|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on October 24, 2021 at 4:00 AM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Google reviews. The author Ellen who originally wrote the testimony has all the rights to it
Throughout my time at Solstice, I had Jeff as a therapist. He insisted that I did not have an eating disorder despite my existing diagnosis and my intrusive thoughts pertaining to my body weight/shape/size, exercise, and food intake. Prior to admitting to Solstice I did not have compulsive exercise tendencies because I was too depressed and simply used restriction as my disordered behavior. By the end of my time at Solstice, exercising no matter my mood felt necessary and easy to do. Once I left, I was consumed by my eating disorder worse than ever before, including both my old new behaviors. In the last months of the program I had begun to lose some of the weight that I would then lose before getting back into treatment (this time for eating disorders). I had only stopped engaging in most of my behaviors while I was there because I was desperate to leave the program and return home. This of course eased up as I reached the highest levels of the program, and the behaviors started returning. I would throw away food on Fridays, not eat dinner after horsemanship, sneakily count calories, push myself harder in my workouts, and more. It was second nature for me, and I had gotten back to it with no one noticing. I wouldn’t stop unless someone stopped me. With these behaviors came suicidal thoughts, so I decided to confess to Jeff. He had me continue with applying for my final level because he felt I should leave anyway. For what reason, I am unsure. I had been there for over a year and didn’t have anything left to gain, so I didn’t fight it. I went up in front of the treatment team, and when Jamie asked me if I was engaging in behaviors, I said yes. Jeff said to me in response, “Well weekly weights were done yesterday, and if you’re trying to lose weight you’re not doing a very good job.” When I went home shortly after, my mother and the scale confirmed that that had been wrong. I don’t know his motivation for saying that, but it was mortifying to hear in front of the whole room of people and especially because my eating disorder was louder than it had been for a while. Since leaving Solstice over three years ago, I have been in and out of eating disorder treatment at Monte Nido, only spending at most 3 months in a row in outpatient treatment. It has been nearly impossible, and I have lost significant amounts of weight over that time. None of the tens of therapists who I have had since Jeff have even doubted for a second that Anorexia Nervosa is my main diagnosis.
There are more things that I believe were wrong with the way that things were run, however I believe that those are more opinion based as opposed to based in true clinical negligence. I do understand that for some people, especially those with defiance disorders or tendencies, Solstice could be productive. The strict policies and follow-through with consequences can teach a different set of behaviors leaning towards respecting authority. However, for many, including myself, it should be indicated to prospective parents that this treatment is not for everyone. The parents should be informed of all treatment approaches used, and about the logic for length of stay for their individual child.
In the news
Early 2021 two teenage girls ran from the facility. They were not dressed for the winter. We pray that they can be brought back to California where they came from.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on August 8, 2021 at 2:30 AM||comments ()|
I apologize in advance for how jumbled this is going to be.
I still remember the exact day that I was sent there. January 27, 2020. I woke up with my "mom" crying at me, saying that I was going to "one of those schools." I immediately jolted up in bed. The lights turned on and I saw a pair of huge men. One of them went to shake my hand, like it was no big deal that they came to abduct me from what I thought was a safe place... My own bedroom! At four in the morning! You might be wondering why this was happening. Well, aside from some behavioral issues and major manic and depressive tendencies, I had attempted suicide the week prior. And how do they react to that? By sending me away.
Anyway, let's fast forward a little bit to when I was being escorted out of my house. When we got outside, one of the men, ("goons" they call them at D.A.) handcuffed me and dragged me to the car, which I am sure only police are allowed to do. I might be wrong. Anyway, when we finally got to the Discovery Academy campus, there were people in the front office. They acted as though it was appalling that I was brazen to them.
Fast forward a few months, I had made a few friends, including a guy we'll call Jon for the sake of privacy. The way the staff treated the outsiders was disgusting, to say the least. It was one thing not to act like a gang member or be white. It was a whole other thing to be gay, like I am. The staff supported bullying and held things called fight nights, (in which they would force the little guys to participate and be beaten up while everyone watched and laughed) in the house, called North House, which was reserved for the lower levels. If the staff didn't like you, they would tell other students to jump you and bully you. Luckily I never got jumped or beaten up, but it was threatened multiple times.
