Saturday, September 29, 2012

There are many names for isolation

Isolation used a punishment creates emotional damage. It is a well-known fact. There are many names for isolation rooms. R&R, OP, Iso - They are all names for isolation.

Because isolation is so damaging there must always be rules for the use of isolation.

In a recent article focus was made on Day- and charter schools in Ohio.

Due to an error in the legislation the schools were not required to have rules about the use of isolation rooms.

Here is more information about the present but hopefully soon past situation in Ohio.

Locked Away: How Ohio Schools Misuse Seclusion Rooms STATEIMPACT OHIO -

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

ALE neighbors arm themselves for nothing

We found the thread on the Troubled Teen Industry message board:

Due to a number of runaway cases from Adirondack Leadership Expeditions the citizens of Onchiota are begining to arm themselves. It is the wrong move and it would be a tragedy if one of the teenagers die as result of the escalated conditions in the area.

Fact is that misguided parents have sent their children to this wilderness program based on advice from educational consultants. The industry of educational consultants rely on payment from programs and schools every time they refer children to them.

We are talking of ordinary teenagers suffering from minor struggles academically or with substance abuse derived from emotional problems cause by bullying or grief.

They experience that their cry for help was answered by being dragged out of the bed in the middle of the night only to be shipped out in a foreign wood isolated from peers and family. With their entire support network gone only surrounded by lowpaid staff just out of high school and with a therapist visiting once per week they often see no other option but to run away.

It happens very often at Adirondack Leadership Expeditions.

One of the cases we have found in an article from Adirondack Daily Enterprise, which we quote below:

Franklin residents worry about troubled campers
by Jessica Collier, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 9 - 2012

VERMONTVILLE - Anna Owens got up to go to work at 6 a.m. one day last week, went out to her car and found it had been stolen.

Eventually, she found out the car had been taken by a 16-year-old South Carolina boy who ran away from Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, a camp for troubled teens in Onchiota.

Owens was shaken up enough that she and about 10 other residents of the area went to the Wednesday night Franklin town board meeting to ask their town councilors if they could do anything.

"I lost a lot of trust," Owens said. "I'm just infuriated with this. ... They're not doing their job. They're supposed to be watching the children."

ALE Executive Director Tracy Edwards sent the Enterprise a written statement this morning confirming that two boys ran away from the camp last week and saying that state troopers were notified about the incident immediately, "as safety is our utmost priority." Edwards was not available this morning to give further comment about the camp's policies in general or to address the concerns brought up at the Franklin town board meeting.

Onchiota resident Janine Taylor told board members that she thinks everyone in the community is concerned for their safety and the safety of their children. She said she doesn't believe the teens in the camp are getting adequate oversight, noting that the teen who stole Owens' car and a boy who ran away with him had from 10 p.m. till about 6 a.m. before anyone noticed.

"I think everyone has been concerned for some time what the safety risk is," Taylor said.

She said people in Onchiota have reported having teens from ALE knock on their doors at all hours of the night, saying they lost their camping party and asking to use a phone.

"It just happens again and again and again," Taylor said.

She said she wants to know how often teens run away from the camp and whether it's reported to the police each time it happens.

"Who knows what these kids are really up to?" Taylor said. "The community just needs to know what we're dealing with."

She noted that the land the ALE runs the camp on in Onchiota is rented to the company by Paul Smith's College, so it might be worthwhile to complain to the college as well.

Several people referred to the camp as "hoods in the woods." While other Adirondack programs get criminal teens from the court system, ALE isn't one of those.

Town Supervisor Art Willman said he's spent some time in the last week researching the camp, and he found that parents of the teens who attend the camp spend a good chunk of money to send them there. So the parents of a teen who runs away and ends up charged with a crime could have a strong case for a lawsuit, Willman noted.

He said he's been in contact with the state police investigator who has been working the case, Tim Woodruff. Woodruff told him he's looking into the number of runaways who have been reported to state police by the camp, and he wants to compare that to the number that haven't been reported.

"They might have one or two every week, and we don't find out about it," Willman said. "That's unacceptable."

He said he plans to do more research, then put together a strongly worded letter of complaint to the local ALE leaders, plus the heads of the company that runs it, based in California. He also wants to send a letter to Paul Smith's College President John Mills explaining the situation, because he said Mills probably isn't aware of the issues.

Willman said he also plans to invite ALE leaders to the next town board meeting. He said he wants there to be a procedure set up to notify everyone in town each and every time there is a runaway from the camp.

He also noted that people in town need to start encouraging guests to take their keys out of their cars and lock their car and house doors at night.

Town Clerk Sandy Oliver said the last time problems with the ALE came up, in 2006, ALE workers talked with the town and set up a phone tree to notify residents about runaways, but three months later, all of the staff in the phone tree were transferred out of the state.

"It's sad that this is occurring" said Mildred Vorrath. "People are beginning to load their guns."

The original thread on the Troubled Teen Industry message board
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