902. Asheville Academy for Girls
Asheville Academy for Girls is located on 126 Camp Elliot Rd, Black Mountain, North Carolina. This address used to house Stone Mountain School run back then by Aspen Education Group. The campus was shared with Solstice East.
The target group is younger teenager girls aged below 15 at enrollment.
Some testimonies on Google state what kind of environment the girls are placed in:
If you are reading this, and you are having trouble with your daughter, I just want to let you know that, what your daughter is going through is not forever and while it may be difficult and you are unsure what to do as a parent, the best thing you truly can do is be there for your kid and not expect some program to try and fix your child’s problems. As a young adult woman now.. the problems I faced as a 12-13 year old girl surpassed as I got older and I got through the cruel phases of puberty that all women go through in their lives.
It’s been roughly 5 years since I attended this therapeutic school program. I was sent here in continuation from another treatment center as a way to slowly integrate into a normal school system. This school is set in a beautiful environment, the house where Solstice and AAG was in was very nice and whilst being there, it was going under remodeling so I can only imagine what it is like now.
The biggest problem with this program I can share is, the lack of understanding between the staff and the students. The program was set in a level system where you can earn privileges as you increased in rank. You proceed in your rank by taking accountability, showing respect, leadership, progressing in therapy, and doing assignments, etc. I got to the 3rd highest rank within the program. In this program I felt trapped and I felt very lost. Music was and is my life but for the majority of my time there, my music listening was restricted to 30 minutes per weekend. Staff also put restrictions as to what the students can and cant listen to or read so being my 13 year old self, this only caused me to rebel and look for ways to sneak in my books, and my cds. Music regardless of genre and style or content, is extremely helpful in therapy and I was quite baffled as to how that was considered a privilege? It was the hardest thing about attending AAG. AAG put a new wave of defiance in me with all of the restrictions they put upon the students. No student is one and the same, what one girl may find helpful, maybe different for another. Therapy is personal.
The actual therapy wasn’t very good, I couldn’t relate with my therapist at all and I found that my therapist often rarely worked with me. I would have to send requests but even then, she wouldn’t acknowledge them sometimes. I did Ptsd based therapy but I wasn’t even sure that was the problem, the main problem was that I had no liberty and the only way I could escape or free myself from this institution was look to books and religion. I’d also work with a doctor who would prescribe me medication without my fathers discretion. I can’t even remember all the different kinds of pills they put me on, now today my digestion is messed up from it all, young girls from the ages of 10-14 shouldn’t be taking 60 mgs of prozac or prescribed 20mg of ritalin. Its terrible for their health and any reasonable adult should know that this stuff is not good for developing bodies. I had no say, it was a “doctor knows best” deal, and most typically doctor dont always know best.
I found myself more depressed in AAG than I was before in my everyday life . I was suicidal, I missed my father, and more importantly I felt so disassociated with reality, reality isn’t accountability groups and “I feel statements”, reality is knowing your situation, and learning to make a mistake and take that mistake and learn from it. This school should’ve preached love instead of making these poor girls feel bad about themselves in front of their parents. What those girls wanted was someone to understand them through this confusing and difficult time, and all we truly had was each other. Sisterhood is very real in this place, I am still friends with the girls I met 6 years ago at AAG. They have all grown to be great strong young women.
This isn’t trying to hurt the school, this is just some of the things I experienced while I was here. For some it might be a good fit, but for me, it really was a nightmare.Madeline McKenzie
*to clarify, this is about my experience with AAG, not solstice* My own PTSD regarding my traumatizing experience at this school years ago, has kept me from doing anything as simple as writing this review, in terms of speaking out. Somehow years later, I’m still so fearful of this place that I am afraid to speak out against it, and tell my story. But they don’t have any control over me anymore, they cannot punish me for writing an honest review.
In my and many other’s opinion, this school manipulates parents. Both in getting them to send their kids here, and getting them to stay. If you say anything negative about the school to your parents, they tell them that you are not “accepting” of the fact that you are here, and they make you stay longer. In the years following my stay here, my parents have recognized the many manipulation tactics they used, and have apologized to me for falling for them. Even if you have toured the school, and have had students tell you they are fine and dandy….. trust me. I was one of the students they paraded around during tours. I felt trapped into assuring parents that this school was safe, and was helping me. I feel guilty about that to this day, but I was emotionally trapped and had no choice (at 14 years old).
I witnessed a number of restraints that didn’t need to happen, people being taken to “the basement” for hours or even DAYS, with nothing to do except sit and get even more upset, as punishment. I witnessed a certain therapist scream at a student who was suffering, and the same therapist made fun of me while I was disassociating.
And while we are talking about staff, there were at least two staff members who worked at the school when i went there who, now that I am older, i believe may have been acting inappropriately towards students. in what exact capacity I’m not sure, but personally I know of one former staff member who would tell me and other students about her sex life in order to get us to do our chores, etc.
We were also forced to read “impact letters” from our parents, which stated explicitly why we were sent there, to a large group of other preteens. We could not skip words, and often had peers reading over your shoulder to make sure you weren’t leaving anything out. What purpose it served to be forced to read your parents words in front of the other girls, aside from shame and humiliation, I have no clue. Aside from my own impact letter, it was so uncomfortable for me to have to listen to other girls’ reading theirs, knowing how traumatizing it was. It was also just terribly awkward.
I have many other stories to tell, and I will one day. If anyone in charge this school is reading this, just know that I understand that some of you are well meaning. i get that. But in my opinion, at least a couple of years ago, you are/were not doing it right. This is not the nurturing environment you advertise it to be.
To use the words you so loved to throw in my face when I was there… me choosing to write this review, and in the future, tell my story, is my version of “advocation” and “authenticity”. I WILL advocate for the bettering of institutions like yours, as well as for the people who have been hurt by them. And I WILL be authentic, and eventually, unafraid, in honestly talking about my time here, in hopes to raise awareness and to help myself heal.anonymous reviewer
It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.
- Datasheet about the program (Anti-Troubled Teen Industry Activism & Survivor Support)
- Asheville Academy for Girls – investigation thread (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora)
- Asheville Academy for Girls – investigation thread (Fighting Institutional Child Abuse Network)
- Parent of Survivor, Asheville Academy for Girls 2018 (Survivors stories – BreakingCodeSilence)
- Asheville Academy for Girls (Reddit /r TroubledTeens)
- Asheville Academy For Girls (Reddit /r TroubledTeens)
- Asheville Academy For Girls ( AAG ) (Reddit /r TroubledTeens)