Books2021-08-01T14:12:59-07:00

BOOKS

A Clockwork Straight: Rehabilitation, Thought Reform and the Destruction of Minds – By Wesley Fager – This is a story about organized child abuse in the western world on a massive scale,  maybe in excess of 50,000 kids involved.   It’s about convincing affluent white parents that their child will die without the services of a juvenile drug rehab program called Straight (and in some cases one of its abusive follow-on programs).

A Life Gone Awry: My Story of the Elan School – By Wayne Kernochan – Book Description When Doctor M. Scott Peck suggested Elan to my parents I was skeptical because the first program he sent me to was a drug program, and I had never done drugs. He said it wasn’t, and that Elan treated teens with emotional problems. He told me that Elan had psychiatrists and counselors, and activities, so I agreed to go. What I witnessed was unbelievable. Elan was an insane asylum, run by the inmates, and Joe Ricci was God. For more than thirty years I told people I had been in prison, rather than the truth of what happened there. After you read this book you will understand why.

Abandoned – By Susie TenEyck – Abandoned details a true story of surviving a government-funded, experimental, behavior-modification program that used highly-refined techniques compared to North Korean brainwashing in America. Susie survived this egregious child torture cult, narrowly escaping with her life. She became trapped in a cycle of tumultuous relationships for decades. Embracing hope, she sifted through the muddy waters, unveiled the skeletons lurking in high-ranking political closets, and emerged as a victor. After discovering branching carbon copies of this terroristic cult and mind-control program, she connected with other survivors. As a trauma survivor, she found meaning and purpose as a worldwide special needs advocate and received international acclaim as an award-winning author with many distinctions. Her campaigns against institutional abuse, family violence, and bullying reach millions.

Alacrity: My Saga of Survival – For years, Skye tried to escape the abuse of her wealthy, influential family. Long after disappearing, her battle continued. Skye appeared to live the perfect, privileged life of a physician’s daughter. When she turned 13, she began to realize something was terribly wrong about her circumstances. In heartbreaking detail, Skye shares the extreme escalation from medications to numerous abusive institutions to ensure her silence. Silenced with her father’s reputation and influence, Skye shares her struggles to get to safety, fighting into adulthood to extricate herself from the grasp of a powerful man at all costs. Skye recounts her descent into drugs and trafficking, surviving a Michigan homeless shelter as a teen, and beating the odds to join the Air Force. As she enters training, Skye struggles to find support or belief from her wingmen and must fight to keep her place and her clearance. Moved from Florida to Texas, Michigan, Idaho, and Montana, Skye boldly shares the heartbreaking state of the pediatric pharmaceutical industry, the caveats of powerful parents, and the paradox of the missing child’s voice into adulthood.

An American Gulag: Secret P.O.W. Camps for Teens – Desperate Parents, Troubled Teens. Tragic stories of desperate parents, the choices they made, and how you can avoid making their same mistakes

Beyond Therapeutic: A Story that is Both Shocking and Inspiring – By Paula Rudy – Book Description: Was it my destiny or chance that I would again be confronted with a cult organization in the fall of 2016? That hysteria and retribution would follow?

Boot Camp – In the middle of the night Garrett is taken from his home to Harmony Lake, a boot camp for troubled teens. Maybe some kids deserve to be sent there, but Garrett knows he doesn’t. Subjected to brutal physical and psychological abuse, he tries to fight back, but the battle is futile. He won’t be allowed to leave until he’s admitted his “mistakes” and conformed to Harmony Lake’s standards of behavior. And there’s no way to fake it. Beaten, humiliated, and stripped of his pride, Garrett’s spirit is slowly ebbing away.

Boy Erased: A Memoir – By Garrard Conley – The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.

