Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform => Mission Mountain School => Topic started by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 12:26:00 AM

Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 12:26:00 AM
For those of you who may not know, Blaire committed suicide last Wed. 11/9/05  She was a love and will be missed.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 12:34:00 AM
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 12:34:00 AM
City: Edwards    Marital Status: In a relationship  
State: CO    Gender: Female  
Age: 22    Children: 0  
Birthday: 05/15    Nickname: Blah  
About My Personal Life
I am currently living in Boulder, Colorado and enrolled at the University at Boulder majoring in neuroscience and biology, believe it or not, and doing very well. and yes colleen i still hate mission mountain except for doug and a few others, you cant sue me or any of us for our opinion of all the shit that went down at MMS. Im not saying that i hated everything about it i just think that about 90% of it was awful and i still have nightmares about it. So i hope you are all proud of yourselfs for what you put us through.

Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 01:46:00 PM

I just chatted with her last week in this true????????????
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 02:41:00 PM
How did you find out that she committed suicide?
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 04:55:00 PM
yes, tragically, it is true.  i found out from one of her best friends.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 05:20:00 PM
Wow, I am so sorry for her, for her family, and for her friends who she left behind. It appears she was in a relationship, so sadly she is leaving that person behind as well.

Girls, those of you who have had bad experiences in any program, please remember that you are special, that you did not deserve how you were treated, and that there is life outside those 4 walls. If any of you have suicidal thoughts, please do not disregard them. Take care of yourselves and seek out help. There are good people in this world, you just have to look for them.

Again, I am sorry for Blaire and all those who knew here.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 15, 2005, 07:52:00 PM
I spoke with her a few times, that's sad.  This one's for Blair: ... B608165968 (
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 15, 2005, 08:46:00 PM
QUOTE: I just found out that a girl I never met, but who attended the same school as me committed suicide Wednesday 11/9. I am fluctuating between feelings of anger, sadness, and disgust b/c I had heard from another student about how poorly she had been treated there and's just terribly sad that she never received the care she deserved. From what little we spoke, she seemed to have a beautiful spirit. I had spoken to her a while back and she expressed enthusiasm for these facilities to be regulated given her own painful experience. She also told me that she had been called and threatened with a lawsuit by the headmaster's wife after posting this on

From I am currently living in Boulder, Colorado and enrolled at the University at Boulder majoring in neuroscience and biology, believe it or not, and doing very well. and yes colleen i still hate mission mountain except for doug and a few others, you cant sue me or any of us for our opinion of all the shit that went down at MMS. Im not saying that i hated everything about it i just think that about 90% of it was awful and i still have nightmares about it. So i hope you are all proud of yourselfs for what you put us through.


For Blair, let's see to it that these places are regulated and that the ones that are abusive are shut down.

Let your voices be heard.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 17, 2005, 12:52:00 AM
i love you kid.

Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 17, 2005, 02:31:00 PM
I wrote this short letter a long time ago.  If the person who I sent it to wants to known she will let you know. Anon had asked me about Blaire and I replied: This is the actual letter.

Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 6:40 PM
To: anonimous friend
Subject: Re: Blair


anonimous friend,


I know that Blair was a major scape goat at the school at the time. Many girls disliked her, but I think it was the school's fault. I always misjudged her character because she was always like ADD. It seemed as though the school pushed her to be the way she was. Blair was very odd and hyper active, and seemed to be very dishonest. She was usually "attacked" during group settings, and blamed for chaos. I think the way I perceived her is wrong now, because I never saw her to be very mature, but there were times that she expressed great feelings and I knew there was something there inside her being misunderstood, and being pushed to act the way she did: almost "crazy". I would defenetly like to hear her story, but concerned with her level of maturity, and self awareness. She may have changed greatly. She may actually have a lot of knowledge to put in to this, but I am not sure. If she has changed the main thing that she would probably say is about how the school humiliated her and made her look like she was dumb, because that's the way I saw it. I saw her as having no capability of having deep thoughts, but had she been given the chance to express herself correctly she would have probably proven to all of us that she was/is greatly intellingent..and I hope that that's true, for the sake of this matter.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 17, 2005, 10:55:00 PM
Blaire Milliken Webbe, a former Vail Mountain School student, died unexpectedly Nov. 9. She was 21.

Webbe was born May 15, 1984.

After attending Vail Mountain School, Webbe graduated from the Idyllwild School of Performing Arts in California, where she studied film and video production. Webbe was living in Boulder where she was attending the Academy of Cosmetology Arts in Denver.

Webbe is survived by her parents, Daphne and Linsday Webbe; her sisters, Kate and Hope; and her brother, Henry.

There will be a memorial service at 1 p.m., Sunday at the Beaver Creek Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Make A Wish Foundation in memory of Blaire Webbe, 7951 E. Maplewood Ave., Suite 126, Greenwood Village, CO, 80111.

Vail, Colorado ... S/51115004 (
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 18, 2005, 09:28:00 AM
This is so very sad.
Anyone who says this death is not a result of this girl's treatment during her stay a MMS, and her treatment for speaking out about this abusive school is dead wrong!
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 04:34:00 PM
Well, I don't care about being anonymous so I just say off the bat that this is Liz and I was at MMS from 01-03.  

I really don't know what to say about all of this.  Of course I have problems with MMS.  It screwed me up in ways that I didn't even know were possible.  I was so scared the whole time that I was there that I pretty much had zero personality - ZERO.  But I won't be in the college I'm in if I hadn't gone there.  What I do have a major problem with is the fact that someone would get in trouble for saying their opinion about their experience.  ESPECIALLY AFTER THEY HAVE LEFT THE GOD DAMN PROGRAM.  At that point they are adults and no longer under whatever loophole in the law that allows for places like MMS to do the same kind of monitoring of opinions characteristic of the worst theocracy/dictatorship.  How 1984 was all that shit?  Nothing gets me going like violations of THE BILL OF RIGHTS.  So this is for John, Colleen, and the rest of you staff members up there:

These opinions are not isolated to the people you have classified as "bad" alumni.  I celebrated 4 years of sobriety on August 30th of this year, and since I left there all that I've realized is that everything that I believed was good about that school came from the girls and a few staff members, namely Gary and Doug.  I don't understand how you could write people like Blaire off and threaten her with a bullshit lawsuit.  I'm not an expert yet, but a case against her would honestly hold just as much credibility as the case Fox News had against Al Franken, which, by the way, the supreme court judge laughed at and essentially told the lawyer fighting for fox to stop talking. I do not credit anything to you.  I credit my happiness and what success I've had to my friends like Blaire, and how dare you tell her that she's not perfect the way she is with the feelings she has.  How dare you tell anyone that.  How dare you have told me that.  I'm still recovering from it all.  God, but I don't know what to do with myself because I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't gone there.  

