February 17, 2006. She worked full time at Costco for the first year following graduation while exploring college options and considering what she wanted to do. Subsequently she entered the University of Vermont, where she is currently finishing her second year. Ashley is in the Business School, majoring in accounting, and plans to obtain her CPA. While working toward that, she is staying very busy. She still works part-time at Costco and holds another part-time position at The UPS Store. In addition, she has a weekly house-cleaning job that brings in some extra cash.

Our thanks to Ashley for agreeing to add an interview with us to her super-busy schedule, and to Lisa Hunt, Admissions Counselor, who conducted the interview.

What were some of the thoughts you had about being sent to ASR?
Well, when my mom first told me that she wanted me to leave St. Albans (my hometown) and go to a school in Massachusetts, of course, I thought she was crazy! I did not want to leave my friends, school, everything that I was doing. After some thought, I figured I would try something new. I had checked the internet about this "Swift River" school. The brother of one of my friends had been sent to a school like Swift River and she said you could do what you wanted, schedule your own appointments, etc. So after all that, I agreed. I was excited to try something new—but little did I know!
What did you think it was going to be like?
Since my friend had said that you could pretty much do whatever you want, that's what I thought I could do. I thought that it would be a normal high school but with a little therapy.

What were some of things that you did to prepare to come?
I'm not sure if I did anything to prepare. By this time, I had left my high school and was waiting for the day to come to go to this "school."

How did your perceptions change once you got here?
My perceptions of the school changed probably within the first half-hour of being there. Someone had greeted us at the car and already told me I could not have any of my belongings except for the clothes I was wearing. They said the nail polish and makeup could go right back home. After that I was brought into a building and told to change into some wilderness-style clothes, and then I was put into a back of a gator and went for a ride into the woods. I would say I had an extremely negative attitude and was not open to listening to anyone at this point.

Can you tell a story of a situation that resulted in positive growth for you? Even if you didn't see it at the time?
My situation occurred while I was 13 months into my program and about to leave for Costa Rica and graduate three months later. I went on my last home visit first, and relapsed. I woke up in the hospital and started to freak out because I knew I had messed up my life now. Why would my mom think that I was going to change or had changed if I came home near the end of my program and got alcohol poisoning? It was an uncomfortable situation for my family and for me. I was disappointed in myself and I knew it was going to be a lot of work to get back on track. My mom and I had a huge dispute about returning to ASR. She said I was not going back and she never wanted to see me again, and I was begging her to please let me go back to ASR. I knew being around her wasn't going to get any better and ASR would help me work through my mistakes. Finally she brought me back. Since I had relapsed, I was not allowed to go to Costa Rica with my peer group, which really upset me; but it was probably a good thing it happened. Even though I relapsed and paid the consequences, it was a positive growth event for me in that it made me realize what is important in life and how my decisions affect everyone around me.

What was your favorite academic class? Why?
I would say that my favorite classes at ASR were the two college classes that I took. A teacher from a local community college came to ASR and taught about 10 of us. It was a great experience because even though we were in such a small high school, I was still able to take some high level classes.

Was there anything that you dreaded? Why?
I would say that I dreaded group sessions. I mean ,who likes to be confronted in front of 25 people about your issues? Not me! But that's how it works and that's what we had to work through. Eventually I realized that not everyone was out to get me but to actually help me.

What traces of ASR are in your daily life now?
I would say that my life is consumed with traces of ASR. Every choice I make is surrounded by pieces of ASR. I don't even know how to explain it. I have learned to slow down my thoughts and realize whether it is going to be a good or bad decision. I don't jump right into things anymore; I think about what consequences could come out of it. My life is definitely more thought through... I guess that's the best I can explain it!

What was the transition out of ASR like?
Well, being on that stage on February 17, 2006, was unbelievable. I was looking at everyone, reminiscing about when I had first come to this school and could never have imagined myself on that stage. It was a great feeling to know everything that I had accomplished. Walking out to my mom's car felt great also. I was excited to prove to my mom that I had changed and was a "new and improved" Ashley. I don't think that transitioning was very hard at all. All the friends who had brought me down had left St. Albans. My hometown high school classmates were finishing up their senior year and applying to colleges. I was excited to start life and live it to the fullest.

