Jesse: I’m Jesse Jensen with Breaking Code Silence. On May 24th, 2022, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah state regulators are revoking the facility license from Maple Lake Academy in Spanish Fork because of two cases in which girls detained there did not receive adequate medical care.
One of these cases resulted in the child’s death.
Maple Lake has now posted a letter from the State Department of Human Services on their website, which is dated June 16th and states that Maple Lake is appealing the revocation and as such, they are being permitted to operate on a conditional basis until the appeal process concludes.
The appeal hearing is scheduled for August. We at Breaking Code Silence are working to end institutional child abuse. We have survivors of Maple Lake Academy in our ranks.
We consider this an important moment to share what we know about the harsh realities of this facility. One of those survivors has agreed to join me today to answer some questions about their experience.
Jordyn Krauss was held at Maple Lake for a year and 10 months as a teenager released in July of 2020.
Welcome Jordyn and thank you. Can you hear me?
Jordyn: Yes I can.
Jesse: Can you tell me about when you were first taken into Maple Lake Academy?
Jordyn: So I was taken to Maple Lake Academy in 2018 in September. I had just gotten out of Wilderness. I was 15, and I had heard really good things about the program.
Jesse: Good things?
Jordyn: Good things. Yes, that’s all that was told to me was how amazing the program was, how everyone was just like me, how everything, like, was centered around people who had autism, ADHD. Things related to that. And I was excited to be able to meet others who had similar struggles.
Jesse: Hmm. Can you give me a brief description of daily life at Maple Lake Academy?
Jordyn: Yeah so usually we’d wake up relatively early in the morning. What we do is there are two different breakfast times. The first breakfast time would go out and the other other one would… It’s hard to remember, sorry. It was a long time ago. …Do chores, I believe, or get ready for the day.
We clean our room… No, we would not work on chores. No sorry about that. We would not work on chores. We’d clean our rooms instead. We had room chores, and then we’d have to wait in our rooms until second breakfast began.
We’d all get our meds. The staff were in charge of giving meds. and then we’d do our house chores. The house… we’d deep clean the house multiple times a day even when it really wasn’t necessary.
Chores include sweeping out every area that had that was, like, hardwood. In the kitchen, we’d sweep and mop it. We’d do all the dishes, put away all the food.
Let me think. One of the things… then we’d go to school. We’d go to school, and school only lasted half a dav. School lasted about half a day, and then… sorry, this is a long explanation.
Jesse: That’s ok.
Jordyn: We’d do lunch, and then we’d clean again. The trash, while it is logical that it had to be taken out multiple times a day, because there were so many of us. So that I can understand.
But as… so the all the chores were redone from the morning, even though, like, it barely had… it probably should have been done maybe once. Once, maybe twice a day didn’t have to be done as much as it was, and we were the ones responsible for putting away all the leftovers, wiping down all the counters, dishes again.
But what would always happen was we had a dish sanitizer, and it would constantly flood the tiles in the kitchen, and we’d be the ones in charge of, like, keeping it from leaking and, like, mopping it up. And it was very difficult task, and it made us late to our next activity which we get. And if we were late we get punished for it, like, put on a status.
So that was pretty hard. Dishes especially, because they’d lengthen out the chores, they’d put on more steps and say, “If you’re still late, you have to be on yellow,” which is one of the statuses.
Jesse: And then that’s a kind of punishment is changing your status.
Jordyn: Yes. So, there were three different light statuses. They used red, green, and yellow. Green meant you were all right. You didn’t have to be arm’s length with staff. You could play games, pet animals. There are a lot of animals at Maple Lake. Outdoor ones. Horses, cats. So you could do all that.
If you had check out, you could… you were free to check out for 15 minutes at a time. Like, be alone for 15 minutes at a time outside or in another room by yourself, depending on what type of check out. It could be either to do… you could either have check out to do chores, could only check out with someone who had all their checkout privileges, which is called buddy, or you had full, which meant you could do whatever you wanted.
