Pohjolakoti located in Muhos, Finland is a group home controlled by the organisation Nuorten Ystävät. They run a number units for the child welfare authorities, people with special needs and people in need of social rehabilitation and employment. They also control some private schools and clubhouses.
The Pohjolakoti group home became a subject of investigations back in 2011 when it was revealed that they had detained children in prison cells. Also the use of restraints was criticized. While the investigation did not result in any criminal conviction, it forced the facility to make changes in its policies.
However it could not have been fun to be there as a teenager before the attention by medias forced the changes to be made.
- Nuorten Ystävät (Wikipedia)
- Has anyone heard of Pohjolakoti in Muhos, Finland? (Reddit r/TroubledTeens)
- Syyttäjä ei nosta syytteitä yhdestä Muhoksen Pohjolakotiin liittyvästä rikoskokonaisuudesta – viisi kokonaisuutta yhä syyteharkinnassa (Kaleva – in local language)
- Poliisi sai valmiiksi Muhoksen Pohjolakotia koskevan esitutkinnan – syyttäjälle siirtyy seitsemän epäiltyä rikosta nuorten huonosta kohtelusta (YLE – in local language)
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)
862. Wolston Park Hospital
The Wolston Park Hospital located in Queensland housed mentally ill between the 1950’s and 1980’s. Reports in local media mention the children were exposed to repeated rapes, sexual assaults – by both staff and adult patients – torture, chemical restraints, cigarette burns, fear, isolation and degrading humiliation.
Today it is known as The Park Centre for Mental Health – hopefully it is managed in a different way.
It is safe to state that it could not have been fun to be there as a child.
- Harrowing stories of rape, chemical restraints and humiliation (Brisbane Times)
- Mental asylum mass exhumations and missing remains: the tale of Wolston Park’s lost and forgotten patients. (The Bottom Drawer Book)
- Wolston Park victim: ‘I got them to believe I wasn’t mad’ (The Queensland Times)
775. Wood Creek Academy
Wood Creek Academy located in Thompson Falls, Montana is mentioned in an article about use of isolation in private treatment program. While the state does not use isolation much due to the emotional damage isolation can caused, there seems to be no rules regarding use of isolation in private so-called treatment programs.
In the article it is stated:
The most recent inspection, which was conducted in response to a complaint, found that “alternate meals” — oatmeal, powdered milk and an apple — are served to the boys as a form of discipline. When kids want to run away, staff said articles of their clothing are taken away as a deterrent.
“For example, a participant’s pants were taken away when he tried to run away,” a staff member at Wood Creek told inspectors. “Staff also stated if a participant is placed in separation for bad behavior, he has to shower outside using a hose and tarp for privacy.”
31 runaways from Wood Creek has been reported during the last 10 years.
It cannot be a fun place to be as a teenager.
Former students describe isolation, physical punishments, ‘cuddle puddles’ (The Missoulian)
September 2021 it was announced that the facility will close
Another Montana therapeutic boarding school closing (Westport News)
An article confirms that the facility was not penalized for the severe violations of the laws but that they closed down in the end
- State Laws Aim to Regulate ‘Troubled Teen Industry,’ but Loopholes Remain (Kaiser Health News)
762. Ranch for Kids in Rexford
July 2019 newspaper articles showed that the authorities had removed 27 children from the facility after an investigation. The reason for the action of the authorities were quoted to be “consistent and chronic allegations” of medical neglect and physical and psychological abuse. Some of the points mentioned in articles were:
- Children were hit, kicked, body slammed and spit on by staff members.
- Staff members inflicted “persistent psychological abuse” on children, including prolonged isolation.
- Children were forced to go on 15- to 20-mile “disciplinary walks” on remote Forest Service roads in harsh conditions.
- Food was withheld from children.
- A nail gun was shot at a child.
If the investigation stands, it is safe to state that it cannot be fun to have been there as a teenager.
The ranch is mentioned in a article about the use of isolation. Read: Former students describe isolation, physical punishments, ‘cuddle puddles’ (The Missoulian)
727. Grace Road Church
Grace Road Church is run by a woman from South Korea. She has detained a number of followers on Fiji. There they are forced to work all day long preparing them for alleged disasters to come. Members are encouraged to inflict violence against family members.
There are no real schooling for the children. It cannot be fun to be a child in that environment.
- ‘I lost my entire family to a cult’: How one woman escaped Grace Road (BBC News)
- South Korean ‘cult’ leader arrested after congregation ‘trapped and beaten’ on Fiji (The Telegraph)
- Korean Community in Fiji raise concerns over Grace Road Church saga (Fiji Broadcasting Commission)
580. All Saints Academy, Plymouth
The All Saints Academy was founded in 2013. As a private religious based school they have their agenda. However the state also have theirs and it is to secure that schools in the country deliver a good quality and the Ofsted inspection found that the school didn’t deliver. Especially the quality of teaching was too variable and teachers’ expectations of pupils were too low.
Teaching the students the bible and exclude parts of the evolution history which does not fit what the bible claims does not ensure good quality.
However the schools have not addressed this. Instead they focused on punishing the understimulated students isolating them for 24 academic hours and sending them home with proper communication to the parents. Does that improve the student material? Of course not.
It cannot be fun to be there as student. There are properly other schools in the area. The parents should move their children away from this school.
573. Columbia Training School
Columbia Training School closed in 2008. It was about 100 years too late because the treatment the girls received sounded more like something you could have found 100 years ago. Some of the offenses which resulted in the placement of the girls were not real offenses like truancy. Truancy is a school problem, not a student problem. If the school provide an interesting method of education none should punish the children for staying away.
Danish high schools have friday bars so the students can drink beer just to keep them in school.
Anyhow once placed at the reform school the teenage girls could be placed in shackles, isolation or forced to trade in sexual favors just to make life something to survive.
It could not have been a fun place to be.
- Columbia Training School Removes Last Girls (Jackson Free Press)
- Sex abuse, violence alleged at teen jails across U.S. (CNN)
- AP: 13K claims of abuse in juvenile detention since ’04 (USA Today)
565. Stillwater Academy
Stillwater Academy located in Utah were in the years 2002-2004 the center of the media interests because they held artist Alex Asch detained on the orders of his parents who didn’t understand the concept of life his choice of life as an artist included.
Forced to take medication, cut off from the surrounding world, isolated from the life back home with friend and censorship of his work were just some of the things he experienced. He was released in 2004.
Just Call Them Crazy: Alex Asch on Forced Institutionalization from minor compositions on Vimeo.
It cannot be fun to be locked up as a teenager just because you do not share the same values of life as your parents.
- An activist gets kidnapped and subjected to brainwashing at Stillwater Academy Turnabout in to treat a “disease” ODD. ODD is defined as evidencing the symptom of “questioning authority” (Reddit)
- Just Call Them Crazy (Alternet)
- For you Utahns, Stillwater academy/Turnabout ? OT (Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum)
- Tough love thuggery under Jesus’ loving hands (FreethoughtBlogs.com)
- Nicolette’s story (BreakingCodeSilence)
561. Bernstorffsminde Efterskole
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)