I recently watched a documentary called “Kidnapped for Christ” which is about the now closed Christian Boarding School/Rehabilitation Center/Reform School for Troubled Teens named Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic. When I was in the church I had heard of these types of schools/camps but had always thought that they were a myth. It turns out that they are not.
Kids, with the consent of their parents, are kidnapped in the middle of the night. People, complete strangers, bust into the child’s room in the middle of the night and force them to get dressed and pack a bag. They are then restrained and taken to an airport and put on a plane to an unknown destination. In this film’s case, the Dominican Republic. Kids are sent there, at the cost of $72K per per year, for reasons ranging from mental health issues (referred to as rebellious/troubled behavior) to homosexuality. They are then entered into a program built around culture shock, forced hard labor, mental/emotional abuse, and of course indoctrination.
The part of the program that I found most shocking was the way that the children were disciplined. A daily structure was in place that was almost beyond military standards. Beds had to be made a certain way, with the corners at 45 degree angles, the turn down had to be a certain width, shoes had to be stored and ordered in a precise manner, clothes had to be hung and folded with absolute precision, and their attitudes and demeanor always had to be in the utmost likable form to the councilors. If they were not, this was a detractor to their “points”. Points earned the students a certain “Level” and depending what level you were on determined what privileges you had. The lower the level ( as low as 0 ), the more restrictions, including limited bathroom time and social interaction. Punishments that were handed out during the day were forced manual labor, forced exercise (such as push-ups and squat thrusts) and physical punishment in the form of “swats”, which was being spanked with a large wooden paddle.
Of course on top of all of this was the emotional abuse that was suffered since all of these kids were basically being told that their feelings didn’t matter, their parents were ashamed of them and their behavior, and that they just needed to get “right with Jesus” because they were wrong in the eyes of g-d. However, the ultimate punishment was “The Quiet Room” where children were locked in a small room with a thin mattress and no blanket, and left there for days. Both current and former staff confessed that children were abused in the past in The Quiet Room. One ex-staff member in the film described the screams she heard coming from there one night when 5 staffers beat a student.
The film focuses on the story of one child who turned 18 while in the program and how it took the US consulate and a US Federal Judge to get the guy released. Even after he was home his family continued to berate him for his “troubled behavior”, and also threatened to sue the filmmaker if she (an evangelical christian herself) ever released the film. 2 years later, the film was released and this story was told to the public. Since then the school and the parent company has closed and the land was donated to a new
ministry company called Lifeline Youth and Family Services. The school was renamed “Crosswinds” and the CEO of the company went on a huge PR campaign to undo the damage done by Escuela Caribe. Even though he kept on 5 of the members of the former school’s staff.
Here’s the scary thing. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these schools all over North America and a few abroad. None of these “schools” are not regulated federally or by any governing entity despite some being accredited by state programs to receive state and federal funding.
We are a Freeway Accredited School through the Indiana Department of Education…
Some states actually have voucher programs that will assist parents that qualify to send their children to these places. Which means taxpayer money is directed from public schools and used to pay for kids to be sent to these programs. I am not OK with this.
So, where are the laws that prohibit this from happening? Surely all of this is illegal right?
Legislature called the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2013 has been introduced 4 times and has yet to actually make it to the floor for a vote to be passed. So, it is perfectly legal to have you kid kidnapped, abused, neglected, and brainwashed here in the US. These are/were state sanctioned programs in the former Soviet Union and currently in North Korea. Since 1970 (Yeah, these have been going on for awhile) over 150 children have died from these programs here in the U.S and according to the film, Forbes magazine estimates that the “troubled-teen” industry is worth almost $2 Billion a year. I couldn’t find that particular article; however I did find an article in Forbes regarding a LaVerkin, Utah-based group known as the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP), which markets the schools under the name Teen Help. According to that article their yearly revenue was $30 million. With hundreds of schools/programs like these, I think that $2 billion is completely plausible.
Despite the US Government’s inability to do anything about these heinous programs, there are multiple groups that are rallying against them. One of which is SIA, the Survivors of Institutional Abuse, they are a non-profit advocacy group on a mission to stop institutional abuse and empower its survivors. According to their site, the number of deaths from places like Escuela Caribe are at 300. There are survivor stories on their site and all are as troubling as the film I watched. Like this film, these stories moved me to tears. I honestly think that these parents that sent their kids to these places should be brought up on child abuse charges.
These people want to please an invisible non-existent imaginary friend and go by the words in a book of stories and empty promises. So instead of using their fucking brain and thinking, they get lead by some other delusional fucktard into believing that the only way to “fix” their kid is to have them kidnapped and taken away to points unknown and handled by strangers and that this will all be overseen by the imaginary friend in the sky and taken care of and that their child will come back to them in the “perfect condition” that they are imagining that they should be in.
And they think that the kid is the one with the problems.
And how is this all justified in their minds?
“People who are not Christian will not understand how this all works.”