So green light meant you could check out. Yellow light meant you did not have to be arm’s
length, but you couldn’t play games. You weren’t supposed to, like, be out of line of sight from staff, things like that. You were kind of just… kind of on a warning, and the staff would give you the most ridiculous task to do to get off of yellow.
Like, I remember one time someone accidentally left the chemical out… a chemical went missing from the chemical closet…
Jesse: Mmm hmm.
Jordyn: …And no one knew who had done it. So, they put the whole community on yellow, everyone on yellow, and then they made us do push ups, I think, to get off the yellow status. …Something like that. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure that that was the that was… what they had us do.
Yeah, and probably the worst… This is kind of off topic, but my worst memory there was community yellow shutdown. That happened about a month into my time there just before Halloween.
Basically, what happened was they said the community is a mess. Everyone’s fighting. Everybody’s, like, in a bad place, so what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna lock you all in your… put you all in your rooms. You can’t talk to anyone, we’re taking away all your drawing stuff. All your stuff that, like, you, like, kind of relax with. All your leisurely activity things. And you would just have to sit in your room all day and basically do therapy assignments.
And it was pretty… some of us got off… the people who got off it really quick were the people who were on high statuses. Like, the highest you could get on was Dreams, which you could have your phone. You were pretty much free to do what you wanted. Things like that.
And sorry. I remember the dreams… the people on dreams got off the day of, pretty much, or maybe the day after. Others were on it for a few weeks. I was on it for one and a half to two weeks, because I was still relatively new. But some… I remember other students, about three of them, were put on it for months or in their rooms for months. They were not allowed to talk with us or do anything. It was pretty horrible.
Jesse: They isolated them for months?
Jesse: How old were the children in this group?
Jordyn: Around the ages of like between the ages of like, I’d say 15 to 16.
Jordyn: Maybe 17? That was around how old those three were. The whole age range of the school was about 12 to 17, maybe 18.
But these… this community yellow shutdown. I remember I… and I read this in my records. They actually put this into my, like, into their charting that I had told the staff that I was having suicide… suicidal… Like, suicidal thoughts. And the staff said, “Okay, calm down. We’ll talk to you, just calm down.”
And I did. And then staff told me to stay in my room, and they wouldn’t talk to me. Like, I saw this in my records.
Jordyn: So I found that extremely problematic. Reading back on it when I’m, you know, 19. Reading back on a few years later, it’s extremely problematic.
And community yellow shut down was truly an awful time for a lot of people who weren’t, like, the people who weren’t, like, favored. The kids who weren’t favored were the ones who stayed on. The kids who didn’t suck up, basically.
Jesse: I see. So in… in your time there, did anyone try to escape?
Jordyn: Yes, some people tried to run. I… and I don’t believe that it was… that it was violently handled. I don’t really know. I can’t quite… I was not with the person when they tried to run.
Jesse: Mmm hmm.
Jordyn: I either know that they… that they’d be put in a hold or talked down. That’s my guess. Either talked down… most likely talked down. And then when… what would happen if you tried to run is you’d be put on what they called “mattress” where they take your mattress out of your room, put it on a stand, and like, somewhere in the middle, like, in the middle of the house, basically, right in like the living area… living room area, and then the staff would sit with you all day.
You weren’t allowed to talk to anyone. You had to wear scrubs. And you basically… you didn’t go… you were completely isolated for… could be weeks, could be months at a time.
Jesse: On a mattress?
Jordyn: Your shoes… you couldn’t have shoes.
Jordyn: You’re completely alone except for the staff member that was with you. I never got on mattress, because I never tried to run. I was… too afraid to, honestly. And I didn’t think that it would be a good idea. It wouldn’t be logical for me to do that.
Jesse: Hmm. Ok. Thank you.
So, Maple Lake bills itself as a treatment program and is licensed as such by the state of Utah. One assumes they included one or more kinds of therapy. Can you tell me about the allegedly therapeutic components of the program?
Jordyn: Allegedly. Yes. We had individual therapy. I don’t have any… from individual, I don’t have any, like, bad recollection from that, but l know many others do. Because I tended to get along with my therapist most of the time, mostly because we shared some common interests. But, that wasn’t what… main things… but that wasn’t the kind of therapy that I found very harmful.