While there, I had to fear for my life on many occasions. Sometimes a knife would go missing from the kitchen, and after having multiple threats to my life from other students, I had reason to be terrified. When I say the staff are bad here, that does not apply to all of them. There were a few who were there to love and support the students, and I credit them for my life. The rare kindness of some people there was the only thing that kept me going. When I leveled up and was able to leave North House, I had endured a week of depressive panic attacks where I would hide from everyone and claw at the skin under my clothes, drawing blood. When this behavior was found out, I was put on reflection, which was a way of isolating someone from the rest of the group by not letting them speak and making them wear a bright blue shirt. If you were to break any rules of reflection, you would be extended for a day.
Often times, the failure of one student would lead to the punishment of the whole group, which made a vicious cycle of harassment and intimidation among the group. Basically, if you f***ed up, thus screwing everyone else over, you were targeted by the other students and were often times assaulted. Anyway, let's move on to the subject of how fights and assaults among the kids there were poorly managed and prevented. One day, my friend Jon, who I mentioned previously, walked down with blood streaming from his mouth and nose. He was the one who was assaulted, yet he got punished after he DEFENDED HIMSELF. I'm sorry, but that really bothered me. That's aside from the paint though. The pony is that if the staff were actually effective, that would have never happened.
And now let's move on to the topic of how corrupt the discipline system is there. D.A. has this idealogy that a failure by one is a failure by many, which I already described before. But worse than that, if you so much as DARE to do anything but be pelted by your attacker, you were put on reflection. In another instance, and read on with caution because this is gross, a guy I knew drank URINE because someone peed in his water bottle, and then was put on reflection. For no reason. I'm sorry, I'm just getting way to upset by this right now. I'll post again soon.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 9, 2021 at 8:50 AM||comments ()|
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on October 20, 2020 at 4:25 PM||comments ()|
I have waited a while to post this review. Our daughter went to TAR in July and was there for a little over 100 days. We ended up here because we were in crisis mode with her and had to make a quick decision. We were not sure what we were getting our selves into. This place requires careful consideration. The 100-day program (all-in) was about $60k. About what it would have cost us for a year at a therapeutic boarding school. Its a huge investment for 100 days. We live on the East Coast so travel there was incredibly hard - its a 5 hour drive traveling south of Salt Lake City or 5 hours north from Las Vegas. The reason for this poor rating was two-fold:
The reason I gave this at least one star is that there were people at the ranch that genuinely cared for our daughter and made some positive impact on her. You don't get to speak to them but you meet them when you go out to the ranch during mid-term and graduation.
Turn-About Ranch offers a 30-day return to the program if your child regresses. But I'm not sure I would go down that road if the 100+ days made no positive change.
Update on our situation 2/19/2020
As I sit behind my daughter in juvenile court - I’m reminded how much time and money was lost and how poor the care at the ranch was. My daughter reinforced how she coasted through the program. The letters she was forced/required to send home were all lies. I guess you rate a program like this based on its effectiveness and what your child takes away from the experience - our experience and her experience was obvious poor at best. We will most likely have to have her stay in a foster home for a period or move on to a therapeutic boarding school. I hindsight, that probably would have been the best bet. If you arrive in a situation that we have with our daughter it’s so important to slow down and evaluate options that will best benefit your child. The cost of this program in the end has limited out ability to finance the next steps to a boarding school. I will officially pay off the balance of the loan I took out to pay for the ranch on 12/1/2020. However we will do whatever is necessary to get our daughter back on track and hopefully set her up for future success.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 21, 2020 at 1:20 AM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog
Note: My time at TAR was voluntary. It resulted from my expulsion from a traditional boarding school that I loved, as a prerequisite for re-enrollment. Also, as an Elan history buff, I was curious about this industry. My experience took place in late Winter to early Spring of 2002.
I went to Turn About Ranch for "the minimum" 60 days because I began a letter-writing campaign to the educational consultant at the Department of State, my dad's employer. While she did not do anything besides force a stop-payment, it was still welcome.
TAR really ought to be shut down. It isn't brutal in the sense of WWASPS, but it's still incredibly twisted. The isolation, forced labor, antiquated gender roles, and mandatory Baptist instruction are sickening.
