484. Moonridge Academy

The facility founded in 2003 is located in Cedar City in Utah.

Former students and parents wrote:

Our daughter was here for 15 long months! While some of the staff is well intentioned, others are not, including Jack Hinman Who was the Director at the time. Moonridge continues to accept girls that they cannot help. They do not have the proper resources or staff to help any girls with adoption or attachment issues. At each parent seminar they tell the parents the most important thing is not to pull their child. It is ridiculous because many of these girls regress and cannot be helped under the present protocol at Moonridge Academy. They knew my daughter was getting worse and rather than saying after a year, we don’t think we can help her any further, they continued to insist that we were impatient and if we kept her long enough to graduate, she would be fine. This is absurdity! They claim to know so much about adoption and attachment and they truly know nothing! After 15 months we pulled my daughter because she was worse than when she got there. The psychiatrist completely overmedicated her and was clueless to the fact that medication and talk therapy does not work with kids that have adoption, trauma and attachment issues. We brought her home and started Neurofeedback, which we could have done in our own backyard. We could have saved her the trauma and scars of living in a residential treatment facility. 80 sessions later of Neurofeedback, her brain waves are completely normal and she is free of mental health issues, minus the scars of being in treatment for so long. It truly is revolting that they continue to take on these girls who are in so much pain when they don’t have the resources to adequately help them. They force feed the girls to eat, everything is about the rules and the consequences, and a psychiatrist who over medicates and doesn’t understand the disorders he is dealing with. They all should be ashamed of themselves. And they shame the parents if the parents ask too many questions or Bring up legitimate complaints. Their website is amazing with all the right words, and sucks the parents in. Don’t buy it, do your research. This place is secluded, the girls have very little activity despite what they brag about, and almost no equine therapy. Save your daughter the trauma.

Jamie R

My time as a student at Moonridge Academy left me deeply traumatized. I was forced to eat so much food that I threw up. My friend had a UTI and instead of letting her use the bathroom when she had to, staff at Moonridge Academy forced her to wear a diaper. A student was slapped across the face for not finishing her dinner. I was denied medication when I was sick. My friend nearly died from medical neglect. Students were painfully restrained for hours if they did anything wrong, including not wanting to do a chore. This is only a small list of the atrocious I witnessed and experienced while there. Please do not send your child to Moonridge Academy.

Mellie Fitz

Update 2021

A student stepped forward on Reddit:

I was sent to Trails Carolina when I was twelve. I was in a group for sixth and seventh grade girls called Foxtrot. My memories are vague and full of sadness. They covered up my sexual assault, students frequently soiled their pants because we couldn’t stop hiking to pee and nothing happened when students threatened to kill each other.

Immediately after Trails, my parents brought me to Moonridge Academy in Utah. I was excited to sleep in a bed, eat real food and shower. But Moonridge was not at all what I had been told. The staff were very disrespectful on good days, the food made me throw up, I was forced to shower in front of staff when they claimed I wasn’t washing my hair properly and we were not given basic medical care.

An autistic student was restrained for the smallest of misbehaviors—not doing a chore, not leaving a room, singing. My friend’s anemia was ignored for over a week. When she lay unconscious on the bathroom floor, none of the staff batted an eye. When she finally was brought to the hospital, she needed five blood transfusions and the doctor said she nearly died. Another friend of mine had appendicitis and was also dismissed. She cried from the pain and could barely move until she went to the hospital. The surgeon told her she nearly had a ruptured appendix. Had that happened on campus, we would have been too far from the town to get there in time. We were forced to take such high dosages of Zoloft that my friend got heart problems.

Male staff were allowed to do our strip searches. I was uncomfortable by this and the staff said he couldn’t see me from the doorway. That was a blatant lie. If I could see him that easily, he could see me. I was twelve years old and a grown man was five feet from me while I was fully naked.

When my friend refused to shower, she was dragged to the bathroom, forcibly stripped and shoved into the shower. My best friend peed herself after begging to use the bathroom for an hour. They forced her to wear a diaper. Nearly all of us were given the same dose of Zoloft no matter what our mental health issues were or how much we weighed. We did nearly all the house chores, yard work and animal care. We were all given the same portions of disgusting food. As a very small kid, I felt sick daily from overeating but most of my friends were left hungry and stole food.

I begged my parents to take me home for months. I recently learned that they were told I would make up lies about abuse and to ignore me.

I became brainwashed. I fully believed that the staff wanted to help us and we were going to get better there. I opened up just enough that they thought I was honest but not so much as to be kept there longer. I did the work they gave me. I tricked them into thinking I was no longer suicidal. And I got out.

It has been a few years. I’ve worked on my trauma and I know I can’t stay silent. I talked to kids who got out as recently as six months ago and somehow, it has only gotten worse. My friends and I are taking action. We’ve reported Moonridge for child abuse and medical neglect. Hopefully the police and social workers will shut down the school or at least revoke their license.

I’m burning with anger and Moonridge only added gasoline to my fire. But I’m going to channel my anger into productivity. I will do what I can to stop them from hurting any other child. They don’t deserve to claim they’re helpful and supportive and caring. They nearly killed my friends and now I’m scared to fall asleep at night because I have nightmares so bad that I wake up hyperventilating. They manipulated my parents and abused me. I will not let them get away with it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my rant. If you have advice on reporting abusive programs, feel free to let me know. We survived. They don’t get to control us anymore.


It doesn’t sound like a fun place to be as a teenager



About Rotsne

Danish immigrant, but very integrated. After having worked for another research center, I have recently started working for International Culture Exchange where I serve the youth and their families wanting to become an exchange student.

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