Reply to Charles regarding previous entry

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2013 at 05:36

Charles wrote as reply to Paris Jackson to be sent to a dangerous boarding school:

Ever see that State Farm commercial where the girls has a date with the “french model” she found on the internet?? Seems like this is a classic case of “the internet is always right” I tried to find anything substantial about Diamond Ranch Academy and all I found was a few activists sites and kids who were still angry, making claims that, if indeed were true, would surely result in severe lawsuits. Lawsuits are public record and, therefore, easy to find online. There are absolutely no lawsuits that have been or are filed against DRA, so I am inclined to believe that the claims are all false. Not even the parents of the kid who died filed any claims against DRA. I have heard of these places that do engage in abuse, and they all get shut down. This place has been up and running for almost 15 years and has a clean record. Seems like a no brainer.

The Internet doesn’t remember all. They were located in Idaho and the authorities intervened so they moved to Utah. Years back there were still articles online covering all which took place in Idaho. Unfortunately they are no longer online. However the authorities in Idaho intervened for a reason and it could be nice if anyone researched what took place around year 2000, so the difference between what the various states accept can be brought into light.

You have to look at the fact that the authorities in two states – Missouri and Utah – neglect their oversight of such facilities. In Missouri facilities just have to claim that they are religious. Then they can beat up the students all they want. Only one facility has been closed by the authorities because the students started to kill each other. The management then started a new school which continues to be open.

In Utah you have to kill a student before the authorities will shut a facility. In fact the only facility which was closed without a death recorded on the campus was Brightway Adolescent Hospital because it was so openly a scam. But this ruling did not affect a number of facilities owned by the same company being a part of the same system.

I know for a fact that the first autopsy of the boy who died there in 2009 gave no result of why he died. Second it is not known how much the 2012 wildfires endangered the students. The road to the old campus was closed and it was really the only road out of there. There are many questions surrounding Diamond Ranch Academy and it is just a question about finding enough former students to establish a pattern about what is going on there. You mention the Internet. It is really the cause of the downfall of the industry. Before the Internet the students could not make people understand what they went through. They were isolated with their emotional baggage caused by such places. Their family could not understand them because the communication were cut and letter/phone calls censored. With the Internet students can get confirmation that they were not alone about suffering in the programs.

Here in Denmark we also have realized that you cannot challenge students without costs. Boarding schools all over Denmark close due to a reduced number of students seeking them. Just a few years back they hadn’t rooms for students because the students came willingly because they would break the social heritage by being challenged and they could remain in a sober-living environment (It is legal for teenagers in Denmark drink alcohol regardless of age and they can buy alcohol on their own when they are 16). But as I told challenging comes with a cost and the 2011 Præstø Fjord dragon boat accident really proved that it could endanger the lives of the students if they are taken out of their ordinary daily lives to be pushed beyond their borders. Parents accept in a higher degree that you end up with a life you are born into based on social heritage. Expanding the abilities of the teenagers and personal development is simply no longer accepted and it has resulted in closure of many boarding schools.

Back to Diamond Ranch Academy; I know that they have changed the program lately. They are no longer a ranch in the desert. It is a school based on pushing the students into sport hoping that they can get success using small victories in sports as tool to handle their emotional problems.

It would also be difficult using their old punishment method – forcing students to push and pull Mormon handcarts filled with heavy stone around the campus all day and still protect the students from the media now where the campus is located near a public road (Sand Hollow Road). Fact is that this kind of punishment – often put upon the students for not accepting the program – don’t belong in a modern world. Remember that they are not convicted in court. They are innocent people who should be free to walk the roads. Instead they are imprisoned. What does it matter whether the prison has curtains instead of bars? They are put there and are supposed to serve a sentence often for something is not even criminal.

In other states teenagers like Paris Jackson would have patient’s rights. She would have access to a lawyer. She would have access to a grievances procedure. She would have access to have her commitment at the programs judged by a court. In Utah she is being robbed of her rights. They can keep her there until she is 18 and she would miss several years of her life. For what? Nothing!

She is of course unhappy having lost a parent and some might even have been bullying her. And normally it could have been handled with a weekly visit to a therapist. Instead she is being sent to a place where she is denied access to the world and to activities normal teenagers participate in. It can only affect her life in a negative direction. I believe that a stay in Utah does not serve her interest like it hadn’t with other teenagers who had been sent to this place before her. If I can make a difference shutting such places like Diamond Ranch Academy down, I would certainly do it.