What I did find harmful was group therapy and recreational therapy. Two different time slots, but they both happened every day of the week, not on the weekends.
They would have… group therapy was directly after lunch. And every week… three… we’d have, we have each therapist do it. Like, there are three therapists, so we had three group sessions, I think. And then then… one day a week, I don’t think we had it. I can’t quite remember. It’s kind of hard to remember that. How many times we had it a week. Three or four. And on Friday, we did not have it. We just had recreational therapy double.
And in group therapy, what would happen was the therapist would come up and ask if there was anything that someone wanted to bring up. And students would often raise their hands and sit wanting to give “feedback” to… and it’s that word still gives me chills, and I’ll explain why… feedback to another student about their behaviors.
We were encouraged to call each other out, sort of thing. And it often resulted in a lot of… in a whole, like, people bandwagoning on. And I remember that in the community there are very specific people who struggled a lot, and they were kind of, like, scapegoats in a way, and I know that I was one of these scapegoats.
Because I wasn’t just, like… I was called out on my social skills all the time. People thought I had terrible social skills. People thought I was obnoxious. So I could tell… I was told I was attention seeking because I had “poor social skills,” and in group, people would often say… say those kinds of things to me. Like, “I don’t like it. I don’t like you doing this. I don’t like you doing that.” And some of these things were just completely illogical. And a lot of it would end up in screaming matches.
Jordyn: Whenever someone… like, I remember a bunch… a couple other students at the time were also kind of those scapegoats in the community, and they would often get called out as well for different things than me, but they still had their own things going on. And these people were kind of labeled in the community, in a way, like, students were like… like, the whole community and, like, the whole atmosphere of the community was very toxic, in a way. Like, students could call each other out. Things like that. Give… like, that.. ask, “Can I give you feedback?”
I hate that term, because it would end so poorly all the time. End so poorly. And the therapist would, like, keep… like, and this still went on the whole time… every… I’m sure this is still the culture there. That you have to give feedback, you know, constantly. And that’s not helpful if it’s something that you’ve been told so many times. And if it’s something that, frankly, you can’t really help. Like me having not… like, being a little kind of socially awkward and having a hard time. Like, I get it.
Like, you can say, “I don’t like it when you hug me without permission.” I understand that completely. You can tell me that. But if it’s something like, I don’t like how you, like… how you talk to me like you, I’m like, I don’t like how you talk about your interests. I’m like, okay, what do you want me to do about that? Get different interests?
And I get it, like, to an extent. But sometimes it becomes too much. When staff would give you feedback, it’s like, say you’re being too loud right now. Like, you are talking too much. Like, staff would pull me aside and say those things to me all the time, I remember.
And like, that was not that was not fun for me. Especially… and especially when they put me on what they called an “intervention.” They called these interventions because they like they interfere with your life, in a way. Like, they could take away your books. They could make you carry rocks around in a backpack to symbolize, like, how much weight you carry on your shoulders, or whatever.
And for me, they put me on communication block for two months. I was not allowed to talk to anyone for two months.
Jesse: Communication block?
Jordyn: Yes. That meant you were not allowed to talk to anyone, communicate in any way with your peers or with staff. I believe it was with staff. I was… unless I was, like, spoken to, I couldn’t really, like, speak.
That did not do me well. I was really miserable while I was on that intervention, and I stayed on it for multiple months.
And it on… to say the least, it didn’t feel good. It felt like I was an outcast, like I didn’t really belong anywhere. Like I wasn’t worthy of being able to speak. And these interventions were very harmful too, I believe. A lot of people were put on them who were put on different kinds.
I remember I was also put on a book intervention. They take away your books. You’re not allowed to read in the community. They say you read too much, or something like that, and you should be talking to your peers. But, well, I can’t talk to my peers when my peers kind of isolate me and also constantly call me out. You know? They created that toxic environment where you couldn’t really get any space when you were in the community.
Jordyn: And I’m not… of course I wouldn’t name names, but there was one specific student… did not like me at all. Got fed up with me, said I was constantly overbearing. And I can get that, I can be a little… so not everyone can handle my energy, cannot everyone handle everyone’s energy, you know?