Breaking Their Willing: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment – By Janet Heimlich – This revealing, disturbing, and thoroughly researched book exposes a dark side of faith that most Americans do not know exists or have ignored for a long time-religious child maltreatment. After speaking with dozens of victims, perpetrators, and experts, and reviewing a myriad of court cases and studies, the author explains how religious child maltreatment happens. She then takes an in-depth look at the many forms of child maltreatment found in religious contexts, including biblically-prescribed corporal punishment and beliefs about the necessity of “breaking the wills” of children; scaring kids into faith and other types of emotional maltreatment such as spurning, isolating, and withholding love; pedophilic abuse by religious authorities and the failure of religious organizations to support the victims and punish the perpetrators; and religiously-motivated medical neglect in cases of serious health problems. In a concluding chapter, Heimlich raises questions about children’s rights and proposes changes in societal attitudes and improved legislation to protect children from harm. While fully acknowledging that religion can be a source of great comfort, strength, and inspiration to many young people, Heimlich makes a compelling case that, regardless of one’s religious or secular orientation, maltreatment of children under the cloak of religion can never be justified and should not be tolerated.

Chasing Pleasure With Pain – Haywood Robinson was just seventeen when she was sent to a behavioral modification program in Montana-a horrible and painful experience. This raw and emotional memoir chronicles Haywood’s struggles with mental illness and her lack of a diagnosis until her thirties. It fearlessly tells of her experiences with toxic relationships, abortion, love addiction, eating disorders, and attempted suicides, and outlines her difficult climb back out of the darkness toward recovery. She wants readers to truly understand the agony of mental illness and the many difficulties people with mental illness go through every day of their lives. She hopes parents who read this book will consider dealing compassionately with their child’s mental illness rather than resorting to a program that uses attack therapy and brainwashing…because those experiences usually do far more harm than good. Lastly, she wants people like herself to know they are not alone. That their feelings are valid and they are important.

Dead Inside: They tried to break me. This is the true story of how I survived – By Cyndy Etler – I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, or a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the staff at Straight. I was thirteen when I ran away from my abusive home. After a month in a shelter for kids–the best month of my childhood–my mother heard about Princess Di and First Lady Nancy Reagan’s visit to this place that was working miracles with troubled teens. Straight Inc., it was called.

Dead, Insane, or In Jail – The Dead, Insane, or in Jail memoir series tells Zack Bonnie’s story of his years at the Rocky Mountain Academy (a CEDU school) in Northern Idaho in the late 1980s. Tricked into going there at age fourteen, Zack ran away after several weeks, only to be returned there later that summer, where he remained for over two more years.

Dead, Insane, or In Jail: Overwritten – By Zack Bonnie – As OVERWRITTEN begins, the bounty hunter and an armed sheriff escort Zack back to Rocky Mountain Academy, six weeks after his escape. This time, Zack changes his tactics and stops overtly opposing the authoritarian program. Some kids crumble under the pressure. Others become “look-goods” who’ll do anything for approval. And young Zack may be kidding himself that he can remain immune to the coercive persuasion and thought control that permeates the place. With coarse, brutal dialog and authentic source materials, book two in this nonfiction memoir series takes the reader deeper into the vortex.

Escape: My Lifelong War Against Cults – By Paul Morantz – From the back cover: The snake stuffed in attorney Paul Morantz s mailbox by acolytes of Synanon, a once-hailed drug rehabilitation center that had devolved into a paranoid, militaristic cult, was an early strike in what would become a 35-year war with nearly every major cult movement this country has ever known. Mr. Morantz has been involved under frequently bizarre circumstances–with such infamous sects as the Charles Manson family, Patty Hearst and the SLA, Jim Jones and the People s Temple, the Moonies and the strange world of Scientology. His efforts have helped many escape from lives of torment and contributed to a sea change in how courts deal with the little-understood issues of brainwashing and cults. Now, in this important and compelling book, Mr. Morantz offers a comprehensive account of the origins and activities of cults and how they prey on society s most vulnerable elements. It also recounts the very intimate tale of how these confrontations with threatening and often, violent forces cost him the woman he loved and nearly, life itself.