For the uninitiated, here's a general break-down of the system:
1st level: IMPACT/ROUNDY
During the first day at Roundy camp students are strip-searched, have their shoes taken away and replaced with old size 14 rubber boots (without laces). They are then told to sit in the dirt, surrounded by a 4x4 circle of rocks with a firepit and a plastic tarp/lean-to supported by cedar branches. They sit there from before dawn to well after, until the Level 2's are sent to bed.
This is called "impact".
During this time they are not allowed to talk (except to ask for water or food) and are forbidden to sleep except when the staff tells them to. They eat breakfast (oatmeal, cooked over their personal camp fire in an old coffee can), lunch ("trail mix," which is shredded coconut, Cheerios, and raisins), and dinner (which can vary from beans & lentils to Ramen noodles, depending on availability and behavior).
They are issued to blue Level 1-2 binder. At this time their only work is to write a letter to their parents, a letter to themselves (to be opened upon graduation), and to wait. Wait until advancement.
Level 2: ROUNDY
The students get their shoes back. Nor do they have to shit under supervision anymore, but it's still in the same port-o-potty (Staff, Boys, and Girls toilets are there, but are unlabeled so humiliation and punishment can be used against anyone using the "wrong one")
Usually after about 3 days the students are taken off of impact. A bath (in a galvanized tub with boiled water, a bar of soap, shampoo, and a disposable BIC razor) is provided. They are now Levels 2's or "twos," but keep the same binder. Their responsibilities are much greater than on impact. They spend most of their time milking cows, carrying water from a creek (punching through the ice if you're lucky enough to be there after November and before April), washing utensils/dishes, collecting eggs, feeding pigs, and doing push-ups twenty five at a time (if they say anything as horrible as "dude" or "god"). Anywhere on the calendar remotely near winter, they chop firewood. Cords, as they call them, are a necessity for advancement in the Blue Binders. A quota is listed and enforced.
Level 3: The Barn
You get your Green Binder! And a mid-term meeting with your parents, who just might screw you over more if you're not careful. Better slap on a Utahn accent and bury that mouth firmly in between their ass cheeks!
At The Barn, oligarchy rears its ugly head. There is a syllogism to it. Not all students are snitches, but all snitches are students. You have to watch your ass in an entirely new way.
You are allowed to drink flavored beverages now (Kool-Aid, milk, soft drinks as infrequent rewards). You are allowed to see clocks and watch certain movies (The Emperor's New Groove, E.T., The Bridge Over the River Kwai, etc.) during "movie nights" and also you eat more complex food (burritos are a perrenial favorite). However, your mail is still (as always) regulated and newspapers/TV are out of the question.
Your average day will be spent feeding cattle off the back of a truck, feeding goats/chickens/geese/sheep, or even helping an employee move their furniture to a new house. You are free labor and therefor expendable, don't forget that. On Sundays, you're ushered into TAR vehicles and driven to Escalante's Baptist Church for the mandatory services(supposedly not, but on asking not to be included I was threatened with a "level drop").
During this time you will also be included in "groups." During Group you will sit on plastic chairs in a semi-circle and watch people be accused of things, mocked, and subsequently have insults screamed at them. Maybe you'll get to participate in Max Stewart's (the burly Mormon who runs the place) challenge to run from your chair to the corral fence and back again just for the hell of it. If you look at the girls too much he'll accuse you of wanting to make a "TAR baby." To Mormons, sex without reproduction is a foreign concept.
Or in my case, you might get taken for a ride in Stewart's pick-up truck for some personal attention. He told me I was a drug-addict for requesting a continuation for my prescription Eskalith (lithium citrate, for Bipolar Disorder). Thanks for curing my organic brain disorder, Max!
Level 4: The BARN, SOLO, GRADUATION
As a Level 4 you get to serve yourself a plate before anyone else by going behind the counter and scooping slop onto it while helpless Level 3's drool. You also get to sit in on "leadership meetings" in which troublesome students are brought up and solutions are devised. It's a sweet position, but make sure you kiss the right ass or you'll level drop.
During this time you're supposed to complete your Red Binder, which includes assorted equestrian bullshit and anti-drug propaganda from 20 years ago (by the way, these binders are counted as High School credits for some reason).