But this student began to hate me with a… like, a lot. And she was some… and I can admit that I would sometimes go to rock, but that was because I was angry that I wasn’t… I couldn’t understand why she would hate me so much.
And it got to the point where she would throw things at me sometimes. I remember two instances. One, she threw a notebook at me. It did hit me, but it didn’t really… it wasn’t really harmful. A second time she chucked a metal water bottle at my head. I ducked that time, but that was extremely dangerous.
And we both got punished for it. And I… well, I can admit that I had to run right next to her to get my laptop because she was really angry with me in that moment. She… she… we both got punished, and she should not have chucked her water bottle.
We were both…
Jordyn: …put on red status, which meant we had to be arm’s length with staff, and we couldn’t do anything. We couldn’t play games, we couldn’t, like, pretty much move unless, like, another staff came by and took us with them. And couldn’t touch animals, we couldn’t go off campus when they did off campus trips.
And that was really tough, because I was stuck with her. And what they did to do that… Sorry, we were on the… yeah, what they did was they gave us… they just gave us a whole… they made us clean the whole house one day… to get… just the two of us do the entirety of deep cleaning… deep cleaning, which is a different cleaning than what we did most days, which is even deeper than usual.
Every single task in the house, we had to do it. It’s a huge house.
But we were on the topic of group therapy. l’Il get back to that more later.
Jesse: Mmm hmm.
Jordyn: Group therapy, toxic environments, not fun for me or a lot of others who felt that they were kind of isolated in the community. It was more isolating and more degrading than, like, usual. You know? Like, if some… every… if I or one of those other people who felt that they were, like, the outside community wanted to bring something up, and we’d raise our hands, we were accused of, like, seeking attention or, like, trying to cause drama. Things like that. Yeah, that was group therapy.
It was encouraged by the therapist too. All this kind of thing, that’s kind of calling out sort of thing.
Jordyn: And they could also call you out in the mid… like, in front of everybody in a way. You know? It was insulting, degrading in a lot of ways. Recreational therapy…
Jordyn: So it was run by a different therapist, the recreational therapist. She was… she’s a character, to be sure. She is very harsh. A very harsh woman. She calls it tough love. I believe she cares, but she does not do things in the right way. She can be overly aggressive. Sometimes she called us all little shits a lot.
I remember that she had us often do dangerous tasks that included blindfolds. That was really tough when… sometimes with those really dangerous tasks. I remember one specific task… actually two. One of them was to get off community shutdown was you had to, like, go through all these crazy obstacles, blindfolded, like climbing up on top of, like, farm equipment and over things, all blindfolded, while others guided you with nothing but their voice. So you could really get hurt from that if you misheard something or because you were completely blindfolded.
Jordyn: That was one dangerous task.
Probably the worst one I’d say was when they had… had us walk on top of a… of a fence, a pretty high fence blindfolded and not… in our socks, holding on to nothing but people’s heads for support.
So we’re on top of the fence in our socks and blindfolded, and we were… we had no… we couldn’t hold onto anything except people’s heads who are on the sides, like, on either side of the fence.
Jesse: Was… was anyone hurt during this?
Jordyn: I heard at one point when I wasn’t there that someone did fall, and no one caught them. Because you were supposed to… the point of the task is that the people on the sides are supposed to catch you if you fall, but that was very… that could have been very… a not very good strategy. That’s not a very good strategy to have.
It’s not very safe because you can’t always rely on people to catch you. They could move out of the way. They might be a little nervous to so. They could fall themselves because the mud… there’s a lot of mud around that area. Very slippery.
So that was not a safe… she had to do many tasks that weren’t safe.
She had us tied… we were, like… she gave us like what she called, what we called like handicaps once when we were on an off campus trip, and we were in front of this raging river, like really fast river.
And they had hung, like, all these, like, little flags on the other side and said, “Ok, some of you are going to have your legs tied together. Some of you are gonna be tied to each other.”
