Højer Design Efterskole is a so-called Continuation high school used as a gap year for Danish students between form 9 and 10 before they either leave the school system for work or continue in Gymnasium (High School). The students stay for a year with about 10 weekends off.
The school was founded in 2008 and is known to have expelled a large percentage of its students. In 2008 only 58 out of 90 students finished the year. In 2009 it was 49 out of 75 students. Some were expelled due the suspicion of have consumed alcohol just because they were in a happy mood (Alcohol is allowed for Danes aged 16 or high as long as the alcohol percentage is below the safe limit of 16.5.
The policy of expelling students seem to continue even this year.
It cannot be fun to be there as a teenager if your cultural origin dictates another way of living.
Mount Carmel Youth Ranch located in Wyoming has a number of incident which seems to have closed them down. We have not been able to locate an active website.
Some of them were:
- April 4, 2001: A 15-year-old ranch resident is seriously injured while using farm equipment without adult supervision. He files a personal injury lawsuit in 2005 alleging negligence by ranch managers. He is paid $1.2 million as part of a settlement that also mandates equipment warnings at Mount Carmel.
- Sept. 11, 2002: Department of Family Service and Park County Sheriff’s Office personnel investigate an incident in which a boy said he was thrown against a wall by a staff member. The staff member said he was lifting the boy out of a chair when the boy threw himself against the wall in an attempt to exaggerate the incident. Police reports note that the boy was moved to a separate facility, but list no arrests in connection with the incident.
- March 5, 2003: Police investigate the theft of a $2,000 saddle kept at the ranch. A police report states that a former ranch resident with “an extensive criminal history for his age” confessed to stealing the saddle.
- Nov. 15, 2004: A 15-year-old boy runs away from the ranch after another boy used a rope to choke him unconscious following a dispute. Police reports note that ranch staff “did not think that anything other than boys’ rough-housing had been going on.”
- Jan. 7, 2005: Sergei Yates, an adult former ranch resident still living in Park County drives to Mount Carmel and picks up another former ranch resident who returned for a visit and takes him to buy marijuana. Upon returning to the ranch, the visiting boy shared the marijuana with resident boys. Yates is later convicted of possession of marijuana.
- May 9, 2005: Police reports indicate a 16-year-old resident of the ranch “is confessing to a murder in Florida two years ago.” Further details of the confession are not available.
- Sept. 18, 2005: After nine days on the job, a sleeping counselor who was the only adult on an overnight camping trip with eight boys, is brutally beaten with shovels by three of the boys, sustaining a serious and lasting brain injury. Seven of the boys steal a vehicle and flee. One boy runs for help.
- Aug. 27, 2006: Ranch staff call police to report a runaway, only to later discover the boy was sleeping in the television room and had been overlooked by staff.
- Sept. 25, 2006: James M. Schneller, a 28-year-old counselor employed by and living at the ranch, is arrested. He later pleaded guilty to one felony charge of prescription forgery to obtain narcotics. Police reports quote him as saying he had a prior arrest for a drug-related offense.
- Oct. 9, 2006: Four boys from the ranch take a trip to a nearby store, with one of the boys driving, because the ranch employee escorting them had no driver’s license. Later that night, they steal a ranch van, money and gas and drive to Oregon. They call the ranch, and are told to spend the night in a motel and wait until staff members arrive to take them back to the ranch.
- Oct. 12, 2006: Ranch owner Gerald Schneider calls police to report that a male named “Jimmy,” who had been arrested recently on another charge, had provided alcohol to some of the boys at the ranch.
- Nov. 11, 2006: A boy from Mount Carmel jumps out of the emergency exit of the ranch’s bus in downtown Cody. He is missing for six hours until located by police.
- Dec. 12, 2006: Matthew Ivey, a 19-year-old former ranch resident living in Powell, is issued a larceny citation by Park County Sheriff’s Deputies for stealing gas from a storage tank at the ranch. When asked why he didn’t lock the tanks, the police report states the director “figured he would just lose track of the keys.” Ivey later pleaded guilty to charges in the case.
