Now and then I get a newsletter from Domestic Prisoners of Conscience. The latest one speak of a reputation war going on between former students from Cross Creek programs, which was a therapeutic boarding school in Gt. George in Utah.
The question is: Was this boarding school an abusive place? Was High Impact, which was a boot camp in Mexico Cross Creek and other therapeutic boarding schools used as punishment for students they could not control abusive also?
(There is a sequence about High Impact 1:05 into the video)
High Impact was not in operation for very long – only a year or two before the government in Mexico decided to close it down. If you google High Impact you will find YouTube videos and photos of teenagers tied on hands and feet lying on the ground in dog cages. While offensive for parents in Europe and most families in the States it was a normal boot camp of its kind as they are found both in the Middle East, Missouri where they can operate due to relaxed laws allowing basically everything going on as long as it is done with a religious purpose. And of course also in Mexico where the central government since the days of Porfirio Diaz has not been in control of anything going on outside the capital.
Is it abusive to tie teenagers down on the ground for hours? Is it abusive to force the teenagers to do number one in the pants while they are running laps as punishment because the point system would punish them for using the toilet more than once per day?
You can find statements about how the camp was operated from people who never went to Cross Creek because the camp also took teenagers in directly from the parents who the parents felt would benefit from a shock treatment.
Personally I believe that the High Impact component was abusive. I know that the management of WWASP who ran the chain of boarding schools and residential treatment centers, Cross Creek belonged to has stated that they had no idea of what took place at High Impact. The problem is that they visited the camp. Unless they were blind they knew what went on back then.
Cross Creek programs
(A former student defending the school)
Then there is the question about Cross Creek. Remember the students were not sent there because they had broken the laws. It was not a court decision. It was a parental decision. There are many parents out there who are angry at the school for the use of false marketing. One of the students who supports the boarding school are right when she states that the parents could have investigated the place before they enrolled their child at the school. She is right. Do never trust anything you read on the Internet about how fine the school is. Do also never trust parents who tell that the school was wonderful for their child because they can earn a free month on the school if they come with a customer.
You have to visit the school yourself. You have to look between the lines. You cannot trust the students if you are allowed to talk with them. They will most likely have been promised an extra home-visit or advancement in the program if they act fine.
What you can do is to refuse periods of isolation when you child start at the school. Demand weekly unmonitored talks and agree on a code-word with your child so you will know when your child is subjected to censoring.
One of the students who speak out for Cross Creek states that addicts and prostitutes need punishment. She cannot be more wrong. To treat a teenage addict or prostitute you have to know what took this teenager on this path. Torture and other kind of pressure don’t work. We know that from the recent report regarding method used on terrorists. Information achieved by the use of torture was of no better quality than information achieved by the use of ordinary police work. If pressure and torture don’t work on terrorists why should work on young addicts.
You have to gain trust to cure an addict. In Denmark we have a very successful program for addicts called U-turn. The teenagers come willingly. Most to get their abuse under control and continue to use, but they realize somewhere in the process that drugs are of such a poor quality that they cannot do that and their lives would be better off if they quit drug-use all together.
(Another former student defending the school)
Some states that Cross Creek and similar schools were the product of Clinton’s 3-strike laws. They could very well be right. No parent want their child to end up in prison serving life and if life and decades of prison are given for other crimes than murder you have a population of parents placed in permanent fear because teenagers are supposed to act out. Otherwise they will be a huge risk of suffering from depression.
Look at Denmark: Young Danes can drink alcohol when they are 16. They can have sex when they are 15. They can watch all the porn they like. Still the youth have become less criminal and teenage pregnancies are rare. The present generation of teenagers is the most law-abetting sober citizens’ maybe ever, but they are also the most depressive generation ever. They focus on high grades and record pace through the education system well-knowing that they might never reach the pension-age which has been sky-rocketing meaning that they will live a life without fun! To realize that you will live a life to service and die only will cause depression.
No society can bear that the next generation will face no future. At some point the teenagers will stop and rebel. Then the society must offer other alternatives than life in prison. Otherwise boarding schools like Cross Creek will occur again even despite the fact that they did their job so poorly that they ran out of customers and closed.
Fact is that Cross Creek closed not because the times changed. Cross Creek closed because they didn’t do a good job. There was nobody who was saved by Cross Creek. The students who did better after a stay just matured just as good as if they had been sent to normal juvenile prison. Cross Creek was a prison disguised as a boarding school.
The so-called emotional growth program was a joke. 60 years of research in Denmark have shown us that the social heritage more than hard effort and good grades decide whether a student ha success or not. In Denmark the students are paid to attend universities. It doesn’t result in a massive number of students with foreign heritage or working class background attends the universities. The students who make it to the universities are students from homes where the parents have academically background; Families who knows the drill and know how to prioritize the time in elementary and high schools.
You cannot instill success in people. Human resource consists basically 5 minutes of talk every year and a beer after work every Friday. People are born to be kings and queens or ordinary working class people. It you push young people into being someone they are not, the result can be disastrous. A massive number of suicides are found among the graduates from Cross Creek and similar programs. The tragedies cover young adults who found it difficult to adapt the life they found inside the boarding school to something useful on the outside.
- So you have this school doing all the wrong things making young people believe that they can achieve in life what they reach out for regardless of their social background.
- You have this school using force against the students to achieve what they believe is right.
- You have this school which failed to subject their sub-contractors like High Impact to any kind of supervision.
Was Cross Creek programs abusive? What is your answer?