And, like, this was, like, a dangerous, like, circumstance, because this river was going so fast and so aggressively. And a lot of us fell. I almost lost my glasses. I scraped my knee. I remember, like, I fell in the river and almost was swept up by it. You know? And that was really dangerous.
Jesse: Certainly. Certainly.
Jordyn: Yeah. So she was… she… I think that she has good intentions. I just don’t think her execution is appropriate. Because she… because she could be very aggressive, like I said. She put us in dangerous situations and a lot of situations that really were painful sometimes. Were actually, like, legitimately painful for people. And I… like, people would often get hurt in these tasks, I remember. And, like, I got like scrapes and bruises and things like that, and I don’t think that’s good execution. So that’s on individual recreational therapy.
Jesse: Hmm. Ok. So, you’ve talked about experiences in recreational therapy and in interventions and… and in group therapy. I… I believe when we spoke before, you had mentioned some of the interventions are very degrading, and you mentioned the communication block, which seems to qualify, for sure. Is there anything else in the the interventions that you either experienced or witnessed?
Jordyn: I witnessed. Yeah, I didn’t… mattress was an intervention, technically, is called an intervention. All the statuses are interventions. I don’t remember every intervention that I… because it was a while ago. The memory… some of the memories are still very blurry.
But I do remember that there was an intervention where you had to carry one person only. Like, there was a different activity where you had to carry around rocks. But like, they actually carried a full backpack full of heavy rocks. This person they were told to carry around a full backpack of heavy rocks for, like, a day or maybe two. And that just seems like it would have been very harmful and very painful. And I don’t exactly remember why they had them do that.
Jordyn: Like, I don’t remember why, but I do remember that they had them do that. Like, two students, I think, had to do that, I remember… my time there. And like, I could see that that backpack was, like, sagging from the weight of the rocks and pressing down on their shoulders. And I don’t know how they felt about it, but I… it was kind of kind of iffy to me. It didn’t really feel right. It didn’t sit right, at the time.
But… let me think. I don’t really remember many other interventions there. There were so many that people were put on. Like, there were so many different kinds… that it’s so hard to remember them all.
They could put… anything could go, basically, for these. Anything.
Jordyn: Any behavior that they saw was harmful. Like you can’t talk about… so you can’t talk about this one specific topic, or you can’t talk about yourself, or… you know, things like that. Or you can’t, like… there are also interventions that, like, somewhat helps kids I guess.
Like, there was a girl there who hated to eat fruit. It made her really sick. And… so she only had to eat one piece of fruit, like, one little, like, chunk of fruit, you know?
And… I’ve heard other… of other interventions happening in Maple Lake throughout our evidence. But I did not witness them, but I do not doubt that they existed. I do not doubt that at all.
Yeah, so that’s… that’s intervention. So basically, they could manipulate how you lived your life in any way, shape, or form. And you had to follow or else you would have been punished.
Jordyn: Oh. I do remember one another intervention, actually. I do remember one. For me specifically, I have this nasty habit where I pick at my skin. I read on later that it’s actually a… kind of a thing with autism where you stim, and sometimes that can be put out in harmful ways.
So I kind of pick at my skin and scabs. And stuff and what they did instead of, like, helping me like, get over that… what they did was say, “If you pick and you’re caught, you get put on red for 24 hours, and this made me nervous and really scared because… and when I would pick and they didn’t see it, I would not ask for a band aid or any medical help and that… does that… and thinking back on it now, at the time I was just, like, trying to kind of live. So, like, I wouldn’t, like, live my life in a way. You know? Trying not to be put on red, trying to keep some sense of consistency. And it really upset me when they put me on red.
I remember I missed this cool science convention that they’re going to take us to. When… but I got put on a picking red and was not allowed to go even though I had signed up for months in advance. So that’s kind of the… that was kind of the catalyst, in a way, for me not seeking out help when I’d been… when I had been bleeding or something, you know?
Jordyn: So yeah, that’s interventions now.
Jesse: Thank you. So I’d like to ask a different question if I could.
Jordyn: Of course.
Jesse: Facilities such as Maple Lake are known for limiting contact with the outside world to their residents, and one of the problems with that is that it’s established that contact with friends and family is vital for recovery, growth, and development.
