Author Topic: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)  (Read 12380 times)

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Offline OZint

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Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
« on: October 20, 2011, 09:57:04 PM »
There have been several threads about Discovery Academy in the past, but all of these are at least three years out of date.  Does anyone know anything more recent about it?  I don't want to go into details concerning my situation, but I would prefer I get accurate and up to date information sooner rather than later.  Thank you.
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Offline Oscar

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Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 04:30:38 PM »
I learned that an young author Alexa Leigh Corbett wrote the books The Life Ever After and The ID: The Art of Being Human based on the teachings of her brother readjustment to an indendent life after Discovery Academy.
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Offline OZint

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Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 12:43:55 AM »
Reviews at greatschools.org turn around from almost ubiquitously terrible to almost the exact opposite sometime around 2008.  This is not long after the 2007 lawsuit mentioned on the Fornits wiki.  One facebook survivor group is practically deserted, the other is closed to the public.  The most recent Fornits thread on the subject came from 2007 and referenced information from 2006, which is not recent enough to make a solid case.  It's too easy for a desperate parent to convince themselves that the information is too outdated to be relevant.
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Offline Oscar

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Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 03:37:11 AM »
I believe that some of the facilities are now working actively to handle the impact the existence of social networks had on their business and some will turn away youth who are a bad fit for their programs unlike what they did in the past where they took all for the money. I also believe that some of them are more concerned on the aftercare which in fact is the most important part of the program.

Everyone can force some to change their way inside a program if they restrict the youth enough, but only a very few can achieve a lasting impact once the youth have left the program. I don't know how much Discovery Academy has adjusted their program the last few years, but something they have done because they have managed to contain complaints from the alumni's from the last 3-4 years. Maybe they have reduced the number of students, maybe they have made it less strict. Something they have done.

Does it make it a good program? It is not to say because they might just have extended the honeymoon period. We need to look at the number of alumni's who dies in their twenties to measure their successrate.
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Offline Ursus

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Can a leopard change its spots?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 10:42:50 PM »
Quote from: "OZint"
Reviews at greatschools.org turn around from almost ubiquitously terrible to almost the exact opposite sometime around 2008.  This is not long after the 2007 lawsuit mentioned on the Fornits wiki.  One facebook survivor group is practically deserted, the other is closed to the public.  The most recent Fornits thread on the subject came from 2007 and referenced information from 2006, which is not recent enough to make a solid case.  It's too easy for a desperate parent to convince themselves that the information is too outdated to be relevant.
Can a leopard change its spots? :twofinger:

We live in an era where the degree and sophistication of propaganda far exceeds the threshold of the average savvy consumer. There's a lag of perception and comprehension between the fodder that (often heavily funded) public relations machinery can churn out, and what a consumer can easily recognize as spin control and "strongly encouraged" hype.

Some contemporarily utilized program marketing and PR tactics that you might wanna titillate your imagination with:

  • slick, glossy advertisements of healthy happy teens enjoying their time in program (to be expected);
  • hyped up "research studies" of optimum results and efficacy that, when perused carefully with a critical eye, often turn out to be little more than exit surveys conducted by associated parties or others with vested interests;
  • squelching of negative commentary via search engine manipulation;
  • burial of negative commentary via a plethora of effusive blogs extolling merits of never ending minutia of said program (see services of Reputation Defender, et al);
  • removal of negative commentary via the threat of, and sometimes actual filing of, lawsuits;
  • recruitment and "encouragement" of former program parents to "give back" to the program that "saved their kid's life" by leaving reviews on sites like greatschools.org, and/or to troll or "leave testimony" on sites like fornits.com (which I don't really have a problem with per se, it's the program originated exhortation that is a bit questionable);
  • fake reviews submitted by program personnel or associated folk on sites like greatschools.com masquerading as "real parent" feedback;
  • recruitment and "encouragement" of former peers to contact and sometimes even intimidate and harass "anti-program activists" to get them to change their tune or, at the very least, to stop singing;
  • etc. etc. and worse.
All that just listed being above and beyond the "mere" inculcative effects of the particular program in question.