A note to all my girls:
I love you guys so much.  I'm so sorry for everything I ever did to perpetuate the school's bullshit, because I know that I have done things that have.  Just know that the only reason was my own selfish fear and that at the time I didn't have enough brain power to question anything.  If I could go back and do it again I would fight for any and all of you.  Thank you guys, and thank you so much Blaire for being yourselves when I couldn't.  I admired you at the time and I admire you now.  Blaire, you are a beautiful soul, thank you for the time you took to listen and I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to really make yourself heard.  We're all going to do it for you now, so you can rest sweetheart.  I'm seriously going to email J-"god"-man right now, I'll post his response too so everyone can see it.  Maybe we should all start sending emails so he gets crazily bombarded.  Remember that thing he used to say that if you think the sky's purple but pretty much everyone else is telling you its blue, what you think is probably wrong?  Let's show him the sky's blue...or just that he's wrong.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 20, 2005, 05:10:00 PM
here here, Liz!  Blaire's death, and the suffering of countless other girls should not be allowed to have happen in vain.  What I really wonder is how much Blair's parents know about the way she was treated at MMS- I think that they should be made privy to all the information we have, they'd probably be shocked as mine were.  

Also, I often think, as you mention, what other alternative was there?  And that's the biggest problem.  These facilites have popped up everywhere precisely b/c local care has failed us- lack of funding, training mostly, lack of parental awareness, and a great deal of misinformation going around too.  What I hope that, as young people getting oranized, not just from MMS, but from other facilites just like MMS, we can draw attention to this obvious flaw in the system that doesn't provide care needed that has allowed this billion dollar a year industry to flourish w/o gov't oversite to ensure the care kids are recieving is ethically implements.  Most importantly, the gov't has failed provide kids/parents with the more effective solutions by improving local systems of care to these problems many kids face,because youth often don't require institutionalization- that should be reserved for extreme cases. Studies have shown that it often doesn't work and it's time that the public recognize this and the gov't provide the resources to solve this problem.  Home based care, outpatient treatment has provent to be most effective, especially in places that are well funded that use something called the 'wrap around process'.  This is a more holistic mehtod that empowers youth and their families.

These imporvements & regulation, of course, can't be made if the only voices Congressman hear are coming from industry folks and families swearing by these facilites, where girls/boys who have been harmed are silenced by the Colleen's of the world.  It's bullshit and I, for one, am tired of that intimidation that allows this to mistreatment to continue.  How many more Blaire's have to die until we realize we are harming so many kids by remaining silent?

I'm not sure what e-mailing John will do, my sense is that if he is so easily dismissive of a few bad apples, (read: dissenters- remind you of any particular administration?) then I'm not sure he would be receptive to many dissenters-- but, perhaps he truly does care.  My opinion of John is beyond low, i think he's scum and really doesn't care for youth, or does so only insofar as it doesn't hurt his fragile ego and...well, maybe I shouldn't go beyond that.  We all know what he was like.  

But in terms of real change, I do encourage you all to write Dr.Allison Pinto and share your experience- that story will be delivered to Congress in support of regulation.  It's a place to start, even if it's not the final solution.  Plenty of abuses and abusive methods are used at regulated facilites, but it's a start  This is Dr. Pinto's e-mail address.

[email protected]

So, thanks Liz for sharing your thoughts...I appreciate what you have to say.

best, kat
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 05:43:00 PM
Thank you so much for your response.  I cried.  I'm so torn up right now with all of this.  Really don't know what to do with myself but write that email, so I know that he'll probably write it off, but I can't just sit by and let it go.  Yeah, I'm definitely one of those people who gets arrested at protests...of this administration.  If I get blown off at least I can say that i tried and my conscious can be clear.  I love all of you so much and so deeply that I really don't give a shit how I'm perceived.  I refuse to be unheard, seriously, it's the least I can do for Blaire and everyone else I was there with, who has been there before, and who is there now.  I was a part of it, and I just can't be any more.  It's gone too far.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 05:44:00 PM
The one above this one is from Liz, and so is this one - but I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to write that email to the guy you suggested.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 20, 2005, 05:55:00 PM
Also, Liz, I'm not sure your aware of this my space group I started- I hope to, in the near future, create a more comprehensive site w/ a friend of mine that attended another program (we both are part of 'A Start'- that's explained on the site) that deals with this issue, but for now my space will have to do.  Check it're not at all alone in your sentiments.  And with enough people willing to be verbal I'm sure something good will come out of it...Thanks again for speaking your mind.

BTW, do you know if Blaire graduated teh program?  Can you tell us about how you saw her MMS experience, like how staff/students treated her?  I know what was e-mailed to me about her by a firend described poor treatment by staff and students who were there with her, but I was curious to hear your take on it. I know what the scapegoat thing is like at MMS, and how if you dont fit the mold you're verbally beat or physically worked until exhausted until you do- I have a picture in my mind what it must have been like for Blaire, but I don't know how accurate it is... And, how about your own experience (if you feel ok talking about it here).  *shrug* I'm nosy...

best- kat ... ChildAbuse (
[ This Message was edited by: katfish on 2005-11-20 14:58 ]
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 07:03:00 PM
Hey guys - it's Liz cermak from 01-03 of MMS.  I just sent this letter to John.  I promise to post his response.

