Hidden Lake Academy did open its doors back in 1994. Very soon it became one of the most well-known therapeutic boarding schools in Georgia.
They opened a wilderness program which they used for evaluation of coming boarding school students. Maybe too many were "diagnosed" as suiting for the regime the school wanted to use in order to treat the students.
It didn't take many years before the first complaints became public. After the internet became widespread it was no longer possible to keep former unsatisfied students from communicating with each other.
Lawsuits were in the making. Change of staff and management over the time did not improve the situation. The rather isolated environment which the school had established itself in made it rather difficult to attract employees with the right type of education. Sometime the employees who had to deal with the students on daily basis were only just out of high school.
Were there power trips executed by the employees? According to various testimonies it was very often the case. Inexperienced and uneducated staff given too much power in such an environment is an explosive combination no management should allow but what does the management do when the shareholders demand profit?
As result suicide or suicide attempts is an all too common thing happening to the alumni’s.
The news station FOX5 did cover the last months of the timeline up to the closure. 10 to 15 years too late after many opinions. It is not a pretty sight.
What do the future hold for the local community in now where one of their larger workplaces is closing down? It doesn't look good. All too many group homes and therapeutic boarding schools are establishing themselves out in the countryside where they force the local communities to become dependent of them.
Was there something overlooked by the local authorities due to this marriage of pure need between the school and the local authorities? Did the political establishment and law-enforcing agencies try to play some of their more extreme occurrences at the school down in order to save jobs for the local community?
Many things indicate that it was the case.
And when it comes to cover-ups in scandals in group homes, foster care families and therapeutic boarding schools it is rather common. Even as far away as in Denmark we have learned that local teachers and other locals did complain about violence at a foster care family in the Danish hamlet named Mern. 20 years some knew that something was very, very wrong. Reports were made and they were lost - by whom? The police investigation by the local police is not targeted at other than the accused parents. None want to investigate such a cover-up. Everybody knows that thousand of DKK exchange hands between social services, foster care families and group homes.
- Should Denmark be anything different than Pennsylvania known for the Kids-for-Cash scandal?
- Should Denmark be anything different that just the next educational consultant which are paid both by parents to find the best treatment for their child and the various schools and programs for sending the child to their school?
It would be naive to believe so!
But back in Georgia everybody are now waiting to see whether the closure is the end of 17 years of suffering among teenagers or it will be the start of a new chapter under a different name.
Only the future will tell.
Hidden Lake Academy on Fornits Wiki
I-Team: Ridge Creek School, Fox 5 news, July 8, 2011
I-Team: Ridge Creek School Closes, Fox 5 news, August 1, 2011
Children abused for 20 years, by Jes Højen Nielsen, Denmarks Radio, August 1, 2011