Which is to say that some of those "positive reviews" are genuine insomuch as the folk delivering them believe them to be true at the time in question.

Five or ten years down the line, I'd wager that a fair number of them are... not so sure.

Personally, fwiw, a negative review counts for a lot more than a positive review in my book, be it four months or even four years ago. Whether or not my child could experience a stellar experience as extolled by a positive review would be a plus, or, at worst, a neutral. A negative review, on the other hand, speaks of the possibility that my child might also experience such damage and harm. Trauma is usually not so easy to repair and recover from.
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Offline OZint

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Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 11:05:55 PM »
Possibilities, even if strong, will not help me build a case against Discovery Academy.  I need facts.  Regrettably, it seems the only ones available are dated to 2007 or earlier, which makes them similarly useless to me.  Ten minutes of conversation with a recent alumnus, even one convinced the program was helpful, should tell me all I need to know.  Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any on hand.
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Offline cum guzzler

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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011, 11:17:20 PM »
.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 02:03:09 AM »
Quote from: "OZint"
Possibilities, even if strong, will not help me build a case against Discovery Academy.  I need facts.  Regrettably, it seems the only ones available are dated to 2007 or earlier, which makes them similarly useless to me.  Ten minutes of conversation with a recent alumnus, even one convinced the program was helpful, should tell me all I need to know.  Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any on hand.
Geez. Kinda quick on the the response, eh? Did ya even read my post? Sounds like you already had your mind made up before you even came to this forum...

No sweat off *my* back, but I have to ask, what was it about the following (relatively recent) comments for Discovery Academy...

    "...discovery academy was one of the worst experiences of my life." (October 8, 2010; ~1 year ago)[/list]
      "Counselors were very sub par. They are more interested in keeping you there as long as possible to get as much money as they could even if you were ready to go or if you were not getting better. Lots of threats and punishments to get the kids to behave." (June 6, 2010; ~1.5 years ago)[/list]

      ...that failed to resonate with you?
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      Offline Ursus

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      Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
      « Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 02:07:24 AM »
      Since ya brought up those "great" reviews on greatschools.org, OZint, I feel compelled to post them...

      Reviews are in chronological order, oldest first:

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Home > Utah Schools > Provo Schools  
      Discovery Academy

        105 N 500 W
        Provo, UT 84601
        (801) 374-2121
        Private | 9-12 | Nonsectarian | 109 students |

        Discovery Academy is a private high school in Provo, Utah. It is coed and nonsectarian, serving 109 students in grades 9-12.

        More than 35 school community members have shared their opinion about this school, giving it an average Community Rating of 2 out of 5 stars.
        Learn more about this school's teachers and students.

      School highlights:
      Alternative; Basketball; Coed; Community service; Drawing/painting; Nonsectarian[/list][/size]

      Community Rating
      Based on 35 ratings
        Overall rating - 2
        Teacher quality -3
        Principal leadership -3
        Parent involvement -3
      --------------

      Reviews (20)