    I need to express some things to you about my experience at MMS, and I need you to respect me and not write me off.  First of all - I'm doing really well.  I just celebrated four years of sobriety on Aug. 30 of this year, and I've now been with my boyfriend for 2 years next month.  Life is beyond what I ever thought it could be.  So don't write me off as one of the "bad" alumni.
    Blaire's death has spurred me to really reflect on some of the methods employed at the school.  I'm desperately confused because I know that I would not be where I am today if I had not been put some where, but I also am aware that some of the rules and ways that we were treated are against the law.  No where, in any part of any legislation, are the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights taken away from citizens who are not convicted felons.  They were taken away from us while at MMS.
    The tactics used to influence psychological and social change in us were cruel.  I lost all sense of who I was John.  Every part of my personality that I liked got squashed because I was afraid they were bad and I'd get punished.  But the truth is that I am rebellious.  I am loud.  I like to express my sexuality in ways that make me feel good about myself.  I'm smart and sophisticated.  I like to do crazy things like dance in a fountain at a party.  I sponsor people.  I am sponsored.  I have worked the 12 steps as they are outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  People describe me as being naturally high and drunk.  My nick name is Granola Barbie.  I am willing to get arrested for a cause I believe in, and there is nothing wrong with that.  You telling me that something was wrong with elements of my personality killed me inside.  Everything I knew and cherished about my spirit and soul was a "negative and old" behavior.  I'm not your perfect girl.  What do you get out of humiliating us?  Isn't there a better way to get Lauren Trick to see that she can be apart of the group than to make her run around us in a circle, repeating some line over and over while sobbing and struggling for breath outside in -15 degree weather?  Two people got severe frostbite while we were standing out there.  Lauren was crying, she was completely and incomprehensibly demoralized, and not as a result of the way that she was governing her life, but because of a personality trait - defect of character - that she didn't know better than to depend on.  We could have just given her hugs.  We could have just held her.  We could have celebrated who she was instead of telling her that she was bad.  Treated her like she had cancer rather than like she had leprosy.  
    And as for me, I remember a particular incidence where we did a 23-24 mile bike ride up the mountain with huge rocks that symbolized our "core issues."  I made it up to the top 5th, I think, and was really proud of myself for my accomplishment because I hadn't stopped to rest once since we started.  I hadn't stopped moving my legs.  I fell off my bike once because it hit a rock or something, but I jumped right back on and kept going.  That's how I define success - getting back up when you fall.  Yet when you asked those of us who had come all the way up without stopping to place our rocks toward the center of the circle (which I did), and then asked us all to share our experience, I mentioned falling and getting right back up.  You stopped me.  Told me to put the rock back in my lap because falling counted as stopping.  I had failed.  I couldn't put my rock up on the hill.  Obviously, because I had fallen and gotten right back up, I wasn't ready to let go of the issue my rock represented.  Right.
    WAKE UP.  How do you define success?  I'm actually really curious.  Anyway, just so you know, later on that summer we did the same bike ride without the rocks and I made it to the top without falling or stopping.  I did it perfect like you wanted me to.  So I went down and got my rock out of the ash where all of us who  had failed last time had thrown them, and I put it up on the hill with all the people who had succeeded last time.  Yet I felt guilty for doing that.  Do you understand how terrible it is to feel guilty about the most central aspects of your experiences of self, basic consciousness, reality, world view, moral code, emotional control, and personality?  To feel powerless while being subjected to intense and frequent actions/situations that undermine your confidence in yourself and your judgment?  This intense feeling of guilt I just described is the mark of an MMS alumni.  How can you be proud of that, let that continue, and meanwhile claim that you practice the 12 steps in your daily life?  Love and tolerance is our code.  

Pg. 96 of the Big Book-  
"Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once.  Search out another alcoholic and try again.  You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer.  We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you.  If you leaves such a person alone, he may soon recover by himself.  To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy."

Why did you keep chasing Blaire?  Chasing someone and driving them down until they question every single thought and feeling is not helping them.  I had to get to the point where I accepted help on my own terms, John.  I was just lucky because I had that bottom before I came to MMS.  Most of the girls there were and are not ready.  Provide them with the opportunity to say whatever they want.  People need to discuss their anger and hatred, even towards you and/or the school.  If you prohibit that than you're really just doing the same thing as the dictators of the world on a small scale.  It's George Orwell's 1984 in the middle of Montana.  I had my sponsor on my resentment list just because as my sponsor she had authority over me.  The resentment doesn't make sense, but I feel it and therefore it is my reality.  Read Foucault - he's a genius French philosopher.  Not everyone fits into and agrees with your paradigm.  I'm glad it works for you, seriously, and I'd like to think you have good intentions.  I just wanted to tell you that the methods you are using are counterproductive and currently blowing up in your face.  If you want to help people you need to take some inventory of your methods.
    So thank you for your time.  I hope change starts to happen, and I do intend to become active in pursuing regulation and reforms for institutions like MMS.  Respect and reflect on my opinions John - I'm not a drugged out little kid any more, and I deserve to be treated like the adult I'm becoming.  

- Liz Cermak
[email protected]
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 20, 2005, 07:33:00 PM
funny you should mention Foucalt- i recently wrote a paper drawing comparisons from John's domination and use of physical coercion, terror, space and time to control us.

Well written, liz.  awesome!

BTW, nothing against AA, but i think that there is something inherent in AA's methods- mostly the fear element, and the 'one way- only way' toward 'recovery' that allows John's (and other's) methods to flourish in our society.  Of course, he is not practicing tolerance as AA prescribes, though- he's practicing force.