I’m curious if Maple Lake allowed you a healthy level of contact with the important people in your life?
Jordyn: I’m gonna say no. You got a 20-minute phone call once a week. You could earn a second one after you… you could earn a second one eventually. They were monitored when you get there, and you had to earn to have an unmonitored phone call. You had to earn the privilege to have an unmonitored one, in a way.
If you were on a red status, you’d lose your extra phone call, and you’d only have a 10-minute call with your family that week.
Letters… they had to approve everyone, you wrote every person that you would write, they had to approve that person. So my parents were approved. My… my good friend was approved. My best friend was approved.
Like, certain people were approved and that was good. That was good and all, but you had to… like, your parents had to buy you stamps, or else they’d only give you five a month. Like, the school would only give you five a month if you didn’t have your own stamps, and you had to have your own, like… you had to have, like, your own sort of… sort of, like… no, actually no you did not. Sorry, that was a misunderstanding.
But I… they did go through your packages, I’m pretty sure. Like, they did, like, they, like… you’d open your package, and they just check through the contents of everything and to make sure, like, I don’t know, they’d open your packages sometimes for you. Like, they’d go through them.
Jesse: Mmm hmm.
Jordyn: Which I… like, I didn’t really understand that at the time, but that’s technically not legal to go through someone else’s mail.
Jesse: Mmm hmm.
Jordyn: Yeah, contact was very limited with the outside world. You couldn’t… we did… like I said, we didn’t have phones unless you’re on Dreams, which took a long time to get to, and not everyone got to it.
So you could… unless you went on a pass, and like… or something, then you couldn’t really talk to anyone.
I know that my parents were more lenient when I went on passes. Allowed me to, like, to talk to my friends and go out with them by myself, because I never really was… I never did drugs or drank or anything.
I was just very unhappy before I went to treatment. I just didn’t… I just kind of isolated. But otherwise Maple Lake did not allow contact.
Jesse: Ok. Thank you. Other than the points we’ve already discussed, did you experience or witness child abuse at Maple Lake?
Jordyn: I witnessed holds. Like… like… ways of, like, holding a student in place, restraining them physically. When they would act out or be aggressive or sometimes even very mundane things.
I witnessed one time, I remember witnessing a student who was there early in my time there. Just trying to go up the stairs by herself, and she said, “No.” Like, the staff kept telling her to come down, and she just kept going up the stairs, so they put it… therefore they put her in a hold. And she grabbed the banister on the stairs, and I heard, like, cracking and stuff from the banister.
Nothing really happened, but I… the staff often put the student in a hold for almost no reason. She was never really aggressive. She was just kind of doing her thing. I… I don’t really understand why they’d always put her in these… in these holds.
And what I would notice with most students, if they were, like, really acting out and yelling and things like that… if…the point of a hold is to calm someone down, to hold them in place. Well, what this would do, I noticed that holds often had the opposite effect.
It would scare people even more. It would make them more susceptible to like… to like, strong emotions that would make them really… it would scare them. You know? It would… I found it to be more harmful than helpful.
It was very scary for the whole community when that would happen.
Jesse: Indeed. Yeah, it sounds scary. So let me ask just generally, other than basic nutrition and a bed and bathroom, do you feel that you received any legitimate care during your time at Maple Lake Academy?
Jordyn: Medically… that’s really hard to say. I mean, I was taking… when I had braces when I got there, I was pretty consistently taken to the orthodontist until I got them off. That, I think, was okay.
But other than that, I don’t remember being taken to the doctor for a checkup. I don’t think I was. I don’t remember this entirely, so don’t hold me to that one. I don’t really remember completely.
Jordyn: But what I do know is that a lot of people would get sick from their meds sometimes and, like, what the nurse would say, she was completely crazy, I believe, was like, “Drink water,” is what she’d say.
And my mother told me this. My parents are doctors, right? So my mom told me recently that once she got a call from this nurse, asking my mother if she should give all the students flu shots. Like, legitimately asking if she should give flu shots as though she didn’t know if she should.