      :trophy:  :trophy: (2 stars) · Posted February 23, 2004
        This school is not a wise choice for parent looking for a place to send troubled kids. This school forces troubled kids to be with other problem children creating worser problems for them when they graduate. Much like the current situation in our juvenile jails and prisons. This school is run for profit not for the reasons it should be and the teachers are underpaid and overworked forcing 90% of them to teach at public schools full-time as well to supplement their income. Parental involvement is low, so after you alienate your child you are unable to contact them for months. In addtion to this, despite Discovery Academy's claims there are almost no extracirricular activities. Also they isn't on medicating all of the children that attend there despite second or third outside opinions stating that a child does not need to be medicated. Don't make the same mistake we did, do not send your child to this place.
        —Submitted by a parent[/list]
        :trophy: (1 star) · Posted October 12, 2004
          I completely agree that this is, overall, a horrible choice. Some past students have recently created a website, http://www.discovery-academy-forum.com, that provides a wealth of insight into past students' experiences, along with areas for staff and parents to contribute.
          —Submitted by a former student[/list]
          :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (4 stars) · Posted January 2, 2005
            Discovery Academy is making a difference in my child's life. The equine therapy, trips to the mountains, and general association with teens who made mistakes and are getting their lives together now is having a positive impact. Likewise the processing of events surrounding this mini-community of teens who previously had trouble functioning/making good choices. The self-paced academics works for those who are bored or obtensibly for those who have trouble keeping up with a typical class. There are likely other options--there always are-- and there are never guarantees. Nonetheless, this approach seems to be working for my child.
            —Submitted by a parent[/list]
            :trophy: (1 star) · Posted October 31, 2005
              Discovery Academy destroyed my family and my child. The education system is bad she came out so behind in her classes.
              —Submitted by a parent[/list]
              :trophy: (1 star) · Posted October 13, 2007
                Discovery Academy in Provo Utah was probably the worst decision we could have made choosing a school. We feel as if our son regressed quickly and the structure of the school doesn't treat the students with respect.
                —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                not rated · Posted December 18, 2007
                  My 16 year old son has is currently attending Discovery Academy in Provo, Utah. He is progressing slowly but, surely. This is a journey. It is not a quick fix. As an RN with a Masters degree in Health Education I am thoroughly impressed with all aspects of the care my son is recieving. It is worth every penny. As painful as it all may be, it is a joy to see the positive behavior changes. DA is the best.
                  —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                  :trophy: (1 star) · Posted February 16, 2008
                    Dont send your kid here, if your truely set on sending your child here, go there first, get a tour ask to see the bathrooms, and kitchen. your mind will be changed. I reccomend to send them for a month, let them learn their lesson and get them out of there before something abusive happens, it will. REALITY CHECK is all your kids need, it all mine needed, aside from that nothing but bad can come from 'Discovery Academy'. What up friends, im home. love you
                    —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                    not rated · Posted April 23, 2008
                      I think that kids hate the idea of it more than the actual place itself. I was there for a year and I feel more psychologically mature than I have ever felt in my life. It's not an easy program to get through, it takes a lot of hard work and determination, but once your out it feels like a huge accomplishment. I don't recommend graduating the program because its not really necessary and its extremely difficult, but getting of level to go home for a few visits is a reasonable goal. After that, start focusing on the home stretch.
                      —Submitted by a student[/list]
                      :trophy: (1 star) · Posted May 18, 2008
                        I worked at Discovery Academy for nearly a year, and have nothing good to say about the program or the administration. The administration cares about money and that is all. The therapists will do anything to make you believe that you are doing the right thing. The living quarters are awful. I would not recomend sending your child here.[/list]
                        :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (4 stars) · Posted June 12, 2008
                          This school worked for my child. It was a struggle, but the people are caring and genuine. My child learned that you get out of the program what you put in it, kind of like life. I appreciate what Discovery Academy has done for my family.
                          —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                          :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (5 stars) · Posted October 31, 2008
                            I think that this is a great school! I it actually hard to believe that anyone has anything bad to say about DA. My husband and I are thrilled that our son is there because he has learned so much about himself. His attitude is better and he has more respect for himself and for his family. Thank you DA!
                            —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                            not rated · Posted November 6, 2008
                              This is really a good school. There are truly skilled caring people there who looked after my child and created the changes we've always hoped for. They have updated their facilities and have a beautiful campus.
                              —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                              :trophy:  :trophy: (2 star) · Posted November 12, 2008