An interesting stat I came across is that AA/NA and abstinence only programs work on about 10-12% of youth.  And most people, adults and kids alike, can use moderately, even after having used excessively at one point in their lives.  Of course, that's not everyone, but AA pushes  only abstinence and really is the most popular programs out there, so the reality is probably hidden from most problem drinkers/druggers. In very much the MMS way, they push the fear element, like you every touch a drink your inches away from ending up in jail, insane etc. so you must stop completely, and that's simply not the case for most.  For me, who was told by MMS I was an alchi and went to AA religoiusly after MMS, it instilled this idea (that began at MMS) that I was crazy and this total drunk, so when I relapsed I would not only beat myself up, but act the part and go insane- does that make sense?  I didn't realize that mostly people need to just deal with the issues that are forcing them to rely on booze/drugs to get through their lives.  Figuring out, 1. that I was never this out of control boozer who would never be able to handle a drink responsiblly and 2. that I have underlining issues to deal with, some of which came up from having had to endure John's mistreatment has been a huge relief in my life.  Huge!  I can't even tell you how much freer I feel from the chains of misinformation and fear.  That's not to say everyone, like you Liz, can drink moderatly again or AA does work for some, but it's just yet another thing that I found to mess with my own head that began at MMS and has since been studies and determinged to not be a very effective model to use on kids.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 09:35:00 PM
I truly respect your opinion and experience, and know that that is true for a great many young kids who get put in treatment.  All I know is that my life is amazing the way that I'm living it right now, and I don't really want to change anything because of that.  I'm really glad you've found something that works for you.  I really believe that if someone's happy than it doesn't matter what they're doing.  

I was really just trying to speak John's language when I wrote that and I was honestly nervous about posting the letter because I know the way a good amount of people feel about the program.  It's just worked for me, you know?  Sorry if that bothers any one.  I've really found myself liberated from fear through it, and it's nice.  I just thought that if I included that stuff that John might actually listen to me rather than put me in the "can't visit campus" category.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 09:44:00 PM
hi Liz

I went to mms in 02-03 and wanted to tell u that i thought ur letter was really good.  i dont say anything bad about mms because I dont want to be thought of as a bad alumni either but lately ive been thinking a lot about the school.  I want to tell john how i feel but I think I will be outcasted. have you ever said anything to them before and if you have what have they said?  im thinking of writing them too but really I'm terrified about it.
I guess I just want to say thanks for talking about this and please post his answer if you can.  
also, did you go to the reunion?  how was it if you went and did you think these things while you were there?  sometimes i feel like I'm the only one accept Kat who I never met to think thing like that. and that girls wont like me if i say what i really think becasue there are some girls that just say move on like we shouldnt be bothered and it was all a good thing or that were messed up for it.  I dont know.  what youve done takes courage though that all i can say for sure.  

Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 20, 2005, 09:52:00 PM
oh and also hate the way they push the addict thing on us becasue i never had sex and because im feminine they say im a sex addict and for a long time i was scared of my own sexuality like it was a bad thing. im not bashing on aa or sa or anything, really. just making you afraid like that of sex or drugs or drinking or everything it like really fuckd me up.  also i didnt like the pushing of the higher power thing because it should be ok to not believe in that but they pushed it on us like we needed to believe.  but really that the last of the problems of mms because i think there were so many things that were REALLY bad.  but i agree with the aa thing tho too and they shouldnt pretend like were all going to die if we ever come near alcohol and make us feel weird about real world and real life stuff that isnt really not normal.  they just make it not normal.  we needed therapy most of us and instead i think we got the 12 steps and thats not a subsitution of therapy but they made it into a therapy all by itself in a way.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 20, 2005, 10:02:00 PM
On 2005-11-20 18:35:00, Anonymous wrote:

" It's just worked for me, you know?  Sorry if that bothers any one."

Hey Liz- please don't take what I'm saying the wrong way, though I don't think you have.  I just wanted to point out some of the misinformation surrounding AA and how that ties back into some of what I imagine to be John's justifications for the type of 'treatment' he practices.  And AA works for adults far more than kids, and it does work for a number, albeit small number, of kids.  I'm not being at all critical of your experience, I just know that AA actually had a negative impact on my life for a number of reasons and wanted to dispel any myths.  If it works for you then that is really great-power to you for real- 100%, but there may be someone who it's not working who is beating their heads against the wall (as I did) and may see this post and recognize that maybe it's not their fault, that they are just following a long tradition and other alternatives may be more effective.  'tis all!    :smile:

best- kat
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 21, 2005, 12:21:00 AM
Go Liz!!  Please let us know what he says!

I'm also with you all on the AA issue.  There's no room for athiests and also it's very religious based, like the whole inventory like the Christian sin thing...big book=bible and a lot of other things.  We should really have more alternatives avl.  I used to go to moderation meetings, those were pretty cool.  Anyways, peace out ya'lls!  love you girls.  just wanted to tell liz I admire you though!
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 23, 2005, 04:50:00 PM
does anyone know if Blaire 'graduated' MMS (whatever that actually means...  :roll: ) ?

Not to say that there's nothing to be said about having to endure MMS for years/graduating b/c certainly anyone there for even a while has endured a lot of ...hardship, but I hate the non-graduate (fucked up forever label) and the graduate (usuallly not thought of as fucked up as the non-graduate) b/c I had a close friend who did not graduate and it became a weird was the case with other girls.  MMS just drops girls like that (not that they don't really the graduates- but at least they are not labeled permanent fuck ups)

Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 23, 2005, 05:35:00 PM
I think I remember a graduation ceremony for her.  She left after I'd been there for like a year and a half or so I should remember, but I think that it was at a weird time in the schedule because of something she had to go do for her new school (Idlewild (sp?)).  But she was considered a 'graduate' as far as I remember.