Jordyn: She did not know what she was doing. I don’t… I think everyone can agree on that. Everyone I’ve talked to can pretty much agree on that, and she was allowed to stay because she was really good friends with the owners.
I… don’t really recall… I recall that a friend of mine was… like, had bronchitis for a while. Well, not really a friend of mine, but a peer of mine had bronchitis, and nothing was done but given… they were given cough drops really, that was about it.
And this has happened to multiple students actually, like, I’ve heard multiple students say that they had bronchitis while they’re there, and they were only given cough drops. And I remember that the nurse when we’d have a sore throat, she had this expired, like, throat medicine that expired like, a really long time ago, so I never used it myself because it was expired, and I think that that’s pretty horrible and pretty gross to use expired medication.
So yeah. And when… when we were sick, like, if we had the flu or something, most of the time we would just be given soup, like, for every meal when we were on sick bed, not allowed to leave our rooms, could only eat soup and a couple of saltines. Like, if you were, like, showed that you were like… like this is even if you had a cold, but if you showed that you were, like, only had the sniffles or something, they would give you regular meals, but like, you still have to eat them, like, at the doorway of your room.
Jordyn: But a lot of people have told me that they were only given soup even if they were just, like, had the sniffles, basically. They were constantly just given soup, and they were really hungry.
Jesse: Sure. So as far as the psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral care that normally… it seems to be promised by facilities like this. Do you feel that any of it was legitimate?
Jordyn: Hard to say. I feel that… while Maple Lake is a horrible place for many people, and including myself, I would say that… I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t gone there. I don’t know if it would be bad or good.
All I know is that I am where I am right now because of them, in a way, like, when I left there, like, I don’t… I don’t really feel like I was much of a different person maybe. Like, I was more… I guess what they did was they made me more wary of myself, in a way.
Like, I remember when I got back, it was really hard to talk to my peers. Even harder than before, because I was kind of, like, self-deprecating constantly, like, using, like, language like that.
It didn’t prepare me for the real world and, like, real social situations. It didn’t prepare me to have a job. It didn’t prepare me to make friends, just like they said they were gonna do. They didn’t do it.
Jordyn: I did not, I basically have just the same friends that I had when I… when I went there. I have a couple more now of people who are just very accepting in general, but not every… most people think that it’s very strange the way, like, that I would talk. I can see that in the way that they… I interact with them now.
It did not really prepare me… I remember coming home and asking my parents if I could use the bathroom just having to… feeling like I had to ask.
Jordyn: And my like… I don’t know. So I feel like Maple Lake didn’t really do anything for me, in a way. It didn’t change me. All it did was kind of make me… if anything, it made my “social skills” worse.
Jesse: Mmm hmm.
Jordyn: And I had to fix that myself as I, you know, got older, and I only left two years ago. So… do with that what you will. I don’t know.
Jordyn: Yes, on July 24 of 2020.
Jordyn: I was 17. Just turned 17. So I didn’t… I felt like… and I… while I was there, I felt like this is supposed to be the most positive thing in the world, you know? While you’re there to kind of make you feel like this is where you’re supposed to be, you know? And, like, you feel like you have a community when really, it’s just people who don’t really care for me, you know? And I realize that they don’t really care for me afterwards, especially these other students.
They won’t talk to me. They… on social media, they won’t… they talk to each other, but they won’t talk to me in a way, you know?
Jesse: Mmm hmm
Jordyn: So what Maple Lake I feel like did to me was isolate me from my peers who I should have been connecting with, and I feel that it made things so much worse for me socially. It made me feel like I wasn’t enough.
So I have been working…I had to, like, kind of fix that kind of thing myself, which is still a work in progress.
Jesse: Thank you. So, based on some of your answers, I have to conclude that some of the practices at Maple Lake are egregiously ineffective, harmful, and in many cases even unsafe.
Jesse: Is that correct?
Jesse: Do you think that any change in policy or management could make Maple Lake into a safe place?
Jordyn: Management… see, the owners are, like, these people who… they’ve owned Maple Lake for years. I doubt there would be a change in management there ever because these owners have… have, like… they started Maple Lake… they’re, like… I don’t think that they would let anybody take over Maple Lake, really.
