A member of the now closed cult Synanon decided to create a boarding school including elements of the teaching from the Synanon cult which opened around 1967
The first school was located in California and they expanded to Idaho around 1982. While the schools closed in 2005 when the lawsuits began in pile up, their legacy had a profound impact on the entire private teenage detention industry who were able to detain a lot of teenagers under the pretext of treatment.
The schools and programs listed as part of the CEDU chain were:
- CEDU High School (Located in Running Springs – California, founded 1967, closed 2005 – purchased by Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles)
- Rocky Mountain Academy (Bonner’s Ferry – Idaho, founded 1982, closed 2005 – purchased by Universal Health Services)
- Hilltop for Young Adults (Located in Running Springs – California, founded 1984, status unknown)
- CEDU Middle School (Located in Running Springs – California, founded 1992, closed 2005 – purchased by Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles)
- Ascent Wilderness Program (Naples – Idaho, founded 1992, closed 2005 – purchased by Universal Health Services)
- Boulder Creek Academy (Bonner’s Ferry – Idaho, founded 1993, closed 2005 – purchased by Universal Health Services)
- Northwest Academy (Naples – Idaho, founded 1994, closed 2005 – purchased by Universal Health Services)
- Milestones Transitional Program (Founded 1999, status unknown)
Over the years the school made transitions and were developed to make the look more conventional. In the start medicating the students were not allowed but in order to be able to cure basically everything to attract more clients, the teenagers were allowed to take medication in the later years and some medical staff was hired.
The concept of using attack therapy was always a part of CEDU. The methods developed at Synanon were never abandoned. Also the process of “smushing” where both teenagers and teachers were forced to lie close together after the therapy stayed as a part of the curriculum. Some students felt violated just as much as the attack therapy violated them. Some felt that the touching became focused on something sexual.
A suicide took place in 1994. A boy hanged himself in one of the dormitories.
There was no supervision with the employees so at one point a murderer had access to the campus. 3 boys disappeared and has never been found.
So much more could be told about CEDU. I lack words. It was not a fun place to be a teenager.
Articles and datasheets
- CEDU (Reddit Troubled Teen Database)
- Blake Wade Pursley (The Charley project)
- CEDU – a legacy (Secret prisons for teens)
- Running My Anger: The Legacy of the CEDU Cult (Medium)