- Liz
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 23, 2005, 05:44:00 PM

did you think that she needed help that MMS couldn't offer her?  Was the description given of her treatment at MMS something you recall?

best- kat
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on November 23, 2005, 07:11:00 PM
How long have you been graduated Kat, ten years right, don't you think its time to stop being resentful and move on?  I went to Mission Mountain School and I live a successful and functional life.  There were things that I did not agree with about the school, but for the most part I think that it did good for me and the girls that were there when I was there.  The girls that went to the school had problems, lots and lots of problems, some more severe, some less.  Before MMS I did fine in school, I had friends and participated in extracurricular activities.  I also drank a lot and was very unsafe in many ways.  I lost all concept of morals and values.  The values that the school believed in were values by which I still live.  People who are still angry, resentful and hateful towards the school are just looking for somewhere to vent frustration that I'm sure has more to do with their undealt with issues that anything else.  It wasn't a place that could cure mental illness, deal fully with childhood abuse or any other larger scale problem.  People who deal successfully with problems like that usually require longer term therapy, I mean years, not just two.  You can't blame the school for peoples' individual choices. . . well I guess you can, because you do.
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 23, 2005, 08:28:00 PM
On 2005-11-23 16:11:00, Anonymous wrote:

1."How long have you been graduated Kat, ten years right, don't you think its time to stop being resentful and move on?  
2.The girls that went to the school had problems, lots and lots of problems, some more severe, some less.  
3.People who are still angry, resentful and hateful towards the school are just looking for somewhere to vent frustration that I'm sure has more to do with their undealt with issues that anything else.  
4.It wasn't a place that could cure mental illness, deal fully with childhood abuse or any other larger scale problem.  
5.You can't blame the school for peoples' individual choices. . . well I guess you can, because you do. "

1.nope- I'm mostly angry though not so much about my experience anymore b/c in the end I don't feel like I'm forever damaged (scarred maybe)and am doing well for myself (some of us have not been so fortunate), but it enrages me to no end that I still hear stories from girls who have jsut recently left MMS, like Blair, about the school using the same tactics I found so damaging and they themselves expressing the same kind of emotional torment after MMS 'treatment' upon 'graduating'.  So yes, 10 years, and after 10 years this still goes on.  Knowing how painful the whole experience was for me, I don't feel like I can, in good conscience, turn away.  Too many girls have and that allows this to continue. At one point this was about vindication and while at times a small part of me wants that vindication, it's not about that anymore- this pet project has taken on greater meaning to me.  So, if I move on it would be like conceding to mistreatment of myself and other girls in the present and future...I'm not really comfortable with that.
2. right, and qualified staff would have been helpful in dealing with that
3. sure about that?  my problem with my MMS experience has to do with undealt issues?  Certainly there were a number of issues that I couldn't deal with at MMS b/c I was so terrified and was often told I was lying anyway presumably b/c the truth wasn't good enough of a story and of course it can't be forgotten that John's reign of terror brought about evermore problems that probably you have a point at least in mentioning that undealt issues exist. Now, whether or not that means that all the frustration I have and am directing at the school/industry at large has to do with undealt issues and in turn means there's nothing legitimate in my criticism- well, obviously I have to say I disagree...  Also, its just such an MMS program thing to say.  IF you look back at the posts you will see the same arguement made by other alumni, it's so uniform it's hard not to point out what I like to call 'Mercerisms;--- either your with us or against us kind of a thing.  No criticism allowed b/c that means there's something you're not dealing with.  Very MMS program mode.  Anyway- getting down to real life level, where there are nuances of grey amidst the black and white, I'm human, just like you and as a human certainly I have issues.  I'm frustrated about a lot of things in this world, but I assure you that my frustration about MMS comes not from being neglected by my parents, taken advantage of by men at 11 or any other hardship I've encountered before MMS or even after, but instead has to do with the fact that I was sent to a school after I had attempted to off myself and was subjected to harsh conditions, intense labor/excersize, a silencing of my own mind, terror induced 'disclosures', humiliation and from there went on to suffer from nightmares, anxiety, depression all while trying to figure out what I was doing wrong b/c I was following what they told me to do- AA meeting when I wasn't even an alcoholic, wondering if I was a sex addict trying meeting there...and not being able to function normally b/c i never got the help i needed- they were not qualified although they accepted me anyway, the 'help' I did receive was so over simplified and so much about a fear induced straightening out that ALL the fears and axieties that I entered the program with I left with 100times worse. I was not very social, deeply insecure, depressed, confused and I left the program feeling those exact emotions oddly amplified but all the while feeling detatched from my own self b/c I was so completely all about the program and bought into the fact that they were always right about everything, even if internally I felt differently.  It's a very strange experience to be forced to think & belinve things in a way that's different than you acutally do.  And, further than that, to then convince yourself that you believe them even when you don't, talk about confusion!  The devestation of that, of being made to question your own reality was I think the worse part about MMS for me.
4. so we want to talk about how MMS is not qualified to deal with mental illness, then perhaps they should not accept students who are mentally ill.  Frankly, I think that's a hard line to draw not to mention it seems to me a disorder can pop up from just having gone to MMS. I like this quote from the MMS article:

"You might condition? a rat or a monkey to do something if you punish them enough, but it doesn't mean there's been some insight or great growth." Nicki Bush, a psychology graduate student who interned at a rural residential treatment facility.

Wait- not punishment, but 'consequences'-sounds better, doesn't it?
But unlike rats, with humans you can and MMS does play into the moral element of bad/good, right/wrong, fucked up/not fucked up- if what MMS says is good, and you think differently you are bad. Shameful shameful method.  Disgusting. Who wants to be bad?  So we all obeyed like the good girls should...The whole thing is just so silly and I would laugh if it weren't such a tragedy.

5. Blame MMS? Referring to Blaire, correct?  I think, from what I gather, it's probably a fair assesment to make that if Blair had
1.gotten thehelp she needed, eg effective therapy and intervention by professional and not been treated punitively and 2. not been mistreated at MMS and felt so damaged when she left that she may have not killed herself, yes... that seems kind of obvious to me- is it not obvious? I would think that this would have had a preventative impact and that it is certainly possible the outcome would have been different.
 Best- kat
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: katfish on November 24, 2005, 03:35:00 PM
Hye Liz- since you mentioned Foucalt I thought I would post this paper I wrote recently.  In the interst of keeping things concise and shoretnening the paper I switched around a few punishments/'consequences' and described them to be all in the beggining, but everythign actually happened over the course of a few months.