But I’m going to talk for a minute about these owners. Their names are Patti and Nichol, which I believe I can say because they’re not students. They’re not under under HIPAA. They’re not protected by that.
Jesse: Do you know their last names?
Jordyn: Nichol Holwege and Patti Hollenbeck-Dial, I think.
Jesse: Thank you.
Jordyn: I don’t know that for sure. You may need to look that up on the website. I’m pretty sure that’s it, though.
Editor’s Note: information confirmed via MLA site.
Jordyn: But Nichol is one of the coldest people you’ve ever met. She’s pretty scary actually. Like, she comes into the room, and you say, “Hi Nichol!” She looks away. She doesn’t say anything to you.
And if she see… like, I talked to… I actually recently interviewed a staff with Breaking Code Silence. A former staff who quit Maple Lake. She is a wonderful person. She would basically say that Nichol… like, she would have said the same things about Nichol.
Nichol would only, like, talk to the staff really if she… if she saw them doing something that she thought was problematic. Like, if a staff was checking in with a student who was, like, emotionally, like, not doing okay. She would say, “Why aren’t you at programming?” or something like that.
And the therapist would do that too. And she… she… she’d act, like in… in, like, the weekly treatment team was, like, where they decide your interventions, decide how far you are in the program, if you could get check out. Things like that. and Nichol was part of that, and she’d act like she knew us when she hadn’t even ever talked to us. She hadn’t had a conversation with us ever, and she’d decide things for you when she didn’t even talk to you.
And Patti, while I think she’s nicer than Nichol. She did allow these things to happen. I don’t really… I didn’t get to talk to Patti much, but when I did it was when she had gone through my testing. Like, my psych testing and found, like, other things in it. Like, weird problems. So she put me on this it only… only… I was the only person… first person to ever be put on this intervention… sort of intervention.
This program… social skills program. Basically, where they had a staff… one staff member. They designated one staff member for every day to come into come into work and just stay with me. Like, walk around with me, monitor me on my… on my activity and group, in recreational therapy. Just kind of graph me on how well I was doing.
And I was the only one to ever be given this intervention, which was pretty… like, the staff herself is a wonderful person. But the intervention itself was degrading, and it didn’t allow me to really naturally talk to my peers.
Like, the staff was there, and she’d… and the peers would try to talk to her, and she’d say, “Pretend I’m not here.” But it was really awkward, like, kind of thing. You know? She was constantly monitoring me. She was told to constantly monitor me, and I don’t know. It just… now it just feels kind of wrong.
It feels, like, that was the wrong thing to do: have the only student who has a weird… who has different test results, give them this whole other intervention program. This whole other program to do.
And… I don’t know, it isolated me, in a way. Kind of made me seem like I was different from everyone.
Jordyn: When I should have been made to feel the opposite. Like, I could have been part of the group, you know?
Jordyn: But yeah, those kind of… those kind of directors are what… the directors are what allowed that to happen. They are the ones that allowed that to happen. They’re the ones who commissioned it to happen, basically.
Patti did. Nichol… no idea. She’s a mystery to me. She’s really cold, and apparently she was a recreational therapist a while ago, but she would have been a really bad recreational therapist, in my opinion.
Jesse: Hmm. So with that kind of leadership, it doesn’t seem to me like change is possible absent some kind of major change in ownership.
Jordyn: No, Nichol is a pretty set woman. She’s pretty set in her ways through what I could tell. She’s gonna insist that it shouldn’t change.
I, like… I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right to have them running a treatment program for teenagers when they’re… when… at all, honestly. I don’t… I don’t think that they’re… that they’re very suited to it. If… and… I don’t really know if they’re money hungry or anything like that, but Maple Lake charges a heck of a lot of money from every parent, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And it’s not worth that kind of money, it’s not worth it. And… these leaders are never gonna change. It’s never… these kinds of people don’t change.
Jesse: Thank you. That concludes my questions. I want to say, thank you very much, Jordyn Krauss, for your time today, your candor, and your courage in sharing your story.
Jordyn: Thank you.