From Miracle to Madness 2nd. Edition: The True Story of Charles Dederich and Synanon – True and complete Story of Charles Dederich and his founding of first ever peer drub rehab–Synanon– and turning it into a violent and terrorist cult which in turn spawned decades of abusive cults and therapeutic communities.

Girl Sent Away – By Lynn Griffin – Toby Sedgwick is terrified by his daughter’s increasingly reckless behavior and takes a tough love approach, enrolling Ava in Mount Hope, a wilderness behavioral camp for troubled teens. Ava quickly realizes that the camp is little more than a prison, warehousing and abusing kids for their parents’ money. And after spending a disturbing weekend completing the parent portion of treatment, Toby knows it too. As Ava desperately searches for a way out of Mount Hope, she is faced with resurfacing memories of a family tragedy. She can no longer suppress the pain of what happened to her mother and sister eight years earlier in Thailand. As father and daughter fight to get back to each other, the truth may irrevocably tear them apart.

Gone to the Crazies: A Memoir – Alison Weaver’s privileged upbringing hid the darker undertones of her childhood until her parents shipped her away, at fifteen, to the cultish Cascade School, warping her perception of reality. Upon graduation, set adrift in New York’s East Village in the 1990s, her life began a downward spiral marked by needles and late-night parties. Stumbling into free fall and mingling with fears of death, she was forced to face her darkness. Here is Weaver’s thoughtful exploration of what it means to fight for identity and equilibrium.

Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids – By Maia Szalavitz – The troubled-teen industry, with its scaremongering and claims of miraculous changes in behavior through harsh discipline, has existed in one form or another for decades, despite a dearth of evidence supporting its methods. And the growing number of programs that make up this industry are today finding more customers than ever.

Hollywood Park: A Memoir – By Mikel Jollett – His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

Institutionalized Persuasion: The Technology of Reformation in Straight Incorporated and the Residential Teen Treatment Industry – This is Marcus’s undergraduate thesis, written in 2013 and 2014. His graduate thesis, Totalistic Teen Treatment: A Qualitative Analysis of Retrospective Accounts (2019), is now available in paperback and as a free PDF, online. Institutionalized Persuasion provides new information about the history and dynamics of coercion in residential teen treatment settings. While private sector programs continue to make millions utilizing dangerous yet unregulated methods, adolescents are abused each year in the name of treatment. By addressing the root causes of harm and presenting new strategies for the prevention of institutional child abuse, Institutionalized Persuasion offers a unique perspective on a highly controversial, persistent problem.

Jesus Land: A Memoir – Tells the story of a white girl who was sent from the Midwest to a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic after she and her black adopted brother fought back against the racism and bullying that was directed toward them.

  • Keeping All Students Safe: The Need For Federal Standards to Protect Children from Abusive Restraint and Seclusion in Schools – Restraint and seclusion can impact all students, but reports and studies indicate that children with disabilities, such as developmental disorders and autism, suffer disproportionately from these practices. Although there is a disproportionate use of restraint and seclusion on children with disabilities, reports have also focused on the fact that this is not solely a disability issue, and the absence of documentation and reporting makes an accurate estimate of who is being restrained and secluded impossible.

Mental Health Inc: How Corruption, Lax Oversight, and Failed Reforms Endanger Our Most Vulnerable Citizens – By Art Levine – The mental health system in America is hardly the front-burner issue it should be, despite lip service about reform after each new tragic mass killing. Yet every American should care deeply about fixing a system a presidential commission reported was in “shambles.” By some measures, 20 percent of Americans have some sort of mental health condition, including the most vulnerable among us―veterans, children, the elderly, prisoners, the homeless.With Mental Health, Inc., award-winning investigative journalist Art Levine delivers a Shock Doctrine-style exposé of the failures of our out of control, profit-driven mental health system, with a special emphasis on dangerous residential treatment facilities and the failures of the pharmaceutical industry, including the overdrugging of children with antipsychotics and the disastrous maltreatment of veterans with PTSD by the scandal-wracked VA

New Bethany: Picture Perfect on the Outside, Let Us Take You Inside – By Roger Dean Kiser – Behind high chain-link wire fences; the girls and boys of the New Bethany Schools were brutally and horribly abused for years by a religious group.

