870. Little Keswick School

The facility was founded in 1963 as a summer camp but transitioned into a year around facility marketed as a therapeutic boarding school.

In 1990’s the approach towards the children were modelled into a strict behavior modification program with 4 levels. The results was a number of cases where the children ran away and were restrained just to prove strength in a powerstruggle between children and the employees.

March 2021 one of the buildings called “The Barn Center” burned to the ground.

The Feedbacks from former students are not positive. On Reddit one former student wrote:

Unfortunately, the experience was nothing short of traumatic.

There was so much that happened that I won’t be able to do other survivors justice, but I’ll do my best.

There was a hyper-regimented structure that broke down all the actions into components of “the program” (a proxy for following their system that was essentially absolute obedience to authority figures such as parents, on their terms). The program was a level system, which was in turn governed by a “point sheet” (each 45 minute period was overseen as a block, and you were rated on how you did. The net total of your periods determined your daily score, which in turn collectively determined your week, etc. The levels came with increasing privileges (such as being out of staff supervision and increased prestige), but they were obtained by following exactly what the therapists mandated. My therapist was particularly sadistic and was a major factor in my self-hatred, which has taken me years to effectively overcome. The overarching ethos was to “break” (they considered it reform or instruction) each student through constant pressure; this was tailored by the therapist and the lead teachers and dorm staff for that student’s unique profile. For example, if a student liked video games, they would use specific tactics to curtail video games in order to instill cooperation (admittedly, some of them were genuinely addicted, but it was abhorrently dehumanizing throughout). Not a single student had a voice. Not one. The specific tactics were abusive restraints (the staff were very aggressive with their restraints in both usage and function), tricking parents into thinking the school was a beneficial component, and the standard tactics you and many of the members of this subreddit are all too familiar with. The only noteworthy exception was that social pressures weren’t sanctioned by staff the same way they were elsewhere.

It is telling that of the 4 years I was there, only 2 students that I can remember were actual “success stories”, one of whom got into an elite STEM college (I forgot the name), while the other one is in school to be a social worker (I hope he didn’t get gaslighted, as he was a stellar human being.

I’m sorry that you went through treatment centers/therapeutic schools of any kind. They wreak havoc upon nearly everyone who comes through them.

Hopefully this description is beneficial.

Another student wrote:

Holy shit this was my first program, I went for a year or so back in July 2015 to mid 2016. It was hell, I had a similar reaction once I was there and I have a lot of stories about that place, and I friend I had there who stayed after I left and I saw again recently who said it got only worse since I left (they banned Pokémon cards despite it being the one thing most of us found solace in, it was when I actually learned how to play and really got into it as well. Oh the joys of playing it with house mates in Jefferson on weekend mornings before staff woke up. I hated that place but it had its moments where I could mentally escape for a bit). I was on Green Sheet A LOT and tried to escape a few times (they have a alarm for staff when the doors open at night, so I never got much farther then the road near the cafeteria or maybe the nearby post office, where they publicly restrained me as well!). I got locked in the same room as well for a long time, with nothing but some random sleeping bags and a wall board I fiddled with to keep my mind active. A few times I didn’t want to go to school with the dress code of khackies (sensory issue, they are uncomfortable as hell and feel restrictive. They probably did it to keep us from moving too fast now that I think about it, or too look nice for school photos that they took without my permission and I kept taking down on the board with photos they had, ones with me I mean). I got sent to that room because of the pants rather then, I dunno, letting me just wear sweat pants or even uh maybe just letting me stay in the dorm or just NOT LOCKING ME IN A SECLUSION ROOM. Yeah but I have quite a few stories about that place so if you want someone to talk to about that more obscure place then I’m all for it. While most programs are in Utah there are others outside it people don’t talk about as much like LKS.

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


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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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