93. Cedars Academy

The school located near Bridgeville in Delaware was open for 3 decades. Already in 1989 it ran into problems with licensing. It was purchased by Aspen Education Group owned by Romney and one of the sponsors of the Dr. Phil show. It closed in 2009.

A student writes:

My Neil Schwartz Abuse
I broke a window thinking it would get me kicked out. It took Neil a half an hour to show up from his house mean while the staff had me sit down which I did until he showed up. When he arrived I was grabbed by my caller and drug down the fifty foot cement path at knee height by Neil Schwartz. By the time I got to the other building my pants and collar were completely shredded with bloody knees and elbows. Neil through me up the stairs into the other building where knowone else was. He jumped onto of me with his knee in my chest so I could not breath while restrain my arm and put his other hand over my face and pressed down then squeezed as hard as he could while screaming “Don’t be a pussy John, stop crying” for no less than 10 minutes. I was crying begging him to stop the whole time. After Neil stopped he told me if I mentioned it to anyone he would call the police on me for breaking the window and it would happen again. By this point I was terrified of him. I walked away with a swollen bloody lip, …scrapped knees, a severe limp, shredded clothes, and emotional scars and nightmares that I still suffer from. The next home visit I told my parents and they didn’t believe me. That night I slit both my wrists and took a bottle of sleeping pills. I woke up in the hospital the next day. Neil Schwartz is really a sick monster and I will never forgive him for what he did to me. -John

Another student states:

I’ve been sent to many terible places by my parents. Ascent and the Cedars academy were the two worst…

since all the abuse is over and I remain a survivor with intolerable trauma from the emotional and physical abuse from both places and Ascent was shut down, I must fight to raise hell for other places like it.

That is why we must tell the Cedars Academy to shut itself down before we the people take a stand!

contact the cedars and show your discontent so no more kids suffer emotional and physical abuse like I did. The founder of the school (Neal Swartz) threatened to smash my head back into a tree because I called him “f—ing fascist scum.” the headmistress (Mary Pauer)waved a knife in my face and tried to supress my left wing ideaology. The staff stood by and let my 18 year old room mate beat me up each day for my political views. (keep in mind I was like 13 and small for my age, an easy target for a coward like him and his accomplices amoungst the staff.) I am 18 now and this horible school is still up and running. We must stop this madness one placement at a time.

Tell that fascist school that censors left wing literature and abuses kids and punishes kids for making attempts at ending their lives (instead of helping them through it) to f—ing close down or we’ll continue to give them hell.

and tell the wankers Petey Earle sent you!!!

It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.


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13 responses to “93. Cedars Academy”

  1. drew willenkin says :

    Does anyone no of the academy of new horizons? neil Schwartz and mary pauer. They were pretty ruthless people. I have some pretty bad memories of that p.o.w camp. Contact me on face book drew willenkin. thanks

    • RobC says :

      Yep, spent 8 months at this shit hole in 1997. As youngsters stuck in a shitty situation, we made due the best we could. Most of us got along because each other is all we had. I remember Neil Swartz VERY VERY well. His “dually” pick up truck, his crappy aftershave, his relentless narcissistic long speeches about how he came from “Scranton, PA” and “overcame it all”! I also remember not giving a rats ass about his pilots license.

      I “took time” a lot… mostly for talking. I spent hours outside by myself well into the early morning hours thanks to Mary Pauer. Because of that, I felt so violated as a 13 year old, I did act out on my emotions. I mostly kicked out the railing the railings at the schoolhouse. Because of that I would get dragged outside, hit over the head, pushed down. The guy is a Grade A piece of a shit.

      I am an adult now… successful, but not because of Cedars. I still hold a piece of hatred in my heart for Neil Swartz and Mary Pauer. I am not sure what happened to Neil, if he’s dead or alive. To be honest I don’t really care, but a part of me does have that wonder. I know for a fact that Mary Pauer is alive. Mary does some sort of short story writing and I assume still lives her life like nothing ever happened and that her and Neil’s actions greatly affected the lives of the youth that came through Cedars.