Nickel Boys – By Colson Whitehead – When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.

No Direction Home (The Drifter Chronicles) – By Greg Cayea – In 1999, Greg Cayea was sent to Hidden Lake Academy: the most infamous juvenile institution in America touting itself as a “therapeutic boarding school.” The school has since been shut down for the tragic maltreatment of troubled youth, but before that… it was a dark place to be. No Direction Home tells the story of the series of events that landed Greg there, what it was like, and how he adventurously escaped. It starts on the first day of middle school in an upscale neighborhood in Long Island, New York. Greg was labeled the biggest piece of shit in sixth grade because of a few unfortunate circumstances, and there seemed to be no hope for redemption. Then one day everything changed, but it was a bit too late. Greg was on a crusade for vengeance.

Oh the Glory of it All – By Sean Wilsey – When Sean, “the kind of child who sings songs to sick flowers,” turns nine years old, his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend. Sean’s life blows apart. His mother first invites him to commit suicide with her, then has a “vision” of salvation that requires packing her Louis Vuitton luggage and traveling the globe, a retinue of multiracial children in tow. Her goal: peace on earth (and a Nobel Prize). Sean meets Indira Gandhi, Helmut Kohl, Menachem Begin, and the pope, hoping each one might come back to San Francisco and persuade his father to rejoin the family. Instead, Sean is pushed out of San Francisco and sent spiraling through five high schools, till he finally lands at an unorthodox reform school cum “therapeutic community,” in Italy.

Pieces of Victory – By Jeneen Miller – What would you do if you were held captive behind an electrical barbed wire, 12-foot fence without due process? In 1988, Jeneen’s parents used trickery to achieve the ultimate betrayal. Instead of the therapy they promised Jeneen, they turned her over to a prison camp in spite of her self-discipline, excellent academics and responsible behavior. Trapped in Ramona, California without any communication, she was completely cut off from her soul mate. Letters, phone calls and visitors were forbidden. Pastors and staff justified their actions of isolation as a means of extinguishing the evil out of her and other inmates.

Reform at Victory: A Survivor’s Story – By Michele Ulriksen – Reform at Victory is a non-fiction account about author Michele Ulriksen’s harrowing experience in an unlicensed/unregulated fundamentalist Baptist reform school, where the only way home is full conformity. She spends one full year at the locked-down facility, which is located in the California desert. The years are 1986-87.

RUN – By Theresa Pena – Fighting for her life, seventeen–year-old Tessa is coming of age in this thrilling inspirational story documenting her escape from a corrupt tough love drug rehab facility and the long lasting effects of her decision to RUN.

Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began – By Alex Cooper, Joanna Brooks – For eight harrowing months, Alex was held captive in an unlicensed “residential treatment program” modeled on the many “therapeutic” boot camps scattered across Utah. Alex was physically and verbally abused, and many days she was forced to stand facing a wall wearing a heavy backpack full of rocks. Her captors used faith to punish and terrorize her. With the help of a dedicated legal team in Salt Lake City, Alex eventually escaped and made legal history in Utah by winning the right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager.

Stolen Dignity: An Expose of the Troubled Teen Industry – By Andy Hirschfeld – Kids, young kids were force fed raw chicken, strip searched and kidnapped— all under the guise of therapy and it’s 100 % legal. There is an entire industry built on abusing teens that you would not believe happens right here in the United States. It’s been dubbed the Troubled Teen Industry which encompasses a wide range of facilities for ‘bad kids’ including wilderness programs, residential treatment centers, and drug rehab facilities among others. The entire business industry is built atop the vulnerability of the American family. This book is the culmination of a four-year investigation by journalist Andy Hirschfeld.  The book explores the real human stories of victims of this industry and the laws that allow these shocking stories to be 100 % legal.