Eventually, after tormenting your underlings in Levels 1 to 3, you're sent to Solo. Now, Solo isn't as harsh as it used to be. It's still the same one-room, black-painted cabin out in the middle of nowhere that it used to be. The only difference is you don't have to sleep there. Instead you spend your time completing the Solo Binder, which is a reflection on just about everything. You can almost (kinda) get a tan out there, too. This is also the perfect time to smoke any cigarette butts you've found (or sage-brush rolled in notebook paper if you haven't learned to trade well). What, no matches? You should have stole them from the meds booth, you retard, GAWD there's only a fucking basket of them!
But I digress.
This isolation will last perhaps 2 days at the most. Then you'll be welcomed back to The Barn in hushed, secret anticipation of your graduation. Sometimes this is delayed for more than a week, other times it happens within 24 hours. You're then led into a circle outside (or one in The Barn) where your "medicine pouch," some feathers, and some other Indian bullshit are given to you. Then everyone says some stuff and your indulgent, well-fed, affluent parents cry and welcome you back into their (YOUR) family.
You are now free. It took 90 days of no music, no "slang," forced Christianity, having to sing while using the bathroom, hard manual labor, and ingenious mind-games... but you're free. What's in store for you? If follow Turn About's suggestion; a life of piety and no friendship. Better than smoking weed and premarital sex, right??
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 20, 2020 at 3:40 AM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Reddit (source)
I went to Moonridge Academy and it was traumatizing
A couple years ago, I went to a treatment center because I was depressed and not doing school work. My parents thought being around specialists and supportive staff would give me the coping skills I needed to be a functioning person. It backfired, majorly.
When I first got there, they searched my bag, which is understandable, and made me strip off all my clothes in a bathroom. It was humiliating. They wrote down every bruise, scrape, and scar on my body. It took half an hour.
My first night, I had a panic attack. Instead of giving me space like I requested, an adult insisted on sitting next to me. The proximity to a stranger made me feel unsafe. When I expressed as much, I was told I would hurt myself if I was left alone. As someone who had been clean from self-harm for months, this felt like a slap in the face. I was hyperventilating, sobbing, rocking back and forth, and all I was asking for was a little distance.
Instead of helping me learn the rules when I asked questions, a staff member took my diary when I asked a question during "no-talk", a silent time for students to study. When I apologized and tried to politely explain that I was just trying to understand what was going on, this staff member said she wouldn't give me diary back for two weeks. At the time, journaling and drawing were my only healthy coping skills. When I explained this and asked for the journal ban to be reduced to one week instead of two, she laughed at me.
When a pencil was found in the middle of the room I shared with four other students, all five of us were forced to do school work with crayons. When our homework was illegible, we had to redo it all. It was tedious and humiliating.
Throughout the ten months I was there, I was constantly manipulated and borderline emotionally abused by multiple staff members. It was bad enough that my therapist had me fill out a form on her computer stating one of the incidents, where a staff swore at me for not walking fast enough for her liking. I had to lie my way through the program because when I said I wanted to go to a different treatment center to get the help I needed, I was told I "wasn't progressing" and I was "making adults concerned".
Even years later, I still wake up drenched in sweat, afraid that I will be sent back despite my parents admitting it was the worst mistake they have ever made.
Parents who are considering sending their child to Moonridge Academy, please look at different residential or outpatient centers. That place acts entirely different when parents arrive. It felt like a lie. Please, don't send your child there.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 7, 2020 at 6:25 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Reddit. Praise the author for sharing it.
I went to Turn About Ranch when I was 13 because I was gay. I'm 29 now (and happily married to my beautiful, same-sex partner).
I was a fairly good kid, but I think that Turn About Ranch really messed me up and caused trauma that I'm still unpacking. When I first arrived to the camp, they refused to give me my prescribed epilepsy medication for a whole week, claiming it was a part of their "detox" methods for all kids.
The first week without my medication I was having a really hard time focusing (ie. having staring seizures) and burned my hand in fire. They refused to get me medical care until it was spotted in a later photo. It was a 3rd degree burn on my hand.
I went from around 100+ lbs to 89 lbs in three weeks. Again, they refused medical care until my family saw my state in photos and demanded it.
Things got better after I received medical care, but it took so much advocacy from my family.