How do you apply the things that you learned?
Like I mentioned earlier, I use all the information I learned at ASR in my thoughts and actions. I am more cautious about what I do and how it will affect people.

What do you miss about the ASR Environment?
I'm not sure if I miss anything about ASR (having eyes on you all the time, attendance everywhere you go, structured schedule) except for the people I met. Friends, staff and teachers were definitely that best part of the school. You form bonds with people that you didn't know were possible. It's a good feeling to know that everyone cares about you and wants to help and support you. Friendships are unexplainable. I met kids from age 14-19 who all came from basically the same situations and were put together and trying to figure out what went wrong. It was definitely an experience!!!!!!!!

What are you happy to have left behind?
I am happy to leave behind anger, screaming, pain, dishonestly, dishonor.... anything that caused pain to my family and friends. I look back and am embarrassed at how I acted and treated people. I realize that my actions affected other people and do not enjoy knowing that I hurt many people in the past, but most of all I hurt myself.

Can you think of one or more things about yourself that have changed that you may attribute to ASR?
Yeah, my whole attitude towards life. Now I look forward to every day knowing that I will make the right choices.

The general mission of ASR is to get students 'back on track' with 'new beginnings.' Does your experience relate to this mission? Do you think that you were off track? Are you on track now?
This is a great mission statement and it completely reflects ASR! Basically I was stripped down to the necessities of life and told that I didn't need all that extra in my life. Life is about simplicity and being happy with yourself. I was certainly off track and was brought back on track with all the help from the Academy. I am grateful for all that help.

What else would you like the school to know, or prospective students to know?
I would like to say that IT IS A HARD AND SCARY ROAD but in the end, you will be a better person and enjoy life to the fullest if you actually WANT to change and make the difference in your life. It's all about you... you make the difference!!



The Troubled Teen Industry / A Survivor story without the drama
« on: November 04, 2010, 05:00:22 PM »
An example of a survivor’s story without the drama… i.e. Kidnappings, torture, brainwashing, starvation, beatings and attacks.  You will notice that the author included the ups and downs in his/her point of view, not just the negative points.  To me this is refreshing and makes the post very credible. Yet I noticed no one extended a welcome to this poster.  Could this be because he failed to say he was kidnapped and abused?

This is a story that I think parents would believe to be credible.  The author isnt seeking attention or trying to run down the program and seems to take responsibility for himself and his actions.


Ok too many wrong points and whole lot of good points...I was in the AEG programs for 4 years almost...Yeah I didn't like them but it served me well...Now I wasn't there for Neil and Mary but I did hear stories from some people about their tyranny, but I do not believe they supported terrorists. Get a day job seriously! But from what I heard sometime ago, a girl had to take insulin shots on a daily basis and apparently Neil gave her Hep-C, because he really needed insulin once. SO she used it not knowing he used it, he didn't tell her and now she has it for the rest of her life. And yeah thats a real shit thing to do, but most the kids there refused to do anything about their behaviors, most kids brandished knives, I saw a kid break a part a plastic knife and swallow it. He also carved a girls initials in his own skin. And most of the kids that went had torn family values anyways. And most of them ran away because their parents were absolute monsters. It wasn't like summer camp I know that. We had kids come from Military Schools and they said those schools were more enjoyable than Cedars. To all you parents, yeah you might have different opinions on how Cedars treated your kids, but I went there from 04 to 06. Most of the staff was yeah very unqualified but they were nice as hell. And when I was there they never restrained people or "touched" them in any bad ways. The only reason why I think this is so, they wouldn't let the boys mingle with the girls, that was the only problem any of us had. I mean we still had ways to go around that but it wasn't all bad. Most kids that I saw come and go, faked being sick, faked breaking limbs, faked being attacked by other people, faked being real and faked being anything worth a damn. Oh yeah the other reason was the tuition was like 50 thousand dollars. If you can afford that then good luck to you, reason being all those kids were so damn spoiled that at the end of the day they just went crazy and went nuts, cuz they couldn't have their laptops, IPODS, or cell phones. I went to another AEG school b4 Cedars for a year and half with no technology, grow the hell up and do your work like the rest of us and stop complaining.