- Jan. 18, 2007: Matthew Ivey is arrested and charged with four counts of check forgery. He later pleads guilty to one felony forgery charge.
- March 8, 2007: A 17-year-old ranch resident disables an alarm and breaks into a locked box and steals 50 oxycodone tablets, ingesting several before running away. The boy had recently cut off the tip of his little finger while chopping firewood.
- March 11, 2007: Sixteen days after a boy accidentally chops off his fingertip while cutting firewood, a boy fractures his ankle while using a sledge hammer and wedge to split firewood
- March 30, 2007: Matthew Ivey is arrested in connection with a string of vandalism incidents around Powell involving using a BB gun to break windows in buildings and vehicles. He later pleaded guilty to a felony charge of destruction of property, and received a suspended prison term and five years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay $5,626 in restitution.
It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager and it might explain why they seem to closed.
- Timeline of Mount Carmel Youth Ranch incidents (The Billings Gazette)
- Mount Carmel didn’t fulfill promises to son, mother says (The Billings Gazette)
- Man pleads not guilty to assault of ex-girlfriend (Cody Enterprise)
- Staff list (HEAL-online)
Just because a beercan was found near students at a game in which students from Randolph High School participated, Superintendent Jennifer Fano decided to demand testing of 75 students.
It is difficult to say why a society choose to see alcohol among teenagers as a problem. Sidelining it with drug use is absurd. Alcohol establish a social circle. It is something which brings the students together. In a world where all it takes is for a student to be isolated with a computer watching videos from ISIS aiming at radikalizing the student before we risk bombing or shooting at the school, the very least you want as a Superintendent is a practice which encourage students to remain isolated at home risking them to become a terrorist.
It happened with the Kundby girl in Denmark who was 15 years of age before the police discovered plans of bombing several schools. It has happened to many teenagers who left countries in Europe to join ISIS. Some even returned trained to run people down in the streets or stab them during suicide missions in shopping centers.
If ISIS does not get them, then they sometime join youth gangs. In Denmark a gang war is ongoing and foreign embassies including the Embassy of United States in Denmark now warns tourists walking the streets of Copenhagen so they can avoid being shot down.
When the age limit for alcohol consumption was raised to 21 in the United States, there was no Internet. There was no risk if students isolated themselves at home instead of partying. There was even a future for them. Jobs were not moved out of the country to Mexico and the Eastern parts of Europe. There is fewer lowpaid manual jobs so if you do not have parents who are loaded so they can finance your study the future is not looking bright. What is left then than partying or killing time in front of the computer.
Superintendent Jennifer Fano should have realized that the laws are outdated. In Denmark we do. Teenagers aged 16 can gather in the number of several thousand drinking massive amounts of alcohol without anyone getting killed.
They cannot do it where Superintendent Jennifer Fano is in charge. It cannot be fun to study at this school.
- Dozens of NJ High School Students Ordered to Get Blood, Urine Tests After Beer Can Flies From Bleachers at Football Game (NBC New York)
- Danish 16-year-old girl who was arrested for possessing explosives shortly after converting to Islam had planned to bomb Jewish and public schools, police reveal (The Daily Mail)
- Sober students more likely to drop out (Uniavisen)
May 2017 the boarding school detained a number of students for hours without access to cell phones and banned them from talking to each other due to suspicion of having gained access to tobacco and alcohol which unlike the laws in the general society are banned from using at the school.
The students were not allowed to call in legal representation which put them in a worse situation if they had been arrested by the Danish police. In Denmark even minors have right to legal representation regardless of the type of crime they are arrested for.
46 students were suspended and in the end 16 students were expelled. According to sources several students who had access to the illegal items were not hit at all by the investigation conducted by the school. It might have something to do with the fact that the school focuses on sport and they use former students who did good after their time at the school in marketing. The suspicion is that the investigation only targeted students who were less successful doing their type of sport.
Anyhow without access to legal representation in such cases being confined in isolation it is safe to state that it could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.
Sources (In danish only)
- Børns Vilkår: Efterskole krænkede børns rettigheder (Danmarks Radio)
- Efterskole bortviser 16 efter fund af snus og alkohol (Ekstra Bladet)