While I was at camp, I was repeatedly insulted and called a "lesbo" by staff, as if it was my name. Other kids at the camp did it to, and the staff encouraged it.
As time went on I just learned to be invisible. When my family saw me at the half-way point, they were very afraid because of how silent I was. I wouldn't make eye contact or even engage in small talk. I just wanted to disappear.
At the end of the three months, the camp did not want to release my rights to my family. They said that I "hadn't changed" and obviously they were right. The only thing that changed was that I went from a girl who had confidence and spirit to one who felt immense fear.
The thing I want you to know is that after I left, I never trusted my family again. When I went through something scary, I never opened up to them. When I went through something beautiful and good, I never opened up to them. I went from gay 13 year old to a gay 13 year old with lifelong trauma.
There is no physical safety at Turn About Ranch. There is no psychological safety at Turn About Ranch. Don't send anyone you love there.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 30, 2020 at 6:05 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog. Praise the author for telling his story.
I was in DRA (Diamond Ranch Academy) from August 2011 to January 2012.
I was taken by two big men on August 4 at around 3 in the morning and transported to Utah. Unfortunately, it is as bad as the internet says. Not a day goes by where I don't relive what happened there. I remember getting a visit from my parents and crying for them to take me, instead they told my therapist and he talked to me and said if I did that again I would get in trouble for "manipulation" aka a cry for help.
I saw this poor 14 year old try to run away and then two 30-something year old men tackled him to the ground and put him in an arm restraint. He then had to run ER (energy release) which was him running until the guys told him to stop, which could be hours. The first two weeks I was there we had o&a (observe and assess) where they made us do stupid little tasks (I was 17 when I arrived and had to write a 17 page paper about my life, make a fire, tie knots, and read various self-help books), we also had to ask to do any little thing (like drink water, reposition ourselves, put on chapstick) we also had designated times to use the bathroom and if you had to go when it wasn't time you got docked points.
The only way I got away was because I was 18 and was able to leave the program. I have been doing a lot better lately. I go to therapy and have been dealing with a lot of emotions regarding DRA. I hate that it still fucks with me and I've been out of the program for 5 years now. I just wanted to put this here so other survivors can know that: yes what we went through fucking sucks, but we can't let our parents stupidity get in the way of our futures. And if any parents are reading this: don't fucking send your child to any therapeutic boarding school, they will harbor resentments against you for a while (trust me). Also Your kid will also probably end up smoking weed to deal with the ptsd of the situation.
More information about Diamond Ranch Academy
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on May 30, 2020 at 5:40 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on another blog. Praise the author for telling his story
Watched kids get beat up by staff, watched kids try to kill themselves every day. Verbal abuse from staff member. Medical neglect. Kids rioting against the school. Watched kids slice there wrists open. Watched kids tie bags over there head. Kids would have panic attacks and self harm and the other kids had to help them instead of staff or the kid would be physically removed from the building, usually dragged. Staff broke a few kids arms. Staff gave kids black eyes and bruises. Staff brought drugs into the facility such as meth. Frank and Sherman milked as much money from kids suggesting IEPs. Most teachers did not have teaching degrees and did not help with school work. Food poisoning. Kids hanging themselves from bed posts. Spent an hour a day outside, usually less. Putting 5 girls in a room the size of a motel room. Mold, broken ACs. Overnight staff talked shit on kids. Verbal abuse. Cases of sexual assault. Mattress haven't been replaced in about 8 years. I was gone for about a year and a half and came back and my same blood, shit and piss stained mattress was still there. Carpet had fungus. There was a staff that would stare at the girls in the shower. If you didn't tell the other kids what to do you would be dropped levels and not allowed to go home. Kids tried jumping over the second story rails. Small portions of food but extremely fattening with little to no nutritional value. Water jug would be dumped on girls who did not get out of bed within 3 minutes. Reinvestment Room was covered in other people's fecal matter, blood, hair, snot, and pee and was cleaned by students once a week. Kids in RI received no food until deemed unethical and kids were given a fruit for lunch and breakfast. Staff talked shit on kids.
Most of my problems to this day stem from the traumatic occurrences from Red Rock. I cannot have a normal relationship with my family because of the trust issues I have built from this place. I left Red Rock Canyon with more problems then when I had entered.
More about Red Rock Canyon School in St. George, Utah.