Monday, August 22, 2011

Horror stories from religious schools in Misouri continues

The July / August edition of Mother Jones features another story from the religious boarding schools in Missouri which are being run beyond any supervision from the authorities.

We are talking 2011 and an entire area has basically been given up by the authorities. We are not talking of non-working supervision as it is the case in many countries like Denmark, Sweden and most of the U. S. States. We are talking no supervision at all.

It is not surprising that the teenagers suffer at those places.

Because there seems to be no will to solve this problem and save the teenagers from their ordeal it is important re-publish these stories again and again until it is so common knowledge that there is other option for the state of Missouri so secure the safety of the incarcerated teenagers, so please comment the stories on your blog and the message boards you participate in.

In advance thank you very much.

Horror Stories From Tough-Love Teen Homes, Mother Jones

Monday, August 15, 2011

Solving London riots: The answer has been found in Denmark

This month London and other cities in the United Kingdom were targeted by a large number of riots.

Behind the riots you find teenagers. It is a new generation of teenagers who have little respect for both society and parents. They have created their own sub-societies with their own set of laws, standards and codes.

Thousand of business are closed, people cannot even go out to buy food for their children, they cannot go to work. The society is basically coming to a stop.

How do you solve this?

The short-term option is to incarcerate them, but as they have discovered in the United States removing people from the society into various residential options is both costly and do not lower crime in the society in the long run.

Denmark have towns where they saw the same kind of problems on smaller scales. In Farum they hired the trouble makers to run a firm which rent boats out to tourists in a nearby lake. The result was an all time low in vandalism and other related crimes.

In the county of Egedal they gave wood to youths so they didn't destroy property well knowning that the youth then would sit down around the fire drinking beer. Then it was easy for the social workers to mingle among the youth and talk to them about future and education.

In Greve they had massive problems with fires. Youth set fire to waste putting people in the nearby houses in Denmark. Today they have a cadet corps where drop-outs and other youth with too much free time at hand can join the fire brigades as volunteers and be sent to various training exercises where they can get the adrenalin kick by trying to put out fires in a controlled environment. Vandalism has stopped.

Idleness is the root of all evil

For the population in the United Kingdom it is now the time to both demand action but also to put in some work in the local community.

Look around: Are there some activities in your local community you need manpower to solve? Can you get the fonds to get it fixed by hired the youth to do this manual labor? Can you get the local fire brigade to take teenagers to training fields for some weekends to teach them basic techniques to put out fires?

Can national services in a more civil form be brought back as a voluntary options where youth who have been given up by the present education system could be given a second chance to excel.

You cannot let teenagers drop out of school and engage in gang activities without suffering some kind of consequnces. We has as Danes learned it the hard way. Our prisons are on the verge of collapse after a gang war, which cost the lives of several persons - some not even involved in the war at all - bystanders who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

But the answer is not increased punishment. The answer is social work and jobs on the long haul.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Munchausen syndrome by proxy - nightmare for children

Recently Danish teachers have been under pressure by parents because they demand special care for their child among 25 other students.

They bring in lawyers to school meetings and expect the teacher to be able to teach reading and math so the child is Niels Bohr within months.

Also among 25 percent of the public schools budget is utilized to special education, which is all time high.

Never has so many children been diagnosed with all kind of mental illnesses.

Something is wrong. Why does the society not allow a child to be a quiet child who is doing the work and then choosing to go home instead of hanging out with friends?

Why do we have a society where everyone should be forced to socialize instead of reading books, concentrate on arts at home and just enjoy pets and family at home?

Every parent does worry about their child. They do want their child to outlive the child’s potential. Of course they ask for advice by professionals, but are they given the right advices?

In some countries the parents ask private educational consultants. In other countries they ask social workers and psychologists paid by the schools. Can they expect to receive a real answer which serves the child best or will they receive an answer which would suit the system or whatever party who is paying most of the salary for the person they ask?

In the United States parents often learn the hard way that whatever they pay the educational consultant the real salary is paid by schools and programs which the educational consultants refer the children to. There are no ways they can ensure if the recommendation of a specific solution will be in the best interest of their child.

In systems where the payment is done over the taxes there are no insurance also. There are no way the parents can check if the caseworker is referring their child to a specific school due to the political interest of the city council, the case worker has a colleague which is corrupt or the psychologists is basing the recommendation on her possible other job as psychologists for the school or group home, which is recommended.

Parents are often confused by all those who want allot of things for their children and mixed with possible ambitions they have, some of them can get sick. In extreme cases the parents can be suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

One such case is the case of 13 year old Ben Barnhard who was gunned down by his own mother.

From the very start of his life, his mother had ambitions on behalf of him. Ambitions he might had achieved if she hadn't been hammering on the doors of various experts all his life.

A divorce court filing lists 18 specialists involved in Ben's care, and Jensvold's own suicide note hints at some of the child's difficulties: "writing problems, migraines, hearing things" - and "a bit paranoid."

He was overweight. It is well-known that a lot of medication causes weight gain. Instead of implementing a diet and start exercising with her child the mother instead send him to a special boarding school - Wellspring Academies - which treat such things for the sum of $50,000.

It is not known who the mother consulted. Did some of them even suggest that the mother sought treatment herself instead? She had a history of lawsuits even before she got her child which had no basis.

Because the mother wasn't examined before this tragedy happened it is not possible for me to claim that she suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy or her constant search for treatment options was pushed by the advices she got.

We must urge the parents to seek second opinions when it comes to the recommendations they receive from case workers and educational consultants.

Based on the fact that residential treatment includes increased risk of sexual molestation, crime and increased difficulties becoming integrated with the normal life outside, this option should always be the very last used.

As relatives we must also enforce ourselves on family members which tend to isolate themselves with their children. Check in on them in a soft way where you don't impose your ideas of how they should live their lives but state that you are ready to listen.

Maybe a combination of such second guessing of external advices and tighter bonds in the family could have saved the life of 13 year old Ben Barnhard. It is not to know but can we let the next child slip too? Should we at least not make the try?


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Last Chapter of Hidden Lake Academy / Ridge Creek School?

We have just learned that Ridge Creek School in Dahlonega has closed its doors. Any plans to let the school open under a new name seem not to be emerging any time soon.

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
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