The Troubled Teen Industry / Program Model I support
« on: October 22, 2010, 07:02:13 PM »
This is a local school that I support.  They have many across the country.  If all kids attended schools like this one then I dont think there would be a need for placing kids outside the home in out of state programs. (or as a minimum there wouldnt be many kids left to support the programs that exist today)


 At Sudbury Valley School, students from preschool through high school age explore the world freely, at their own pace and in their own unique ways. They learn to think for themselves, and learn to use Information Age tools to unearth the knowledge they need from multiple sources. They develop the ability to make clear logical arguments, and deal with complex ethical issues. Through self-initiated activities, they pick up the basics; as they direct their lives, they take responsibility for outcomes, set priorities, allocate resources, and work with others in a vibrant community.

Trust and respect are the keys to the school’s success. Students enjoy total intellectual freedom, and unfettered interaction with other students and adults. Through being responsible for themselves and for the school’s operation, they gain the internal resources needed to lead effective lives.

Sudbury Valley School was founded in 1968. Located in an old stone mansion and a converted barn on the mid-nineteenth century Bowditch estate, the ten acre campus adjoins extensive conservation lands.


Thought Reform / Does Thought Reform Still Happen in the TTI?
« on: October 18, 2010, 09:53:51 PM »
Quote from: "Awake"
Quote from: "Whooter"
Quote from: "Awake"
Huge disagreement with you there Whooter. Only its not just that the kid loses contact with their primary environment, they manipulate contact with their primary environment to manipulate the kid. Control over that communication and contact is a tool of coercion.

I understand that you disagree with me, Samara, and that is okay considering your experience and perspective.  I dont knock you for that.  But once you open up the communication and allow kids to speak with their parents openly without any staff around and they are able to send out letters unscreened like we have seen in todays programs, and engage the surrounding community the chance of a successful thought reform or brainwashing falls away.  There is no way to sustain enough control to be successful.


I’m sorry but I think you are opining. These programs have a history of intercepting interpersonal communication and manipulating communication between the child and their family and there is no proof it has changed. Your conjecture that i am Samara is also wrong.

Wow, I apologize awake.  I just came off a post with Samara and thought she had responded.

I have copies of parental agreements which ask parents to sign over consent (to staff) to open the kids incoming and outgoing mail  while they are in programs so I understand this to be happening.  These programs are mostly WWASP based and are slowly being closed down.  The newer generation of programs I am familiar with allow much more communication with the outside world via therapists, phone calls, letters, engaging with local community and other students etc.

My opinion is that the industry is changing for the better, but it is fact that some of the newer programs allow a greater degree of communication outside the program walls which would prohibit any successful thought control or brainwashing process to occur.


The Troubled Teen Industry / My TTI Postings (general discussion)
« on: October 15, 2010, 06:39:17 PM »
I have posted close to 10,000 posts here on fornits and there are a few that I am not proud of,  I do admit that, but there are not many compared to the number I posted.  I had them all exposed for everyone to see willingly and knowing my past would be exposed for all to see.   I have a few posters who don’t like what I have posted and subsequently cut and paste sound bites of these posts in an effort to place them in the worst light possible.  I have ignored this for the most part but after giving it some thought I really don’t feel I have anything to hide.  I stand behind all my postings and I am sure there was a good reason behind everything that I posted.

Do I wish I had reworded some of them?  Yes, but I am the same person today as when I wrote those posts just maybe a little older and wiser I hope.

There are a lot of posts flying around and a lot of posters like Shadyacres, Anne Bonney, Watchful Yeoman, Son of Serbia, Shaggys, Samara etc. who express concern with my postings in other threads and I don’t want to address the questions there in that thread resulting in a derailed thread.

If people are interested in why I wrote the posts that I did then this is the thread to ask me.  Don’t bring it up in the middle of other peoples posts or conversations.  If there is a specific post that upsets you or you are wondering why I posted it then post it here and I will respond to it the best I can.

I will review each post and determine why I posted it and respond back here in this thread.  I think this will help to clear up many questions about me and help keep the main forum free from these conversations.

Your question on a post must include a link to the original post so that I can review it.


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