Stolen: A Memoir – At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever.

Straightling – By Cyndy Etler – She never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, or a stoner, like they told her she was. She was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. Anybody could see that, except her mother. And the Straightlings. At 13, Cyndy ran away from her violent home. She was homeless for a month, which wasn’t all bad…but before she could even learn how to smoke pot right, her mother had her locked up in Straight Inc, a warehouse full of teen savages. On the outside, Straight was a drug rehab. On the inside, it was—it was something else.

Teens in Crisis: How the Industry Serving Struggling Teens Helps and Hurts Our Kids – By Frederic G. Reamer and Deborah H. Siegel – In recent years a dizzying array of programs has emerged to meet the needs of struggling teens and their families-wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic boarding schools, alternative schools, mentoring and court diversion programs, independent living programs, and myriad day treatment and partial hospitalization services. Yet not all of these offerings employ mental health professionals or follow evidence-based treatment protocols. Some programs are licensed and accredited, but many are not, and some use techniques that are highly controversial, even abusive, resulting in injury and accidental death.

The Dead Inside: A True Story – By Cyndy Etler – I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, or a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except for my mother. And the staff at Straight.

The Discarded Ones: A Novel Based on a True Story – By James Tipper – They had many names: Cedu School, Rocky Mountain Academy, and Cascade School. Some called them cults, some said the schools saved their lives. But, none of them were free to leave. Charlie Hoff was there. Soon you will be, too. Unlock the mysteries of The Academy with Charlie as he faces the hardest decision of his young life: escape or assimilate. Neither is going to be easy.

The Dozier School for Boys: Forensics, Survivors, and a Painful Past – By Elizabeth Murray – Some true crimes reveal themselves in bits and pieces over time. One such case is the Florida School for Boys, a.k.a. the Dozier School, a place where―rather than reforming the children in their care―school officials tortured, raped, and killed them. Opened in 1900, the school closed in 2011 after a Department of Justice investigation substantiated allegations of routine beatings and killings made by about 100 survivors. Thus far, forensic anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle and her team from the University of South Florida have uncovered fifty-five sets of human remains. Follow this story of institutional abuse, the brave survivors who spoke their truth, and the scientists and others who brought it to light.

The Game: A Return to the Elan School – By Wayne Kernochan – Book Description: The Game: A Return to the Elan School, is the fifth book of my memoir series, and the story of the first book in this series, A Life Gone Awry: My Story of the Elan School. This book tells the history of the tough love industry from Synanon, to the Seed, to Elan and Straight Inc.as it is revealed to me by survivors in the aftermath of the closing of the Elan School. When I found Danny Bennison trolling an Elan survivor group pretending to be a survivor, the first thing I felt was fear. When the fear was resolved I confronted him and said he was one of Elan’s worst abusers, and that I had written a book about it. Danny and his friends laughed and said I would never find a publisher who would go up against Elan’s lawyers, and I agreed, so I self-published on Facebook and posted chapters as I wrote or edited them.

The Road to Whatever: Middle Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence – By Elliott Currie – In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed sociologist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie draws on years of interviews to offer a profound investigation of what has gone wrong for so many “mainstream” American adolescents. Rejecting such predictable answers as TV violence, permissiveness, and inherent evil, Currie links this crisis to a pervasive “culture of exclusion” fostered by a society in which medications trump guidance and a punitive “zero tolerance” approach to adolescent misbehavior has become the norm. Broadening his inquiry, he dissects the changes in middle-class life that stratify the world into “winners” and “losers,” imposing an extraordinarily harsh culture–and not just on kids.

