871. Telos Academy

Telos Academy is located in Orem, Utah. Beside Telos Academy there is also Telos U for older teenagers.

The feedback from the students are not that positive. One student wrote:

I initially arrived at Telos Academy in late August fresh out of OpenSky wilderness. Some wilderness context: I was one of the most obedient students at the wilderness I went to, earning the highest promotion called "East" for the good work I did in supporting others and demonstrating good work that I did, I think they told me less than 10% of students make it to "East"

Context: I am an East Asian male who experienced childhood abuse and trauma, and also received lots of racial bullying in elementary school through high school. Something about me being good at bringing attention to myself and not standing up for myself made me a prime target for lots of bullying. I was at Telos to learn how to handle my trauma and to process it in a healthy way, and to also work on severe anxiety/depression.

My time at Telos was very bad.

How they handled COVID:

I spent a total of around 30 days quarantining in my room because of the constant COVID outbreaks, keep in mind the program costs around $10k/month, meaning my parents paid $10k for me to sit in a room and jack off all day. Everyone refused to wear masks, and many of the staff refused with the justification that they already had it or didn't care if they contracted it with no consideration for others. I was one of the <8 students that accepted wearing a mask, and I constantly washed my hands all the time and requested hand sanitizer. The organization of students there is divided into "apartments" with 8 students in each apartment, and 8 apartments on campus. I think my second month there, 5/8 of my apartment contracted COVID-19. They were immediately brought to an external campus to quarantine. The criteria for the students who contracted COVID-19 to return back to the normal campus was to be fever-free for 2 or 3 days and didn't require a negative test to return to campus, this made is so there were lots of people still with COVID in their system coughing without a mask and running around the campus. When I questioned these precations, they said it was what the Telos "nurse" said, and when I questioned the nurse's credentials, I found out they have never even gone to nursing school. This lack of covid precautions made it so there was a never-ending cycle of apartments catching covid. I think there were around 4-5 COVID outbreaks in my 4 months at Telos.

One time I was walking around the kitchen cleaning our apartment and one of my roommates came up to me, lowered his mask, and coughed on my face. A staff watched and just told him to stop. That was it. This student then did it again sometime later, and has also spat in my face right next to staff.

Racism at Telos:

At my apartment at Telos, there was a culture of freestyling where someone would lay a beat down and people would take turns freestyling. In a lot of the freestyles, they would call me a "chink" or a "gook" in front of my face. There were also a lot of anti-Semitic lyrics. The staff every time would just stand and listen, and sometimes giggle. The staff would only intervene if someone said something overtly sexual ("gay" rap bars) like eating/sucking cock or something. My theory is since all of the staff are Mormon (only like a few weren't) and aren't exposed to sexual topics found more motivation to stop sexual remarks than racist remarks. I remember peers in my apartment also teaching one another different slurs to call me. I vividly remember one of them teaching a slur to another one while giggling and looking at me while a staff was sitting on the same couch. My breaking point was when all 8 of us were in a circle along with 3 staff after a meeting and we started a freestyle. Someone said "u/trubledteen" is a chink", twice as he was standing next to me. I sternly looked him in the eye and told him not to say it. Then I sat there hoping that staff would intervene, however, he just continued to say "u/trubledteen" is a chink" multiple times, breaking me and I threw a punch at his gut and I got in trouble. A week later, another student said I couldn't touch the lunch meats in the refrigerator as I was making a sandwich because he didn't want my "dirty Taiwanese hands" to touch them, and told me that this is America and not Taiwan. That remark hit me hard. This was worse because I was known as the "clean" and germaphobe person in our apartment.

Another instance was when a guy in my apartment was bragging about his tennis matches back at home and how if his opponent was Asian, he would call them a chink, and everyone listening laughed and staff were right next to us.

One thing I liked to do there was to play basketball with people. Whenever we chose teams, I was always chosen last, and I knew it was because I wasn't the best, but for some reason, they had to say it was because I was Asian, again the staff were nearby or even participating in the game, and would giggle at these remarks.

A constant phrase that I heard since the first month there was "we hate Asians" or "I hate Asians" or "you are the Asian invasion" or "we don't like Asians around here" (they would always say these phrases straight-faced non-jokingly), peers would also start mocking how Chinese people talked and create their own slurs from it.

Once I moved up the phase at Telos and got more privileges, I was around peers with phones. I remember one roommate would record me on Snapchat and say "I hate Asians" while doing the squinty eye thing (He did this multiple times), in the living room of our apartment. Keep in mind there was staff sitting across from us.

Every time I walked to the fridge, someone would ask if I was getting soy sauce or rice.

When we watched TV in the living room, and an Asian-American or a person of Asian descent appeared, someone would say turn that Asian shit off and switch what we were watching, or throw some other racist joke, staff would giggle.

I once overheard a student advocate for the genocide of Palestinians nonchalantly, and staff just listening and not doing anything

There were multiple students who identified with the proud boys, staff treated this like a political thing and not an objectively immoral thing.

Throughout this entire time, my therapist would tell me I was victimizing myself, and that my sexual jokes (not sexist) were bringing racist attacks toward me (makes 0 sense at all).

A few times, a few people would hit me in the back of the head and mumble under their breath "stupid Asian"

My entire time, I felt like I was treated differently because of the way I looked. I couldn't walk down the hallway of my apartment at busy times without being hit or slapped. One time I was trying to sleep and two of my roommates were clipping their nails and decided to put their trash and clipped nails under my door and treating my room like a trashcan which is why I eventually learned to keep it shut.

TLDR racist attacks and staff would giggle


Telos has a wrestling gym 1/3 the size of our entire gym that no students can use, its the CEO's private gym that he paid for with tuition

constant staff shortage (weird since they were paid 12.50/hr, maybe pay therapeutic workers more than McDonald's workers?), and inexperienced staff members. The lunch they gave us was very subpar, it was always overcooked or undercooked and many students got food poisoning including me

Telos Academy:

The academy was where students went to school, two teachers there were very bad.

For the economics class, the teacher knows nothing. she teaches tax filing wrong and doesn't teach correct information about the stock market. When I called her out on her BS she basically told me to stfu

the computer lab teacher isn't ever engaged, shes also the one that registers people for standardized tests. She forgot to sign me up one time for the ACT, giving me only 1 chance to take the test.

A lot of my problems at Telos were racist problems because I experienced slurs and discrimination like EVERY SINGLE DAY, and that overshadowed a lot of other problems I had with the program.

On January 6th, I ended up signing myself out and getting the fuck out of that place.

Such testimonies are found around the Internet painting almost the same picture.

It does not 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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