                        Kathryn Whitehead
                        September 18, 2005
                        Professor Petchesky

?Welcome to Montana, it?s your lucky day.  You may not know this now, but this is the first day of the rest of your life.? said to me a big burly man named Mike.  This greeting, I would come to find out later, was reserved to virtually all the new students who were escorted there, or who arrived voluntarily with their parents.  I had come there voluntarily after a suicide attempt with the understanding that I was getting the help I needed. I was wrong.
With a brief introductory group led by the headmaster, John, I would come to later find out had only a masters in ecology, each girl sitting in the circle gave a long list of issues that brought her there, namely drug abuse and sexual abuse- many expressing emphatically their gratitude at being given a second chance by the school for they otherwise surely would have died or ended up in jail.  I noticed they all used their words uniformly, as if reading from a script. Shortly after group ended, I was allowed to walk my mom to the door of the lodge, but no further. I did this as stoically as possible.  She left me that day in a state of sheer terror at what I sensed was not quite what I had in mind when I hoped for help.  
Once she was gone, I could barely contain my stoic posturing.  I did not understand the rules of my new home, but quickly discovered it was an environment unlike any other I had ever experienced.  I asked the headmaster, John Mercer, when I could call my mom and suggested I felt that maybe I was not in the right place.  I have never done drugs as was pretty sure I had not drunk enough to be an alcoholic yet ? I thought my problems to be far more complicated.  He shook his head and smiled knowingly, explaining that until I was able to ?get honest? with myself about why and stop resisting being there, which would probably take at least several months, I would not be allowed to speak to my parents so as to prevent manipulation.  He then told a girl to show me to my new room.  
Decidedly, this was a hierarchal model of power and, I was soon to realize, one that heavily relied on the role of the other students.   The girl explained that she would be my ?chore partner?, with whom I would do daily chores, rotating cleaning the common areas. As we walked to my room I expressed despair and the desire to runaway.  The girl quickly left me and the next thing I knew an emergency group was called to discuss the nature of my infraction.  Just as Foucault describes the immediate surveillance of the subjects? body in French prisons as a necessary component to domination , surveillance at MMS was ever present through fellow students, who exhibited leadership and demonstrated their loyalty to school philosophy by pointing out to staff or confronting a student who was not assimilating properly and subscribing to school philosophy in word and deed, if not in thought, during regular group meetings.   Such unacceptable behavior was punishable by exercise, labor or, most frequently, humiliation and ridicule as being singled out as problematic.  Underlying all this, of course, was the realization that you would be going home to be with your family far later than if you were one of the leaders who set an example.
Unacceptable behavior was characterized as ranging from talking about past life, parting your hair, speaking, walking in such a way that reinforced your past identity.  Other acts punishable were not doing chores properly (standards were high), being late, or not ?being honest? in processes of disclosure, which were detailed accounts of your life, sexual history, drug history, and abuse history.   Words, such as ?being honest?, came to mean purging yourself of thoughts contradictory to program philosophy as prescribed by John and his ?intuition?.  The aim, as was later explained, was to create an environment where the students are too exhausted to keep anything inside, forcing the child to confess their demons, eg. confessing the desire to escape the environmental ?stressors? with food, sex, drugs.  If you weren?t busy confessing John?s intuition may dictate the need for you to go out and do more work, thus this system required students to became a part of what Foucault calls the ?economy of power?.  It was for this reason that if any ?hidden transcripts?  existed at all, they were a rarity and it was only between newer students and occurred when new students did not understand their place and what was expected of them as condition of their ?treatment?.  
Foucault explains that ?the perpetual penalty that traverses all points and supervises every instant in the disciplinary institutions compares, differentiates hierachizes, homogenizes, excludes.  In short, it normalizes?   and that became clear.  John decided that, for me, the punishment for my publicly revealed ?hidden transcript? should be 2 hours of skiing in circles along with the other girls in the school.  This technique was particularly effective in creating and reinforcing John?s own creation of power reality, as 20 exhausted girls geared up angrily to ski because of what I had done.  I was singled out that day, for the purpose creating of a homogenous student body, while simultaneously reinforcing/recreating Johns power as the dominant force, and setting as an example as the abnormal one who was different from the was on ?ought? to behave.  Foucault points out that ?each society has its regime of truth?that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true? (Power/Knowledge p. 131) So long as John said we were sick, that is, unwilling to accept of as defined by him, the possessor of the knowledge of which we were not privy to, we were not healthy and not of sound mind, justifiably removed from society and the objects to be known, who did not themselves know.   Word, signs and representations like ?being honest? and ?getting healthy? truly came to take on meaning determined by John, who outlined the discourse that supported his truth-regime.
The following morning it was decided that my infraction warranted a far more severe punishment.  I was placed on what the school called ?intervention?, which could be personal or involve the entire group and ranged from a few weeks to months of daily labor from early morning until dusk, depending on the level of ?resistance?, with breaks only at meal time.  This labor consisted of improvements to their for-profit facility, such as building fences, ice picking, wood chopping, and what Young describes as exploitative structural relations.   It wasn?t much longer after that day that I came to some degree of acceptance and let go to a large extent, my mind, greatly encapsulating what Foucault refers to as the creation of a real non-corporal soul, born out of punishment.   I left 18 months after I had arrived and lived for a short while as if Johns words were my own, carrying this soul which embodied Johns power over me for years to come. Foucault writes ?the soul is the prison of the body? (p.177)   It took over 5 years after graduating from MMS to overcome that prison, manifested by the anxiety surrounding my attempts at understanding by questioning what had occurred and later to challenge that truth-regime.  It has taken another 5 to find ways in which I may empower myself and discover ways to alter the manner in which this industry has done business.  On October 16th a group, founded by Allison Pinto, PhD - Alliance for Youth in Unregulated, Private Residential Treatment Programs (A START)  at USF Dept. of Child and Family Studies- along with myself and several others interested parties will be holding a press conference on Capitol Hill detailing our concerns at this growing industry and in support of End Institutionalized Child Abuse Act of 2005.  
  In my estimation my experience was absolutely unfair on many levels.  A just scenario would have involved, first and foremost, a system of power that took into consideration student thoughts and feelings, that is, a system that distributed power far more equitably by which youth feel empowered, not humiliated and frightened.  Secondly, industry regulation where there are certain government assurances that this billion dollar industry is run ethically, with access to advocates to ensure the facility is appropriate for the individual.  I would expect facilities such as Mission Mountain to cease using exercise, labor and humiliation in the name of care as coercion.  Aside from preventative measures, my hope is to bring awareness to this long ignored issue by the mental health community and the public, which has only served to further alienate youth or adults who have experienced such abhorrent ?care? by appearing to sanction such mistreatment and has allowed an industry to flourish, with unqualified workers and questionable philosophies.  They may claim effectiveness, but with no data collected it is difficult to say with certainty that these schools are truely helping youth.  Sadder still, in a recent article in the NY Times business section the problematic aspects of the industry is downplayed, while readily pointing out the financial rewards.  Interestingly enough, the Times has also covered numerous reports of death and allegations of abuse.  Perhaps the truth-regime that dictates children who are on the path of growing up to be ?non-productive?, literally, members of society that appear unable to become economic producers are in need of disciplining.   In this sense, what Foucault describes as points of power that are not centralized, but scattered and systematic by nature, like building blocks of one upon another, appears clear in forming this ?political economy?.  It is hard to explain the absence of public outcry, as well as the reason why the outcry by mental health professionals has equally been slow to come, and lack of Congressional action- especially given the many lawsuits, deaths, and public allegations of abuse. Certainly, as Foucault defines the intellectual as being equally susceptible and not at all immune to the ?general functioning of the apparatus of truth,?   I can think of no other explanation for the longstanding inaction by mental health professionals and Congress.  Such outcry is crucial, particularly in our society, where the industry has fought regulation heavily, lobbying to protect their interests.  It appears we have a long road ahead in replacing the truth-regime that agrees that the 'abnormal' youth of our society ought to be ?cured? by any means necessary rather than empowered and considerations made of their own humanity. Coercion is replaced by words like ?tough love? and framed as common sense approach despite the lack of consideration given to the inherent value of youth and underlining reasons for behavarioral problems which are likely to reflect a larger systematic problem in our society, a truth-regime far more difficult to alter b/c it is not in our economic interest to care for youth.  Apparently a great deal of money is being made in reform, however...  


