Earlier this year, we received news that Maple Lake Academy (MLA) of Spanish Fork, Utah, was being shut down by the state due to a child’s death in January while under this facility’s care and because of other documented instances of medical neglect.
However, after a closed-door meeting with facility owners earlier this month, the Utah Department of Health Services decided the facility could remain in operation and retain their license after the facility agreed to a corrective action plan.
Jessica Miller goes into more details of the incident and other relevant information in her article here.
We do not believe this was an isolated incident that a corrective action plan will fix. Unfortunately, our In Memoriam page indicates otherwise. A child’s death is not a statistical anomaly when it comes to the “care” a child receives while at a Troubled Teen Industry (TTI) facility or program.
We recently conducted an interview with a Maple Lake Academy survivor. You can listen to or read their story here for further details of their experience at this facility.
We are deeply disturbed by the state of Utah’s ruling to allow MLA to retain their license and continue to operate. While our outrage is sparked by the unnecessary death of this child, we believe their decision is a direct result of a much larger systemic issue.
In response to the state of Utah’s decision to allow this facility to continue to operate, which is overwhelmingly consistent with their usual leniency in regulating TTI facilities, we are organizing a demonstration in Utah.
We will be holding this demonstration at the Provo Historic Courthouse from 8am-11am Thursday, 9/29/22. We will then move the demonstration that same day to Salt Lake City outside of the State Capital building that afternoon from 2pm to 5pm.
While we (individual survivors and allies within BCS) have initiated the planning of this event, it is open to all survivors and allies. We strongly believe in unifying the survivor community. We believe that if we are divided as a community, we cannot make as strong an impact in standing up against the immensity of the TTI industry.
We are in the process of working with multiple organizations and individuals to include anyone interested in protesting this decision by the state. We will not be naming those who are working with us without the individuals’ or organizations’ express permission.
We aim to do anything we can to help prevent something like this from happening in the future and welcome anyone passionate about this cause to join us.
We are hosting a public Zoom call on Monday, August 29th at 7pm PST/10pm EST. You are welcome to join us, collaborate, ask questions, express concerns, or share ideas for this cause. Here is the Zoom link to join this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89997378644?pwd=RWk3NjBQUXpXTlZvQlo5Mis4L0xFQT09 passcode: 021700 (During this meeting, we reserve the right to remove any individuals engaging in hateful language, disparaging of other survivors, trolling, or other inappropriate conduct as determined by our team. Our goal is to facilitate a safe environment for survivors and allies to come together and professionally discuss and plan this protest. Unrelated topics brought up on this call will be discussed at another time and place as appropriate.)
Soon, we will release guidelines for the protest in accordance with Utah state law to ensure professional and peaceful behavior during this demonstration. No profanity, hateful speech, or acts of violence or vandalism will be tolerated.
We will also not tolerate any disparaging speech directed at any survivors of the TTI community (be this in-person, over social media, etc). The experience of each survivor is unique. Disparaging or discounting other survivors’ experiences only leads to further divide within the community. We are here to stand united against players within the TTI.
If you are interested in further updates on this event, if you have questions, or if you are interested in partnering with us in support of this cause, please email us at: BCook@breakingcodesilence.org
The Breaking Code Silence Team