      I don’t really have much else to say here, other than… if you are considering options for a child that is having trouble or is in need of special education circumstances, do your research and find a reputable school. With the internet it’s easier to to find the good and the bad. Unfortunately for the youth of the past, our parents didn’t have that luxury.

      I don’t blame my mom for sending me there. She wanted to help me. She was taken advantage of in a desperate time by sleazy marketing. I understand, it wasn’t her fault.

      So to Mary and Neil… may god have mercy on your souls.

      • Adam Mumford says :

        My name is Adam Mumford. I was also a student at cedar from 1996-1998. This place was a nightmare. I think the reason Neil never really wanted to mess with me is because he was afraid of my Marine Corps veteran father. I do not blame my folks, they were doing the best and were fooled by Neil and Mary. I think about how horrible that place was every day I would like to confront them if i could ever find them. I would also like to talk to some other survivors.

    • Theo says :

      Drew I went to New Horizons too in 1988-89, yes I am on facebook and I just send you a message right now.

      • Jennifer says :

        Does anyone have info on staff member Sang Yun who helped my friend while in Cedars ? He was mentioned in court documents as testifying against Neil & Mary re-opening the school & also quoted in news article that reported some of their child abuse.

      • Stacy says :

        Yes I was on crutches

      • Gary Silverman says :

        I remember you Stacy as well I hope you’re doing OK. I remember your family I remember your mom I remember even when we all got out of there living in the colony with you in Holbrook. How have you been? I remember several people from the original staff I am member Kathy who was always very nice to me and referred to her as mountain woman I remember Ben and I think her name was Becky and they ended up getting married they weren’t so bad but I remember some staff members that were terrible to us but Neil was terrifying Mary honestly I never had a problem with I know a lot of people did I never did but Neil was definitely terrifying… Remember standing on a slab for hours on end in the cold in the hot it didn’t make a difference I remember if you screwed up or if they felt you screwed up during dinner or during any food preparation you would only get firsts and so U would starve. I remember they were staff members who just didn’t like me at all and they used to make me take time as they called it no matter what I did I look at them the wrong way go take some time and I would have to stand for hours and hours and gas until they finally decided to tell me what it was and let me go I knew if certain staff members were on I wouldn’t go on a trip that day I remember it all.

      • Heather Zawadzki says :

        Last 2 years in ny summer program.
        I was under the age of 10!!!
        Evil people
        Sick twisted disgusting people who have stolen my entire youth (basically was a blank slate that life started at 11) that has just began to turn into nightmares due to repressed memories popping up now…

    • Stacy says :

      I was at that school and summer program. I was at the summer from 84-92. The school year was from 85-93.The school moved to Delaware in 89.

      • Gary Silverman says :

        I mentioned in my comment that I also was at the Academy new risers that was located in upstate New York I remember exactly who was and who Ranett and I was there I don’t even remember the kid who had muscular dystrophy a member at all like it was yesterday I am member the staff member the food or maybe waking up at 5:30 every single morning. Stacy were you the one on crutches?

    • S says :

      Mr Willenkin, My name is Stacy Cumsky. I was at cedars academy. I remember Neal swatz and Mary Pauer. Neal was a bully. He split my lip when I was sixteen. This was back in 1990. This was my sixth year at the school. I wish I told my parents what he did to me. I have been talking to my service quatatnater Lisa Arico. I also talked to my contact person Sibohan Grant. They know what happed to me at that school. They told me the school was a crappy place. I want to see Neal and Mary in jail.

  2. Theo says :

    Adam Mumford did you know Neal Swartz and Mary Pauer were peace activists? When I was at this nightmare place back in 1988-89 most of the staff where peace activists who abused children.

  3. Gary Silverman says :

    I was there both at the Academy of new horizons and Cedars academy. I was one of the original kids I actually escaped my name is Gary Silverman and those who are the original kids know who I am eventually Seth lepato another Original member followed suit I cannot believe that the school stayed in service for years and years and years even after the abuse. Neil, you know what you did you know what you did to us. They know. We will never forget the abuse

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