Tag Archive | Aspen Education Group

503. The Oakley School

The Oakley School in the South summit area in Utah was for many year owned by Aspen Education Group but is now under independent ownership.

While it was under AEG ownership it was often used as a step-down placement compared to the more restricted Island View “treatment” center.

Still reports of runaways were reported.

The events which took place during the AEG ownership will be covered by a documentary which currently is in the planning phase.

Also former students describe it as a holding place where the students revert to old ways once they are out.

It cannot be fun to be there as a teenager.


April 2017 update:

The faciltiy announced that they will close during the summer of 2017: The Oakley School announces closing (Park Record)

403. Aspen Ranch

Aspen Ranch was located just west of Loa. Teenagers who arrived there could end up in the basement in orange jump suit just as prisoners but there were often only guilty of taking too much time up from their parents other activities. The program opened in 1995 and closed in 2011.

Aspen Ranch closed when too many teenagers became adult and were able to tell what went on in the many programs Aspen Education Group ran. In her book Sheila Joy writes how new students were scared with the threat of rape by older students.

Various statements found on the Internet speak of a daily life which makes it safe to state that it could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.


2022 update

It has been revealed that a former employee at Aspen Ranch has been convicted based on his relationship with a minor. While the case which resulted in the sentencing of the former employee was not related to Aspen Ranch, it is not known at the present time whether other victims might be around who have been detained at Aspen Ranch.


316. Mount Bachelor Academy

Mount Bachelor Academy was the flag-ship of the soon extinct Aspen Education Group. Based on the CEDU model it was founded in 1987. The therapy system was kind of psychodrama invented by the religious Synanon community.

Modern therapy regards this type of therapy as outdated and potential emotional damaging. At Mount Bachelor Academy they stuck to this old model and as result the authorities closed the school in 2009. Various lawsuits were settled out of court as late as in 2014.

In 1998 a boy died at the facility.

It didn’t sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.


185. Academy at Swift River

Academy at Swift River was planned to be a copy of Mouth Bachelor Academy in Oregon (Later closed by the authorities) which was a kind of development of the program they used at CEDU in California and Idaho.

But the program ran into problems with employees and students from the very start and the entire system was redone. Over the time the owners expanded the program so they could house more students in order to increase profit. In the end it became a kind of warehouse with little place for the needs of the individual students. There were cases of runaways. When the economy went down and more important modern methods were invented to handle at-risk teens at home the program shut down during 2013.

It didn’t sound like a fun program to be in when it started, it didn’t sound like a fun place to be as a teenager later. Fortunately it is now closed.


132. Aspen Family Camp

The idea sounds good. Let us put both the parents and the troubled teenagers on the same hike where they isolated from everyone and anything have peace dealing with their problems.

In reality it isn’t a good idea. The parents who can leave legally any minute complained about the harsh conditions and this constant focus on leaving forced the counselors to deal with that instead of the problems.

The concept was tried during the forth season of “Brat Camp”. One of the teenagers died after he returned back home from problems the program should have adressed. It doesn’t sound like a good place to be for the entire family.


93. Cedars Academy

The school located near Bridgeville in Delaware was open for 3 decades. Already in 1989 it ran into problems with licensing. It was purchased by Aspen Education Group owned by Romney and one of the sponsors of the Dr. Phil show. It closed in 2009.

A student writes:

My Neil Schwartz Abuse
I broke a window thinking it would get me kicked out. It took Neil a half an hour to show up from his house mean while the staff had me sit down which I did until he showed up. When he arrived I was grabbed by my caller and drug down the fifty foot cement path at knee height by Neil Schwartz. By the time I got to the other building my pants and collar were completely shredded with bloody knees and elbows. Neil through me up the stairs into the other building where knowone else was. He jumped onto of me with his knee in my chest so I could not breath while restrain my arm and put his other hand over my face and pressed down then squeezed as hard as he could while screaming “Don’t be a pussy John, stop crying” for no less than 10 minutes. I was crying begging him to stop the whole time. After Neil stopped he told me if I mentioned it to anyone he would call the police on me for breaking the window and it would happen again. By this point I was terrified of him. I walked away with a swollen bloody lip, …scrapped knees, a severe limp, shredded clothes, and emotional scars and nightmares that I still suffer from. The next home visit I told my parents and they didn’t believe me. That night I slit both my wrists and took a bottle of sleeping pills. I woke up in the hospital the next day. Neil Schwartz is really a sick monster and I will never forgive him for what he did to me. -John

Another student states:

I’ve been sent to many terible places by my parents. Ascent and the Cedars academy were the two worst…

since all the abuse is over and I remain a survivor with intolerable trauma from the emotional and physical abuse from both places and Ascent was shut down, I must fight to raise hell for other places like it.

That is why we must tell the Cedars Academy to shut itself down before we the people take a stand!

contact the cedars and show your discontent so no more kids suffer emotional and physical abuse like I did. The founder of the school (Neal Swartz) threatened to smash my head back into a tree because I called him “f—ing fascist scum.” the headmistress (Mary Pauer)waved a knife in my face and tried to supress my left wing ideaology. The staff stood by and let my 18 year old room mate beat me up each day for my political views. (keep in mind I was like 13 and small for my age, an easy target for a coward like him and his accomplices amoungst the staff.) I am 18 now and this horible school is still up and running. We must stop this madness one placement at a time.

Tell that fascist school that censors left wing literature and abuses kids and punishes kids for making attempts at ending their lives (instead of helping them through it) to f—ing close down or we’ll continue to give them hell.

and tell the wankers Petey Earle sent you!!!

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