May 30, 1998

Protecting the Rights of Teens

(Please forward this newsletter to teens and adults who are friends of teens)

An American GULAG
Boarding Schools from Hell

You can send this book to Congress. When you join TeenAid we will send a copy of An American GULAG to your member of Congress or another member who has not yet received a copy. Membership is $25. You can pay by check or by VISA or MasterCard. To pay by credit card, call (303) 444-1383. The mailing address is at the bottom of this newsletter. *****************************

***Sexual Predators as Custodial Parents?
***Dispatches from the field
***If you're a teen
***Dear Alexia
***Media Updates


Who's watching our children?

"The pedophile," says a sex-crime expert, " always has children around him." They always gravitate toward children. They give children the affection they may not be receiving from their parents.

When a pedophile is custodial parent or staff member at a behavior changing facility or mental rehab hospital, they may use the power of their position to gain sexual favors from terrified or fearful teens who are seeking love and protection. This type of sexual abuse, says an expert familiar with mental rehabilitation facilities that handle teens, is wide-spread. Sexual predators in positions of authority over these isolated teens may also target children whose records show they have had already been victims of incest or sexual abuse at home. The pedophile may threaten to send them to state corrections facilities if they don't go along with the sex-play.


Last week, I received the following from someone acting on behalf of a teen:

DEAR ALEXIA, I am a 23 year old (occupation withheld) from Florida. I recently started dating a 18 y/o girl who is a former boarding school student. My girlfriend attended this school during 1997. My girlfriend and at least 5 of her former classmates were forced into sex during there attendance of this school by two men who called themselves preachers, who ran the program.

The girls who attended this school were supposedly there for help with there troubled lives and instead were completly taken advantage of. These were 15,16,and 17 year old girls being forced into sex by men in their 50's.

P.S. We will be happy to give the name and location of the facility with all the details of names of students to be contacted.

(name withheld)


The authorities have been contacted -- TeenAid will share details of this case as they become public.


Remember David Van Blarigan? The teen who accused his parents of kidnap after being taken from his home in Oakland, California in the middle of the night.

David's grandparents (who sought protective custody of him after his well-publicized placement at Tranquility Bay) were recently "approved" to send a letter directly to their grandson without sending it through David's parents first. In the letter, they wrote that they were sorry they didn't get a chance to say good-bye to him. It happened all so fast, they said. The letter also included family photos.

Tranquility Bay's management decided not to deliver the letter to David, and requested that the senior Van Blarigans write another letter that was less controversial. They would then insert the photos into the new letter. -- In addition, the grandparents learned that the "approval" to send letters directly to David at Tranquility Bay had been revoked. David's grandparents were told that all future communications must first pass through his parents, Jim and Sue Van Blarigan. -- This censorship process is described in An American GULAG.

Communication is a Human Right. Family members who love David and care about his well-being are being denied direct communication with him.


Each day TeenAid receives requests for advice from parents whose children have been diagnosed with ADD. One, interestingly, was from a teen who had been diagnosed as ADD but asked for -- and paid for -- a second opinion. The second opinion showed that he was not ADD. Fearing his parents would use other tactics to control him such as sending him to a "teen concentration camp," he wrote that he then hired a lawyer and emancipated himself.

Statistics show:

"America now uses 90% of the world’s Ritalin-more than five times the rest of the world combined. Meanwhile, emergency room visits by children age 10-14 involving Ritalin intoxication have now reached the same level as those for cocaine. This indicates escalating abuse of this highly addictive drug."

"Talking Back to Ritalin", from Common Courage Press, says book-reviewer and former manager of a juvenile justice center, Donna Headrick, is not for the faint of heart. Nor, for that matter, are the next several chapters that cover a range of known and suspected adverse effects from suppressing the growth of the brain to inducing Schizophrenia and causing seizures. As with his other books, author Peter Breggin M.D. has a Point of View. Giving this book to a parent whose child has been placed on Ritalin could very well send them shrieking into the ether. And demanding a Congressional investigation of if not an immediate firing squad for the hapless prescribers would not be overkill.

His book is an important smack in the face to a culture obsessed with the "miracle cure" the "Big Fix" for every problem. America consumes pills. And in areas related to behavior, we increasingly use these substances as a form of chemical control that our systems do not provide by their processes.

If one defines the cause of specific behaviors, in this case in children, such as a lack of focus, inattention and general squirminess in school as a chemical imbalance in the brain, popping a drug into the mouth of said child may seem like a good idea. But what if we were to define those behaviors as symptomatic of a child who is brighter than average and bored in a "one size fits all" educational system? Or a child with an abundance of energy that needs a physical outlet like quarter mile around the track several times a week?

What then?

All to often, the "what then" is a drug.

In an increasingly HMOized society, drugs are cheaper than the time of a professional. A teacher without hyperactive kids in her class finds it easier to do all of the related teacher tasks of these time such as collecting and accounting for lunch money and doing the weekly "head lice check" (and, no, I’m not kidding).