However I live in Denmark and all I can do is to appeal to our politicians to shut boarding schools, foster families and group homes down in Denmark down. For facilities abroad I can only bring awareness about the possible abuse and I guess that I have been successful doing this since you have commented my blog.

  1. While I appreciate your dedicated post all to my comment, I have to say that I feel your ideals are just so far different than mine that a debate is not worthwhile. You see, while you discuss a child’s right to an attorney and whatnot, I inherently believe that it is the responsibility of the parents to intervene with a child who is struggling and starting down a path that will negatively affect their life in the future. The kids at these schools are being sent because they are getting straight A’s, excelling in work and sports and art, or because they are happy and healthy. They are being sent because they have caring parents who are watching them throw their life away to drugs, video games, idleness, etc, or because they are suffering from severe emotional and personality disorders which limit their ability to recognize the need for and seek out help. This idea is explained phenomenally well by a parent of a student at DRA on the very website setup to slander DRA.
    Now, let me clarify… does this mean that I support the mistreatment of youth in any facility like this in any way shape or form?? Absolutely not! Quite the opposite actually, I believe that what they need is a chance to self-reflect and gain a greater appreciation for their own innate values. They also need to comprehend their limitations and find the ways to compensate for those weaknesses while at the same time develop other positive character traits that will benefit them throughout their lives. I believe that these children need continued access to things that are normal and healthy for positive growth. It is for that very reason that you will see me throw my support behind a facility like Diamond Ranch Academy, because I have personally visited the campus, I have spoken with students, I have met with parents and staff members. I have witnessed caring professionals sitting down with struggling youth at DRA and have seen those youth develop into happy and successful adults.
    Although, it seems that we differ in some opinions, it would seem that we agree on the type of treatment that a struggling teen needs to receive (i.e. love, compassion, understanding, growth opportunities, etc.). The difference we have is that I actually have had first-person hands on experience with this particular facility and you have not. I could understand if you had personally witnessed the atrocities you describe. But, as I alluded to in my previous comment, I feel that you have fallen victim to sensationalized accounts of abuse that never happened, as well as exaggerations of the truth by the select few that haven’t been helped by programs like DRA. The truth is that there are no verified accounts of abuse at DRA. The truth is that they do operate in the best interest of both student and family. The truth is that they do employ staff who truly care about the well-being of their clients. And until you have had personal experience which convinces you otherwise, I, frankly, feel that you are not qualified to state your opinion as if it were fact.
    I hope I have not come off as overly aggressive, as my only intention is to set the record straight. I gain nothing by supporting DRA in this forum. I am just a moral person who disagrees with blind slander. If you would like to discuss the issue of Diamond Ranch Academy further, I would be more than happy to send you materials and evidence of the great work being done here.

  2. I understand that there is a cultural difference. As a Dane I support the convention of the child by the United Nations. The convention puts the right of the child above the need of the family. In Denmark I have little freedom to enroll my child in a special boarding school because the government demands certain standards of each school, treatment center and group home. Among the standards are demands that the individual facility specialize in certain areas so a child suffering from depression doesn’t end up with teenagers with other diagnoses which would demand another approach. Second every restraint incident – every single one – has to be reported to the local department of social services. Several group homes have been closed – not because they acted wrongly in a case of restraint but simply because they didn’t do the paperwork.

    As a parent to a struggling teen suffering from depression who happens to live in a group home attending a normal school 2 miles from the group home I find it assuring that there is oversight. I find it assuring that the teenagers have Internet access until 22:00. I find it assuring that they have access to a personal cell phone whenever they are off campus attending school or other activities simply because it allows both us as parents and the group home to track the built-in GPS.

    I see my child every 14 days and have been able to do so from day one. Communication with family – even extended family is not something you can put in a reward system. We know when stories are exaggerated and not. If we have doubt there are of course the social services which can enter the group home 24/7 and investigate.

    Does it sound perfect? Of course not! I would like my child to live at home. I would like that my child would live in a local community where I know the employees in the stores and where the teenagers in the local community drink alcohol which they can do legally according to our laws when they are 16 years of age.