Foucalt, Michel,  (1977) Truth and Power.  In Rabinow, Paul (Ed) The Foucalt Reader,  Pantheon Books, NY (1984)

Scott, James Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts.  Yale University Press. New Haven, (1990)

Young, Iris Marion Justice and the Politics of Difference.  Princeton University Press.  (1990)



[ This Message was edited by: katfish on 2005-11-24 12:35 ]
Title: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on December 15, 2005, 07:52:00 AM
wow thats is increideble writing! Everything written here is absolutely honest and I can almost relate exactly. I hope that everyone gets a chance to read this. It is sad to say though that this might not get all the credit it deserves. Perhaps you should post it on other sites. Here is one statement you made that I feel everyone can directly relate:

"I have never done drugs as was pretty sure I had not drunk enough to be an alcoholic yet ? I thought my problems to be far more complicated. He shook his head and smiled knowingly, explaining that until I was able to ?get honest? with myself about why and stop resisting being there, which would probably take at least several months, I would not be allowed to speak to my parents so as to prevent manipulation."

You said "I thought my problems to be far more complicated" This sentence struck me because a "DR" who can't admit he can't help his patients and continues to treat them is only doing this case emotional harm. John Mercer I hope that you can read everything that was written here and for everyones sake just admit that you tried to do more than you were capable of and in doing so you made issues worse for many girls.
Title: Re: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on July 16, 2009, 02:50:35 PM
it's been almost 4 years since blaire's death and you know what? i'm still upset. i still blame mission mountain school for many of the reasons she felt it necessary to end her life. i also think it is ridiculous that any former MMS student feels it is necessary to attack any other fellow student for feeling a certain way about the school. everyone had their own experience, some worse than others. some did great. most people "faked it til they made it." i know this because multiple former students have spoken to me about making up drug addictions, molestations, and other problems simply because the staff did not believe that they did not have these issues.

i will admit that mission mountain school helped me in some ways. it was not, however, a self-esteem building experience when i was there. i feel traumatized by my experience. i do, and i'm not ashamed to admit it. (attack me if you want, former peers, i really don't give a shit what you have to say. i have my opinion, and you have yours. i will listen to your opinion, but i don't care to give it any credibility, just as you are doing to me. duh.) i was forced to believe i was a sex addict at 14 because i liked to masturbate, because i had a hormone imbalance and a raging libido and was fat and not popular so all boys thought i was a cretin. i'd never had sex or even, like, touched a penis (because, like i said, i was a fatso and all the guys told me frequently how disgusting they thought i was...) i had issues, for sure, but was in no way a sex addict! i'm sorry, but masturbation is totally normal and i'll stand by that opinion forever. being forced to believe that it is a sin and abnormal is wrong, and that's what they told us all the time. we were forced to "report" ourselves and other people if we masturbated at the school! you group together a bunch of teen girls with budding sexuality and raging hormones who were completely deprived of any male contact and you think no one's gonna masturbate? fuck you. anyone who disagrees with me can shove it, really. i'm almost 25 and in a committed relationship and i am still ashamed of and disgusted by my sexuality and that's my issue but MMS certainly didn't help, considering i still have this problem 11 years later. i remember i was forced to write an apology letter to staff member/ODR coach paul AND his family and read it to the whole group (DURING A PARENT VISIT) because he pressured me into admitting i had a girlish crush on him, surely to feed his own superiority and vanity, which was then reported to my therapist as a terrible transgression. fuck, everybody wanted to do it to paul and everybody thought he was hot. i heard so many girls say they were glad i took the heat because they agreed with me about being attracted to him but didn't want to admit it because they knew they'd get in trouble. i have never felt comfortable about liking a man since. i feel ashamed, scared, disgusted with myself. again, not the school's fault but what they did is not the appropriate way to handle anything! also, i don't know if anyone remembers when mike interrupted me while i was in the middle of a sentence and told me, "god, shut up! can you even imagine what it would be like to be married to you? UGH!" that did wonders for my self-esteem, for sure.