Though I do believe there is a small group of children who can benefit from chemical treatment, says Headrick, I would make a wild guess that the percentage is likely one half of one percent of those who now receive it. And the increasing use of this addictive and psychoactive drug if looked at side by side with the mushrooming, never-ending and always ineffective "War on Drugs" seems, not only ludicrous, but a guaranteed feeder system for our World’s Best Prison Industrial Complex.

(Editor's note: The teen, Kip, who did the shooting in his school cafeteria in Springfield, Oregon was on Prozac.)


Reports one teen -- now on the outside: "Kids ran away from our (behavior changing) facility all the time. They believed that if they were caught and turned over to the authorities they would get sent to Juvenile Hall. They wanted this!" What they don't know is that the local police routinely return runaways to these facilities.

One reporter who got involved and helped close a facility called Charity Haven, near Milton, Florida reported: "What bothered me the most was reading a police report which stated that two girls were seen running naked down the center of a highway, crying that (their custodial parent) was after them and would kill them if he caught them. A good Samaritan picked the girls up and drove them to the police station. A report was filed and the teens were then returned to the facility."


If you're a teen 14-years and older who fears your parents may be considering a GULAG-type behavior changing facility, do not -- repeat -- do not sign an application form for a passport. Refuse to sign any application.

If you are 14-years and older but under 18 and are sent to a facility by your parents (not Court-ordered) you may tell the authorities (if / when they interview students) that you WANT to leave. They are required to arrange for your removal from the facility. You have the right to sue.

If you are 18 years old and want to leave, you can announce your intention to leave, then do so. Those who have been sent out of the country can demand the return of their passport and receive an airline ticket home. Your passport and return ticket are kept in a safe place by management and must be returned to you. At 18, you now possess the legal rights of adult Americans.

--------------------------------------- DEAR ALEXIA -- From the mailbox

My dear Angel.......Some higher power put me in touch with your book on the Net!

Last year and early this year, (we) were searching for a boarding school to put (name withheld) in for a year to catch up on all the school she has missed and get her away from the crowd she has been running with. At the moment, she has left her home and is seeing this boy who is from another planet! We are at our wit's end with this child. But I have to tell you, she is a very sweet girl ( when she chooses to be) but very manipulative.

(She) has ADD and has been on Ritalin for the last year. She does fine as long as she stays on it but the moment she decides that she doesn't want or need it...she gets crazy!! (We have) done everything possible for this child. Counseling, sports, you name it, she has done it. But (she) is at that awful and wonderful 16 yr. old stage. One moment you love her to death and the next, you want to just nail her.

What a mouth! No one in our family uses the kind of language she uses.

Just recently, she has discovered the birth control center for teens! We know that she isn't going there to get her teeth checked!. And the boy! God, give us strength! He is from the other side of the tracks, so to speak. Dare we say anything? No! because we know the more we say something, the more defensive she becomes. However, she knows that we don't approve.

We were all set to send her to a school in Utah and were still investigating the school when I started going through the articles on the net. I downloaded yours........

I must tell you, it changed our whole outlook. I sobbed throughout your whole book. As incredible as it all my seem, I don't doubt a word of it. The words of some fellow on the other end of the telephone line came rushing back! It scared the beejesus out of me. We would never have been able to live with ourselves had we even had the remotest idea what these schools where like!

You have saved (name withheld) from a fate worse than death. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to write of your family's experience. We are looking into a mentoring program as I write this letter to you.

Walk in peace, dear one.


Q: What's the difference between tax-payer funded prisons and private, parent-funded behavior changing facilities?

A: The primary difference is private parent-funded behavior changing facilities are unregulated, or under-regulated, or may be able to self-accredit. Remote, rural, and operating out of the "public eye," they constitute a private (hidden) system of incarceration that operates in parallel to our public prison system.

NETWORK -- TeenAid has been invited to write an article for the June newsletter of a national organization that is involved in child protection and advocacy issues. We will include a reprint in our next edition.

NETWORK -- TeenAid has received an inquiry from an international organization concerned about Human Rights abuses of minor children. Teens who have been privately incarcerated by their parents may have the right to refuse abusive behavior changing "treatment". -- We have also been contacted by a representative of Amnesty International.


TeenAid, an Advocacy group -- was established to protect the rights of teens and to monitor activities at behavior modification facilities. TeenAid is planning to hold a press-conference for the news media mid-June in New York City. For information about how you can participate in this or other vigils—located at sites of teen abductions such as the well-publicized abduction of 16-year-old David Van Blarigan Oakland, CA, please contact: Alexia Parks .

The Education Exchange Network is supporting the activities of TeenAid. T.E.E.N. is a 501-c3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Contributions to support the activities of this international group can be sent to T.E.E.N, Box K, Eldorado Springs, CO 80025. Or call (303) 444-1383.


Teen-Justice promotes the reform of "behavior modification" facilities and schools that abuse the civil and human rights of teens. This newsletter links experts, the media, and interested members of the public who are interested in this issue. Please forward it to your list or post in relevant newsgroups.

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