    It was not my initial choice that my child left my home however it was the need for a special schooling which sent my child to a small town almost 100 kilometers from there. For Danes only 20 kilometers is the difference from totally other life. If I moved 20 kilometers it would take a generation or two to be accepted as a local so a town in another part of Denmark brought a lot of anxiety into our family. I guess we live one day a time based on the motto: “One good day does not count as a bad one”. Hopefully we would be united as a family once again in a couple of years and then we have to move forward as this period in the life of my child had never existed.

    There are horror stories from a lot of group homes. Many are investigated and the claims found false at first. Then a couple of years later the investigation of the very same cases are reopened and now there is enough evidence to convict either employees and the now young adults who have committed assault against teens they shared the facility with.
    Why does the initial investigation often fail to find the truth? First because many of the involved facilities use a level system there the teenagers are rewarded when they support the interests of the facilities. Second because the referring social workers and doctors have economically interests in some of the facilities doing various works for them just as the educational consultants in the United States gets referral fees from facilities.

    That’s why I looked for a treatment home for my child where there is no reward system. I do distrust the social worker in charge and have used connections in the hamlet where the treatment home is placed to learn what local gossip tells about the treatment home. Of course even with that as resource for me I cannot be certain that the stay will bring a happy ending because the hamlet where the treatment center is place is small and the only industry beside a local supermarket are treatment homes and a boarding school.

    I don’t know why you visited Diamond Ranch Academy. I would not judge you even if you might have sent your own child to DRA. I only hope that you were allowed to meet students who made statements based on real improvement and not based on rewards in a level system. I have seen dissatisfied teenagers at the group home my child attends. I have seen them handle runaway cases (You cannot hide in any place in Denmark for long. It is a small country.) My child has clashed with the employees and they have handled the situation without force in way where my child was allowed to gain insight while keeping dignity.

    I do believe that manual restraints are an answer where the teenager is armed or attacking a person, but I don’t believe restraints to be used for mouthing or runaway attempts. When restraining people accidents can happen and people can get killed. I searched the internet and found a blog called “Today a child died”. About half the deaths were result of restraint attempts turning bad. It proves my point.

    But as I stated in the start; I am from a different culture and as a Dane I don’t deny that I judge the world based on my values just as every other Dane do. One of historical incidents which have made us proud of our country was the Cartoon War. It was a strike on the culture supporting Osama Bin Laden and it lowered their morale. That is how we Danes see the world; as a world which should be taught and lectured. That is why I have no problems criticizing DRA. It represents something which produces a type of adult which would function badly in a Danish firm and that is really enough for me.

    Thank you for taking the time to explain your viewpoint. I respect that and agree that we disagree on DRA.


  3. I relish, cause I discovered just what I used to be taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye bdfkdfakakfg

  4. “The truth is that there are no verified accounts of abuse at DRA.”

    How can this be the truth? How would those accounts be verified? From what I have heard, complaints are made to police, (just check out the police logs here: to child protective agents and licensing agents and they are just swept under the rug and do not lead to any real investigations. Even if they did, how would we know? The media didn’t report on either of the deaths at DRA, do you think they would report on any non fatal incidents? No. In fact it is only the activists like the website you linked to, ( ) and these other advocate blogs that have discovered the deaths and reported on them. They are also the only ones reporting the allegations of abuse. I don’t know how you might go about verifying the words of the victims, besides asking DRA if it were true and getting the inevitable defense that these kids are all liars. I must then ask if you are inclined to believe that an entire congregation of former students would be lying about abuse. What exactly would they stand to gain by making up these very detailed and consistent stories? Just take a gander at the website, read the sworn testimonies of these kids and really ask yourself if they sound like lies, or cries for validation. Seems to me that the sheer multitude of these reports proves the validity of the claims themselves.

    If it was necessary for every abuse victim to have their allegations verified before they would be believed, we would be living in a cold, victim blaming world. I personally believe that if a kid is brave enough to come forward to share their stories that they should never be called a liar or manipulator. Even if they might exaggerate, their reason for reaching out is likely that they are hurting and seeking support. What moral person would turn a hurting child away in order to defend a business?

    I find it extremely suspicious that this person has been posting here, while he alludes to his involvement with DRA but does not disclose his relationship with them. I suspect he is actually a staff member or paid marketer. It’s no secret that these programs use false advertising and unethical methods to promote their programs. I wouldn’t doubt this person was sent here to convince any parent who may be on the fence about DRA that the controversy surrounding DRA is all lies. I know that is exactly what DRA wants people to believe. I can only hope no one will fall for this transparent manipulation.

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