Sunday, August 13, 2017

Testimony about a stay at Hidden Lake Academy in Georgia

This letter was sent from a former student attending Hidden Lake Academy in Georgia to parents thinking about placing their son in the so-called boarding school.

"Hello. The letter you viewed was one I'd written last year around this time actually. I'd love to answer any questions you have. I must first ask though, why was he sent to HLA (Hidden Lake Academy)? The reason I ask is because you need to ask yourself a very serious question, Was the way he was before he went to HLA as dangerous as how he may feel upon his life after HLA? I'll give you a quick background of my story in order for you to understand. Right up to the time before I went to HLA, I had ceased caring whether I lived or died and had become a wandering junkie among the streets after dropping out of school and running away from home. I was sent to HLA upon a court order.

I don't want to go into detail about how horrible my experience was at HLA, but I will say that there's no real individual counseling in order to find out what each child needs. It's all done the cheapest way possible in order for them to still say that they are counseling, which is group counseling. Group counseling on a mass structure can be successful when everyone may be suffering from the same problems such as Alcoholics Anonymous, but in this case what one child needs another may not. You must also understand that because of this they fill everyones heads with the same rules of life by breaking down everything they've been taught and rebuilding their thinking. This sounds as if it could be good, yes? But it's not. It's not actually correcting any problems. It's covering them up with a therapeutic veneer and teaching them to suppress their problems since they're not actually working through them. This insures that they may seem like things are better for them and that they're cured for a long enough time for them to leave HLA and then some.

As you know though, anything suppressed will eventually surface and need to be dealt with again. So in actuallity HLA did nothing except offer a temporary fix. For some it does work, but very few. Most of the children end up with double the amount of problems, because you then have to worry about the same old problems accompanied by the trust issues and identity disorder that HLA has installed.

After leaving HLA I started noticing that I felt like a robot. It took awhile to figure out who I was again. Through all this searching I was lucky, because I started noticing subtle beauties in life that made me want to live, plus being sober I was able to look back at all the wrongs I'd done and people I'd hurt and became determined to change some of my ways. Now I'm a very happy person for the most part, but I do suffer from some problems that I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to overcome, because my mind doesn't recognize them. They're purely irrational thoughts that I can't control which cause me to have panic attacks. I have social anxiety disorder and some serious trust issues from things my last psychologist said had become such a deep part of my psyche that it was part of my personality and could become a danger to try to change. I have learned to function fine as long as I take my medication. I am in a very successful relationship, my parents and I are now much better friends, and I care about my life as well as others'...

Once again, I must say, that was my story. Everybody's story's different. For some the rebellious teenager is just a phase. It's practically impossible to know that though since we can't see the future. My parents have apologized a few times about getting me sent to HLA, because they see what it has done. They say that if they could go back they would do things differently. I don't think it's that easy though. I needed some help and my parents just didn't know what to do. I do not blame them for anything. They did what they felt they had to after we'd gotten into some serious scuffles and they saw me slowly but rapidly dying. You can see why I said that this is a very hard question to deal with. My advice personally is not HLA and is one on one counseling with the whole family. Make sure also that the psychologist is not a friend of anyone in the family, because you do not want them to be tempted into taking sides because of the personal relationship he/she has with a family member. For all we know, there may be things about all of you that may need to change in order for there to be that balance that your family needs. I know that's how it was for us, my family that is. This means that you must be open for anything that your therapist may say to you without getting defensive. There is no easy way out of this. Remember that...

I to have never told my parents certain disturbing things that have gone on there, because they already beat themselves up over sending me there, so I can understand why your son is reluctant to say anything. Plus there's also the fact that he's scared to because of what they may try to pull. I was brainwashed into trying to commit suicide when they found out that I was trying to get my court order dropped because I felt like I'd worked through all of my problems, mostly on my own because i was willing and wanted to change things in my life. They wanted me to slip up and try something so as not to lose my money. It didn't exactly work as they wanted it to because we discovered what they were trying to do. Avarice and the ability to control someone's mind don't mix...

Concerning your academics worry, there are no real academics. In spanish, the answers were always on the bottom of the page upside down and no teaching was involved, just worksheets. It's a gimic in order to make the parents feel as if some change is occuring. You cannot fail a class, you get incompletes until they make you do it with work assignments or calistenics. I remember when I made honor roll, my parents were so proud that I didn't even tell them that I was only in my first week of the school classes and hadn't actually done anything yet. So he may get good grades, but there's no serious learning taking place. I'd be more worried about his being able to function upon leaving than his academics though, because his credits should transfer fine. But he may do horrible in the next school because although it states that he made an A in the previous math class, there's a good chance he didn't learn anything, so it's going to be more difficult for him to keep up since he's been out of a real school environment for so long...

