Utah boarding school loses license over death of teen in custody and instances of "severe physical neglect"

Originally published at: Utah boarding school loses license over death of teen in custody and instances of "severe physical neglect" | Boing Boing


Despite this reasonable decision, I’m sure (as we saw in the last topic) there will be people expressing concern that it might lead to more of these places being shut down, leaving desperate parents without the “option” of having their children kidnapped to abuse factories.


I think you mean “provided with the appropiate discipline and structure the concerned parents are not able to” /S /S /S /S


You should probably add /s just to be clear.


Or can’t be bothered to do.


Sarcasm aside, I can imagine people feeling overwhelmed by their progeny, and feeling that nobody is there to help them; had friends in that situation, and it sucks a lot. Sadistic bootcamps are not the solution, though.


I was wholly ignorant of these types of institutions until the Elan post was linked in the last thread on this topic. I binge read the entire webcomic in about two days and was depressed for a number of days afterwards. I feel nothing but sympathy for the kids who were enforced to endure this abuse and I really hope that more of them are shut down. Though I’m a bit pessimistic about that as despite all the controversy surrounding Elan the ‘school’ in this story somehow continued to operate.


I have, unfortunately, some experience with these types of places. They will all tout their qualifications and assure you your child is getting the best of care. Some giveaways these are not actually effective therapeutic places: first, they take in all sorts of kids with different behavioral and psychiatric issues and frequently they get pretty much the same program; and secondly, there’s no followup once a kid leaves, so they have no idea if what they do has any lasting positive effect (bet mostly it doesn’t, quite the opposite).


After previous reports on the topic of these schools, I’m amazed that this place had any license at all. Why Utah is the location of choice for so many of these institutions might need some federal scrutiny.


Yeah, my cousin got on the Using - Incarceration - Rehab - Overdose no so merry go round at an early age. Eventually it killed him, but long before that happened, between all the court costs, paying for rehab, and just flat out stealing, his father was broke. I have no idea what the answer is, but I do have great sympathy with parents who are desperate enough to try ANYTHING.

Edited to add: To be clear if any of that had worked to KEEP him off of drugs, they would have been money well spent. It is REALLY difficult to permanently change behaviors, says the guy whose improvement in diet and exercise post-heart attack turned out to be temporary.


The impressive part is the way that their hatred of children outweighs even their own moneymaking instinct.

You would think that someone running a profitable little grift like a ‘troubled teen’ school might say “Hmm, this otherwise healthy child has spontaneously passed out in a puddle of her own vomit. They don’t typically do that. Maybe I should get that seen to, lest it develop into something that might ultimately interfere with my profits.” Even if you don’t actually care what happens to the child, the basic cover-your-ass principle ought to persuade you that taking the kid to a qualified doctor is the right course of action.

But no. It’s hard not to conclude that they feel a degree of resentment toward the little cash cows that they’ve been charged with warehousing, such that the signs of a life-threatening condition are interpreted as the kid “acting out” and grounds for irritation rather than concern. Or action.

I wonder what the correlation is between running one of these things and being a total fucking sociopath? I’m inclined to assume that it might be quite large.


Yeah. After the last topic I was seriously wondering about the licensing. In Texas, the health and human services commission would have been all over.this camp. Despite the general lack of funding and how the regulatory system has been broken by the GOP here.

It’s not good it took the Utah HHS so long to act. I’ve seen the Texas HHSC shut down facilities much faster for far less. Also giving them a month to relocate the kids- not great. It isn’t good for the families to suddenly have their kids back unexpectedly but worse to keep them somewhere so dangerous.

It is really alarming but people who like hurting kids are attracted to working for and running these places. It’s incredibly hard to monitor places that house and treat kids with issues and they attract all the predators. When caught, the predators and just plain sadists simply move to a different facility. Texas will, surprisingly, have a database for people found to abuse children and anyone in it will not be eligible for hire at any licensed facility. It’s a downright progressive idea. Though implementation will be a big factor in whether it is useful or just for show. Every state should have these.


I read the words “troubled teen” and immediately thought of Elan…


Just skimmed the ‘pre-litigation report’, and this sentence jumped out at me:

Taylor’s tribe paid for Taylor’s $12,000 monthly tuition at Diamond Ranch Academy

$12,000 dollars. Monthly. $144,000 a year.

By comparison, US News says that annual board and tuition at Harvard runs to just under $80,000.

The moral is clear: if you have a problem teen, send them to Harvard. It’s about 40% cheaper, and they probably won’t kill your kid.

I don’t know what you get for your $144,000 annually, or where the major operating costs are – razor wire isn’t that expensive – but this sounds to me like an amazingly profitable racket. Which makes it still more surprising that the idiots running it would jeopardize their operation by letting kids die on their watch.


The way it works is, in almost all cases, your teen will be there exactly as long as your health insurance pays the bills.


“Autopsy results show Taylor died from peritonitis, an abdominal infection”

That is totally inexcusable, and the symptoms are pretty distinct.


The usual procedure at this point, where they can no longer depend on local authorities to shield them, is to move the camp elsewhere. Somewhere with a better place to hide things, perhaps.

This is the first thing I assumed when I read the headline.


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