The White House Boys: An American Tragedy – By Roger Dean Kiser – Hidden far from sight, deep in the thick underbrush of the North Florida woods are the ghostly graves of more than thirty unidentified bodies, some of which are thought to be children who were beaten to death at the old Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna. It is suspected that many more bodies will be found in the fields and swamplands surrounding the institution. Investigations into the unmarked graves have compelled many grown men to come forward and share their stories of the abuses they endured and the atrocities they witnessed in the 1950s and 1960s at the institution.

Totalistic Teen Treatment: A Qualitative Analysis of Retrospective Accounts – This original qualitative research analyzes adult reports about the experiences and impacts of totalistic teen programs. In the United States a wide array of residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness/outdoor, and intensive outpatient programs provide psychological and behavioral programming to “troubled” youth in totalistic settings. These programs are characterized by insularity, autocratic power structures, and intensive group practices. Some individuals may experience genuinely therapeutic responses to such treatment while others may experience a range of negative effects. Although federal investigations and dramatic news reports provide anecdotal evidence suggesting some program types may be problematic, few empirical studies have explored the relationship between program design and quality of life within totalistic settings, and very little is known about the way such programs impact adult development. This research used a purposeful stratified sampling technique to identify interview participants with a wide range of experiences within 25 different totalistic teen programs

Trapped in Paradise: A Memoir – Memoir of the life of a ‘student’ of the WWASP run Tranquility Bay and Spring Creek Lodge Programs. Imagine what it would be like being taken from your home in the middle of the night by complete strangers? ‘Trapped in Paradise: A Memoir’ details the history of a troubled teen and her inner-struggle of being held against her will in the controversial Jamaica facility, with little contact to the outside world. The story details the life of the troubled teen prior to being sent overseas to a controversial reform school for two years. The book has a great depiction of what it is like for a child to grow up with physical abuse, in a family whom also struggled to deal with mental illness. Particularly, obsessive compulsive hoarding addiction, anxiety and severe depression.

Troubled: The Failed Promise of America’s Behavioral Treatment Programs – Each year thousands of young adults deemed out of control—suffering from depression, addiction, anxiety, and rage—are carted off against their will to remote wilderness programs and treatment facilities across the country. Desperate parents of these “troubled teens” fear it’s their only option. The private, largely unregulated behavioral boot camps break their children down, a damnation the children suffer forever.

Unbroken Brain: a Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction – By Maia Szalavitz – More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to, or recovering from, addiction, whether it be alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, porn, or the internet. But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded 20th century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and in equally outdated treatment. Challenging both the idea of the addict’s “broken brain” and the notion of a simple “addictive personality,” The New York Times Bestseller, Unbroken Brain, offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addictions are learning disorders and shows how seeing the condition this way can untangle our current debates over treatment, prevention and policy. Like autistic traits, addictive behaviors fall on a spectrum — and they can be a normal response to an extreme situation. By illustrating what addiction is, and is not, the book illustrates how timing, history, family, peers, culture and chemicals come together to create both illness and recovery- and why there is no “addictive personality” or single treatment that works for all.

We Can’t Be Friends: a True Story – By Cyndy Etler – High school sucks for a lot of people. High school extra sucks when you believe, deep in your soul, that every kid in the school is out to get you. I wasn’t popular before I got locked up in Straight Inc., the notorious “tough love” program for troubled teens. So it’s not like I was walking around thinking everyone liked me. But when you’re psychologically beaten for sixteen months, you start to absorb the lessons. The lessons in Straight were: You are evil. Your peers are evil. Everything is evil except Straight, Inc.

Whiteout – By Lathrop Lybrook – Description: At the age of 16, I was told to be ready to be picked up at 4:00 in the morning by two strangers who would be taking me to boarding school in northern Idaho. I had spent the last week on the Adolescent Unit at Northside Hospital in Thomasville, Georgia. I had been brought to Northside from my home by the police when I tried to walk out the front door to escape my parents during a heated fight. My father grabbed me, threw me against the entrance hall wall, and held me there while my mother dialed 911. I rode in the back seat of the police car to Northside thinking my friends were not going to believe this.

Go to Top