                                I went d.A when i was 13 years old i was very troubled and being sent to d.A i acted out, it was worse than regular school because now i was in a building full of kids who were as troubled as me and we all worked together to get into trouble manipulate the staff,parents,and therapists 'to work the program' just so we could leave .I would not take my experiece from d.A back i am grateful i met great people i had the best therapist in the world he was like my father but the 5,000 grand a month and after i left the program i went right back to bad behavior and so did everyonelse that was there when i was the only way your kid will figure out life is by themselves boarding school will not help
                                —Submitted by a student[/list]
                                :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (5 stars) · Posted December 2, 2008
                                  Discovery Academy saved our sons life! Our whole family will forever be so greatfull for everyone associated with this school. Our son is now a 19 yr. old. He is in his second year of college and doing great!!! The 'Tools For Living' that he was given at DA will be with him forever! Thank You Everyday DA!!!!!
                                  —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                                  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (4 stars) · Posted July 6, 2009
                                    Our daughter is attending DA and we are pleased with her progress, her increased ability to cope with difficulties, anger and the unfortunate experiences in her past. We recommend families review the web page and the facility if possible. The parent seminar opportunity is well worth the time. The campus and female facilities are well kept and comfortable. Our daughter is safe and well cared for.
                                  —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                                  not rated · Posted January 13, 2010
                                    We enrolled our son at DA in perhaps one one of the worst times of our lives. Our son was on the road to a life of addiction and probably expulsion from high school. DA may have save his life. The therapy is fantastic. He is safe while he learns.
                                    —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                                    :trophy: (1 star) · Posted June 6, 2010
                                      Definately a 'for profit' school. Very little attention to students and those that got the attention and privledges were those who paid the most to the school. Counselors were very sub par. They are more interested in keeping you there as long as possible to get as much money as they could even if you were ready to go or if you were not getting better. Lots of threats and punishments to get the kids to behave. There must be better schools out there for the money.
                                      —Submitted by a student[/list]
                                      :trophy: (1 star) · Posted October 8, 2010
                                        discovery academy was one of the worst experiences of my life. i know now that because of how they messed with my head and tried to control my way of thinking, i went through unnecessary brainwashing and 'reprograming' there is something wrong with the fact that they believe themselves to be a troubled youth's 'last chance' at success, yet i have never seen one student leave that did not relapse to drugs or past decisions and or make new ones that are far worse. never send your child here.
                                        —Submitted by a student[/list]
                                        :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (4 stars) · Posted November 19, 2010
                                          Our Daughter has been attending the DA since April 2010. There is no quick fix here. By the time you have decided to send you child there they have already been through more than you know. Once she arrived at the DA and got through the first few months of the program we learned more about her in that time than we did in the past 3 years. You really have to go with your instict here though. Try to help your kid now by sending them to a place like this now, where they are safe and receiving top notch therapy of many kinds in a beautiful State or watch them self destruct and then bail them out jail or scrape them up off the street. Or you can pray that they will just just turn out fine. If your child is spiining out of control then the Da is great option. It's a pretty penny and you have to able to afford. Some kids have been there for a couple years. every parent we have met and spoken to is pleased with the school. The negative comments you read are probably from parents that pulled there kid out too soon or students that did not graduate the program.
                                          —Submitted by a parent[/list]
                                          :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy:  :trophy: (5 stars) · Posted December 12, 2010
                                            I have looked at the reviews here and see they are all across the board. As a parent of a 17 year old that is there, I can tell you that the program is excellent. My son started in Red Cliff Ascent (their sister program) for three months then I took him to DA. He has been in DA for about two months and he complains he wants to come home, but he has RAD and this is the way he usually operates. My son has been to counseling since he was three years old (he was adopted at 10 after many failed placements) as he is finally opening up to a therapist. My son is starting to work through his past issues and the outlook is still tough, but I think he will actually make it. Yes it is expensive, but it is worth every penny. I speak to the therapist once or twice a week on the phone and he answers my emails within 24 hours. I also have contact with his teachers and the housing staff. I highly recommend this program for most troubled youth. It is not a fix all for everyone, but they will seriously evaluate your child and make sure they are the right fit.
                                            —Submitted by a parent[/list]