I hope that all of this will encourage you to make the decision you feel is best. I'm sorry you must go through this, but since you must, please make the best educated decision possible. This is your son's future and possibly his life at stake. Since you obviously care about him in order to seek my help, I'm sure you'll do what is best. Here is a link yu may find helpful, Are you aware that there are a few class action lawsuits in the works against HLA?.. Please do not tell HLA that you have spoken with me. They are very powerful and have the ability to come up with answers to anything, hence the psychologist part. I'm risking alot by sharing these things with you. Thankyou and Goodluck. Love, Me"

I have posted this with the hopes that I could help answer some questions for those in worry. If you are planning to or know someone who may be planning to undergo such circumstances, please forward on this letter. Thankyou.

The school was renamed several times and is now finally closed.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pieces of Victory film project

This video can be found on Youtube. The academy shown in the video was named Victory Christian Academy and was located in California until the authorities closed the academy down after an accident where a girl died during construction work. The owners were later involved in project in Mexico and Florida but was finally forced out of the business when former victims were able to tell the truth on the Internet.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

A testimony from a former resident at Sunrise RTC

I know not a lot of people know much about sunrise or what went on in it. I want to break that barrier. I want to make this as detailed as possible so people can use it as a reference.

If you have any questions, please please please ask. I will edit the more I remember.

  • Personal Information:
  • Date Of Admission: March 19, 2010
  • Age Of Admission: 13
  • Reason Of Admission: Depression, Anxiety, Self-Harm
  • Date Of Discharge (Approximate): January 22, 2011

Please note: I have researched Sunrise on countless occasions, and it seems that the more I read about it, the more I find that what is written is outdated and incorrect. For example:

  • The average stay is NOT 7-9 months. It is 9-11. I have actually seen girls stay up to 18 months.
  • The pictures of girls on the front page of the website and the pamphlets themselves have remained the same since before I attended Sunrise (3-17-2010)
  • The Sunrise website states that the staff ratio is between 1:3 and 1:6. It is more accurately between 1:5 and 1:8.
  • You pay WAY more than $250 a day

Other Information:

  • There is a level system: Safety, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
  • The girls to all of the cleaning. Twice a day. (toilets, dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, watering plants, showers, etc.) If they refuse to clean, they get dropped a level.
  • Phone calls are monitored. Most girls don't know this, and neither do the parents.
  • One phone call a week to parents only. They can take away all forms of communication if they wish.
  • They let me handle bleach and clean a library unattended with it on safety. When I complained that it wasn't a god idea to expose bleach to potentially suicidal girls, I was threatened to be put on suicide watch.
  • I was told by my staff that Sunrise "isn't a school, it's a business", when girls asked why we're not being taken care of well enough/why they're so revolved around money.
  • When my house "needed an intervention" (we didn't, it was random), we were forced to sit in our rooms for several ours without sleeping, making a single sound, or communicating of any sort. This happened twice. Girls got dropped levels afterwords.
  • There was a cockroach manifestation that wasn't taken care of. In order to actually house so many girls, half of the girls had rooms in the basement.
  • Girls were 3-4 to a room. we had bunk beds.
  • A friend I had there was handcuffed while being transported.
  • Yes, they DO restrain girls and use tranquilizers.
  • My therapist was known for breaking patient confidentiality. She broke it with me and with another girl whose (amazing) parents sued. She was fired after I left.

There are between 32-45 girls there at a time (which I think is more than they claim). The girls are separated into two groups; Yellow House and Blue House. This makes it easier to watch over the girls and manage schedules.

They are all about DBT-based learning. Far more girls who attend Sunrise are "diagnosed" with Borderline Personality Disorder than you would expect.


You MUST get up at 6:15 am, no exceptions. Down to breakfast, then you're forced to run over 2 & 1/2 miles and play a sport after. (If you don't finish laps or actively participate, you are put on academic probation where you must do stay inside and do classwork for two weeks)
Then you have school to 2:45. If you don't finish all of you classwork by the end of the week, you get academic probation. (Ooh, fun stuff: if you are on academic probation, you can't move up a level or go outside)

After school is an hour long group therapy session. After that, one hour and 45 minutes of intense dance or yoga. Then you eat a small portion of food.

I have PTSD as a result and wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares of being sent back against my will.

During my stay, on October 17, 2010, a car accident killed a dear friend and fellow patient, Natasha Newman. Gracie James, another student, was ejected from the passenger seat and as a result, slipped into a coma and was taken off of life support a few days after. There were a few other girls in the car, and a staff member was driving. I wasn't there as I was with Yellow house and this was during a Blue House trip, but at least 10 other students watched this suburban swerve and roll. I know that many articles blame the staff driver, but I would like to kindly say that the writers of these articles don't have all of the information. The staff driver did her best to avoid a collision and unfortunately, suburbans are top-heavy. She was probably the best person to have been driving at that time, because she really did her best and saved three passenger girls.

VERY IMPORTANT: I had to learn this the hard way. If you are at an RTC and one parent wants you to stay, but one wants you to come home, chances are, YOU WILL STAY AT THE RTC.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...