In the media the camp is mostly known because an employee is on the death row for killing her husband for insurance money and the building being used by a professional scammer after classes are over.
Angel Gate Academy were marketed as remedial math and science classes. However it is just a boot camp where the teenagers are subjected to yelling and screaming by the employees. The boot camp is administered by California National Guard troops who are neither qualified teachers nor given any background screening to protect the children from the possibility of abuse or neglect.
It cannot not be fun as a teenager to be subjected to this treatment when the marketing is telling another story.
Back in the 1975 South Vietnam was about to fall due to attacks from communists in North Vietnam. The peaceful democracy would not exist longer and in this chaos a Danish journalist Henning Becker sought to save about 200 children from his private founded orphanage, he created back in 1967 when he saw many children suffering as part of the awful aggression from North.
So he arranged for temporary visas and a plane. In Denmark the Danish authorities never had experienced such an arrangement before, so very fast they arranged for the children to be placed in empty buildings which two decades before had housed the infamous Kellerske Anstalter (detention centers for men and girls with too much appetite for sex and relationship, who were sterilized before released to the society. The girls facility is listed as number 153 on this blog, the boys facility number 247).
While the children were happy to be in safety from the war, the Danish authorities struggled with their future. Could they send the children back so they would be tortured and raised as communists? (Before the second world war, the Danish authorities saw no problems sending jews back to Germany). Could they provide the children with Danish passports and raise them as Danes?
Problem is that no families in Denmark live together with 200 members and almost everyone of the children saw Henning Becker as their father. The uncertainty of their destiny began to take the toll on the children. Some tried to escape the island and one boy downed. It could not go on.
So the Danish government issued Danish citizenships to all the children. Now they just had to see how the children could be integrated into the Danish society. The minister Eva Gredal took action. With help of the police the children were forcefully removed from the control of Henning Becker and placed in foster families and group homes all over Denmark.
Despite this hardship the religious values the children possessed enabled them to build their future in Denmark. Most of them live in Denmark today. Not fully integrated because while they were separated, they were still allowed to write each other and once they became adults they moved together in small communities in Denmark. So they learned to co-exist. However some of them left Denmark for other European countries because they believed, that they were robbed from their parents twice. First as result of the war in Vietnam and then by the Danish authorities, when they were removed from Henning Becker who had become their new parent.
The lesson learned by the Danish government was not ever to take children to Denmark alone. Today in the year 2021, small children born by parents with Danish passports remain in refugee camps in Syria because their parents fought for ISIS. “We do not want future terrorists to come to Denmark” the Danish politicians say. Some of the children are only 3 years old. How can the Danish politicians predict their future now?
So overall it is bittersweet story to read about the Becker children. On the surface a success-story, but both its legacy and the hardship they faced in the hands of the Danish authorities, is hard to read about.
It could not have been fun to be among the 200 children, who came to Denmark in 1975.
The Gordonstoun School has the infamous reputation that it inspires the concept of wilderness therapy in the United States which is a concept which have claimed the lives of many teenagers. The founder Kurt Hahn had a misguided vision of what modern people can endure
Beside that Gordonstoun School is also know as a place where rape and child abuse took place. Prince Charles did apparently not remember the school for many good memories but at least he had personal to ensure his safety so he did not fall victim for some of the more cruel things which happened to other students.
It is safe to say that the school for some was not a fun place to be as a teenager.
- Rape, child abuse and Prince Charles’s former school (The Guardian)
- Gordon School: Abuse inquiry hears pupils suffered at the hands of staff and fellow boarders (The Scotsman)
- Author who made shocking claims of abuse at Gordonstoun school flooded with support from ex-pupils sharing horrific experiences (Daily Record)
Christchurch’s Christ’s College is located in Christchurch, New Zealand. Recently the media has exposed a system of fagging in use up to the mid-1980’s. Also mentioned is the use of corporal punishment and an investigation into sexual abuse in the early 2000’s.
Most of the corporal punishment was metered out by senior students with little or no supervision from the management.
It could not have been fun to be there in the old days as a teenager.
- Christ’s College students ‘treated like slaves’: School’s cruel past surfaces as bullying victims step forward (Stuff)
- Christ’s College apologises to old boys who suffered abuse (Star News)
- Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry: Christ’s College cases could be at least 80, Bishop says (New Zealand Herald)