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                                            Offline Oscar

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                                            Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
                                            « Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 06:28:10 AM »
                                            I found this Google Review:

                                            -+-+-

                                            Nick ? - 19. aug. 2010
                                            DA (Nazi Camp) My Wife attended DA when she was a teenager and was very emotionally and at times physically abused at this place. She has told me horrific stories of the faculty creepily smiling while she and other girls would use the bathroom, when her and her mother looked into the place they made it seem very appealing, but that was not the case. From what she said they are all mormen and very demented. AS ONE PUNISHMENT SHE HAD TO WALK IN THE SNOW BEARFOOT! It is outrageous that they are still in operation.
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                                            Offline OZint

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                                            Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
                                            « Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 03:11:00 AM »
                                            The review itself is recent enough, but the events it references occur sometime before it was written.  While close, that is of no use to me.  I am now running very slim on time, and it appears as though I must plan around their being no information on DA recent enough to build a solid case around.  This dramatically complicates things, but no amount of searching will turn up information that isn't there.  Thank you all for your help.
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                                            Offline Ursus

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                                            Suit targets Discovery Academy
                                            « Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 10:26:18 AM »
                                            Well... here's a short article that is not at all recent, but which may suggest a strategy and/or additional resources for more recent info.

                                            Does the child you are trying to keep out of Discovery Academy have a disability of some sort, OZint? I'm guessing this would probably mean a psychiatric or behavioral disability. Regardless, DA contends in the below piece that "it does not treat youths with disabilities."

                                            Also, given that the Disability Law Center has seen fit to go so far as to file a lawsuit, chances are quite good that they have a file on DA which may include particulars re. various kinds of abuses that have gone on there, which may possibly be pertinent to your current situation.

                                            At any rate, here's that short article:

                                            -------------- • -------------- • --------------

                                            Deseret News
                                            Suit targets Discovery Academy

                                            Published: Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:32 a.m. MDT

                                            The Disability Law Center has filed a federal lawsuit against Provo-based Discovery Academy in an attempt to gain better access to records for an investigation into abuse allegations.

                                            The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, asks for patient records surrounding a 2005 complaint against the academy. The DLC claims in the suit that it is the federally mandated agency designated to protect disabled people in Utah.

                                            Discovery Academy has refused attempts by the DLC to access the records because it claims that, because it does not treat youths with disabilities, the DLC has no legal authority. Discovery Academy is a youth residential treatment facility.


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                                            Offline Ursus

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                                            Comments: "Suit targets Discovery Academy"
                                            « Reply #12 on: October 27, 2011, 10:44:32 AM »
                                            The latter two comments clearly sound like programmie spam to me, lol. They even put in a plug for another of their programs. You'd think if Discovery Academy really was what it claims to be, they wouldn't be engaging in this type of "public relations work," eh?

                                            Comments left for the above article, "Suit targets Discovery Academy" (July 15, 2007; Deseret News):


                                            AKMUSTANG | 6:23 p.m. April 14, 2009
                                              This is a horrible school, beware of sending your kids there. I attended that school 3 years ago and it was the worst experience of my life.
                                            Mikey | 1:03 a.m. May 6, 2009
                                              Hey, what was so bad? I'm considering sending my kid there soon. He has really been helped at Red Cliff.
                                            Big | 5:53 p.m. Nov. 2, 2009
                                              We are considering sending our son there. It seems people are quick to bash a school without stating why? What was so bad???


                                            # #
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                                            Offline Ursus

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                                            Provo youth facility sued
                                            « Reply #13 on: October 27, 2011, 11:41:20 AM »
                                            Here's another article which goes into a lil more detail... From that below article, emphasis added:

                                              The Disability Law Center in Salt Lake City is funded by the federal government and charged with monitoring various facilities that service disabled people.