the way the staff spoke to us was unacceptable. blaire was ostracized and deluded and abused, and we, her peers, were forced to do the same. i can't even tell you how awful it is to be a person singled out to watch all their friends be punished for something you did. i'm not sure if anyone remembers when we were sent on intervention in 2001 and blaire was blamed. that was handled very badly. colleen (who was very pregnant at the time) told her that if she miscarried because of hiking into the woods, she would blame blaire for it. dude - she could have stayed home. who said she had to hike out there? and who says to a child they will be blamed for a possible miscarriage? when they sent blaire away to a mental institution, everyone was told to be relieved. it meant that our scapegoat had left and now we had to find another one. a moment of peace. but boy did we love to prey on one person at a time. i feel sick when i think of how we, as children, were encouraged to treat each other with such disrespect, following almost a gang-like mentality. 40 vs. 1. not a fair fight! and the staff encouraged it! i'm sorry, that is fucking sadistic. anyway, when blaire came back from that awful place, and who knows if she had shock treatment or was doped up or what, but her eyes were glazed over and she was NOT the same. and i don't mean that in a good way. she was never the same. i was not surprised when she quickly resorted to acting out, falling in with the wrong crowd at her new high school and getting into hard drugs. she was looking for love in all the wrong places, and hung out with people who were just using her and taking advantage of her. they were cruel, selfish, idiot people, lazy and mean and heavy drug users. it's what she was used to, that kind of treatment. you can disagree with me if you want. but nobody gets over the kind of abuse she endured. nobody is strong enough for that. blaire was crushed. just as liz said, her personality was crushed. also, that girl who said blaire was stupid up there at the beginning of this thread: she was not stupid. she was far from stupid. and she was sweet. but you are right in one respect - she was not given any means to express herself and she had SEVERE adhd for which she was not treated correctly, not to mention she had incredibly haunting adoption issues and fear of abandonment! come on.

anyway, i have tried my best to move on, but still am haunted by nightmares of being sent away. i still resent my parents (though i would never tell them this) for abandoning me. this is not a correct way to feel, i understand this. i do not blame my parents for anything, because they did the best they could, and i certainly did not belong at home. i was acting out, was extremely anti-social, a violent bully at school, to my parents, to myself. i had to go somewhere. but i just wish MMS had been a gentler place. i wish we had been treated with respect. i wish we had been given opportunities to learn a good work ethic that didn't feel like torture. there were some times that things were so wonderful, when it felt like the best place in the world to be, when i felt liked and respected. but there were some times that were so awful i still shudder when i think of them. there are some staff i keep in contact with, that i feel were positive attributions to the community. gary is the main one. he was gentle and kind. he could be firm sometimes, but i rarely saw him get mad like john or mike did. i keep in contact with carla also. i enjoyed mary's company immensely. but that's it. sorry, but everyone else was such a jerk! i know everybody loved doug but that guy was an asshole. sorry. and remember when former students would come back as staff and abuse us the most because they had been so abused by the staff that they saw it as their opportunity to abuse us because they were the staff now? perhaps they were trying to regain some of the power taken from them? that's fucked up. what was the worst one's name...? betsy? betty? she was awful. poor thing.

so go ahead. if anyone still reads this board: attack me. blame me. call me names. i don't care. i learned my lesson at MMS. i'd never touched a drug or had more than a few sips of alcohol before my experience there, but it took me less than a year after i graduated to develop a full blown substance abuse problem. i don't blame MMS for this but i was so weakened by the experience i started to believe i didn't have a proper adolescence, started to feel like i had a lot to catch up on. my self-esteem was so low and i was so susceptible to peer pressure. MMS did not prepare me for the real world. I was there from the time i was 14 until i was newly 17, and when i returned to civilization i felt like an alien. and i was desperate to fit in. i entered a second rehab in 2007 and have been sober for 2 years and 5 months today. i do not thank MMS for one single day of my new sobriety. thanks to the gentle and helpful program i entered (adult treatment facilities are so much better than kids' ones because you are over 18 and they don't have much power over you anymore), i was able to re-build my life and fix my relationship with my family and make new friends. there are other ways to help people than punishment, especially children. i am glad mission mountain closed down. hopefully a new program will start that will encourage healthy development, not grim consequences and conformity.
Title: Re: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Anonymous on December 31, 2009, 02:14:38 PM
I am Blaire's (Birth name Jessica) birth mother.  Is there anything you can tell me.  I just got adoption information today and I see how tragically she is gone.

Is there anything you can tell me.
Title: Re: Blaire Webbe
Post by: 4112 on January 01, 2010, 04:24:11 PM
My sister, Lesley Graham (the birth mother of Blaire Webbe) made a posting yesterday searching for any information regarding Blaire's history. In spite of my sister's registered consent to have contact with Blaire, Lesley was never notified that Blaire had tried to search her out and until yesterday was unaware that Blaire had committed suicide five years ago. My sister gave Blaire up because she loved her and felt that she deserved more opportunities than my sister was able to provide for her at that time. The news about Blaire is tragic. Can someone that knew Blaire give us some insight into what happened.
Thanks, Melanie
Title: Re: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: Ursus on January 01, 2010, 07:45:09 PM
I am so sorry for what your family must be going through! Fwiw, Blaire's MySpace page (http:// still seems to be accessible.
Title: Re: Blaire Webbe RIP
Post by: 4112 on January 01, 2010, 10:19:56 PM
Thanks for your kind thoughts and the info. I will talk to my sister in the morning and advise her about the site. I know she will be glad to see the pictures on Blaire's board. Thank you for that. You must have know Blaire well.  My sister and I have always  assumed that Blaire never got in touch because she was happy, and for that my sister was grateful.  We really never knew how tough things were for her. In case you want to get in touch my email is [email protected]. I must advise you that I am old (57) and not  savvy with the internet, so perhaps direct contact is best. Thanks for your response.
Melanie Allen