                                              DLC has said that they have received credible allegations about "potentially abusive practices being used against a youth who was a resident of Discovery Academy."

                                              The center further asserts that "over the years, the DLC has received a number of complaints from residents and parents alleging improper or abusive treatment at these facilities."[/list][/size]
                                              -------------- • -------------- • --------------

                                              The Daily Herald
                                              Provo youth facility sued

                                              NATHAN JOHNSON - Daily Herald | Posted: Friday, July 13, 2007 11:00 pm

                                              A Provo youth residential treatment facility is being sued in federal court for refusing to release patient records related to an investigation into abusive practices.

                                              The Disability Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group, filed the suit against Discovery Academy, which has operated in Provo since 1989. Robert Jeffs, legal council for Discovery, describes the facility as a boarding school where students who have various issues can come.

                                              The Disability Law Center in Salt Lake City is funded by the federal government and charged with monitoring various facilities that service disabled people.

                                              DLC has said that they have received credible allegations about "potentially abusive practices being used against a youth who was a resident of Discovery Academy."

                                              The center further asserts that "over the years, the DLC has received a number of complaints from residents and parents alleging improper or abusive treatment at these facilities."

                                              The lawsuit centers, however, not on the allegations of abuse, but on alleged refusal to open up Discovery Academy facilities for investigation.

                                              "Discovery Academy allowed only limited access to its facility but refused the DLC sufficient access to complete its investigation -- alleging that the disability advocates did not have the authority to investigate because Discovery Academy does not treat youth with disabilities," reads a statement from Disability Law Center managing attorney Kerry Chlarson.

                                              Jeffs, however, said that he is startled by the DLC accusations.

                                              Jeffs said he and his clients have provided advocates with reams of records and access on numerous occasions. Further, Jeffs said, Discovery Academy has fully cooperated with DLC when they have asked for records.

                                              But what really surprised the Discovery Academy legal council was that neither he, nor Executive Director Brent Hall, had heard about the lawsuit before the Daily Herald contacted them.

                                              "We haven't heard from them in months," Jeffs said.

                                              And he said his suspicions are on high alert. He speculated about the fact he didn't receive a copy of the complaint.

                                              "It makes me believe it is for publicity purposes only," he said.

                                              As for the alleged abuse, Jeffs acknowledged that there have been inquires into one or two cases involving residents at Discovery, but given that he had not been apprised of the lawsuit nor seen copies of the complaint, he was unable to comment.

                                              Chlarson said that the DLC also did not know for certain whether abuse was taking place.

                                              "We have no way to know the merit or lack of merit of these charges," he said.

                                              The DLC generally does not work to seek punitive damages, instead seeking to monitor facilities and correct problems.

                                              "Our role would be to remedy any abuse we find," said Chlarson.

                                              They did not, however strictly rule out seeking damages if it could be used as a "tool for change."

                                              Nathan Johnson can be reached at 344-2543 or at [email protected].

                                              This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page D1.


                                              Copyright 2011 Daily Herald.
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                                              Offline kiki5454

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                                              Re: Discovery Academy (Provo, UT)
                                              « Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 03:04:01 PM »
                                              Discovery Academy is still a hideous facility that abuses children physically & emotionally, brainwashes parents to get 10's of thousands of dollars out of them. they will tell parents anything to have them believe that theit kid needs to be there to get "better" meanwhile, this place will give them lifelong PTSD and much more. Utah has the worst laws for protecting kids and their parents. Any place that cuts off communication with your kid is a RED FLAG in itself. kids have no way of reporting whats really going on and if you do get your supervised phone call, your kid is going to be too scared to tell you the truth because they get threatend, put in solitarly confinement and worse. DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO THESE TYPES OF PROGRAMS NO MATTER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE!!!! All you need to do is spend an hour or 2 researching the abuse claims, lawsuits and message boards like this one.
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