The Academy at Ivy Ridge (AIR) began in 2000 when Robert Litchfield bought the former college campus in Ogenburg, New York, and leased it to Jason G. Finlinson (Litchfield's brother-in -law) to begin a school for
an effective specialty school for adolescents ages 12 through 18. These adolescents have excellent potential but are headed for some serious problems. Typically, these are students who are determined to do their "own thing", regardless of whom it hurts or how it may alter their futures.
The school opened in January 2002.
Now Finlinson is back in the news again.
A letter from the State Education Department to Ivy Ridge quoted in the Watertown Times says, "The Department's review revealed that AIR is principally a behavior modification program and not a school..."
On July 26, 2006, the law firm of Hancock & Estabrook filed a $100 million class action law suit against Ivy Ridge Academy, Finlinson, and WWASPs citing
Plaintiffs alleged in their Complaint that defendants fraudulently advertised Academy of Ivy Ridge (AIR) as an accredited boarding school licensed to issue credits and diplomas to its students
Ivy Ridge has several different websites:
The academic program at the Academy at Ivy Ridge has been designed to work successfully for the college-prep student as well as the learning-disabled student.
Small classes and ideal student to teacher ratio, help create an extremely progressive academic program. [snip]
Credits earned by students at Ivy Ridge usually have no problem transfering to the majority of public schools and institutions of higher learning throughout the USA.
The Academy at Ivy Ridge will not be allowed to resume issuing high school diplomas.
The State Education Department has rejected the Academy's application, according to stories Friday in St. Lawrence County newspapers and The Watertown Times.
A letter from the State Education Department to Ivy Ridge quoted in the Watertown Times says, "The Department's review revealed that AIR is principally a behavior modification program and not a school..."
Ivy Ridge Director Jason Finlinson is quoted as saying he was blindsided by the letter.
Earlier, an investigation by State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer found that the Academy was issuing bogus diplomas. Ivy Ridge agreed to reimburse affected families more than $1 million.
Since then the Academy's enrollment has dropped sharply as it has been unable to offer prospective clients the chance to graduate from high school.
Dept. of Education holding back Ivy Ridge?
Updated: 12/5/2006 9:43:31 PM By:
Jason Finlinson is a problem solver. He's helped the most difficult students get in line. And he says the answer is Ivy Ridge, what he calls "A Boarding School for the Future."
"They can get caught up in academics, they can work on their character development, and can bring families back together," said Finlinson, an director at Ivy Ridge.
But the Department of Education has rejected Ivy Ridge's application to become a registered nonpublic school and issue high school diplomas. A letter states the school fails to meet health and safety standards.
"It blind sighted us because it was completely... We weren't expecting it. We have met everything the state has asked us to do," Finlinson said
Academy at Ivy Ridge is a school for troubled teens, but since its opening in 2001, the director says they've faced an uphill battle of their own. In August 2005, the school was fined more than one million dollars after the state Attorney General's office found Ivy Ridge not accredited and handing out diplomas.
"It's not a big deal, we made mistakes, we corrected them, we paid a fine, and we moved on," Finlinson said.
But the schools had other problems to move on from. In May 2005, 40 students were expelled for escaping. And most recently, police charged two dorm parents with endangering the welfare of a child for failing to prevent a 14-year-old from being assaulted. But Finlinson says he does not believe those events are related to the rejected application.
"We followed our policies and procedure, we notified the police, we felt like we did everything we possibly could to correct the situation," Finlinson said.
Finlinson’s written back to the Department of Education. Now he waits to hear what's next for his boarding school for the future.
The director hasn't reached an appeal process yet. But says he hopes Ivy Ridge will be registered as a nonpublic high school in the near future.
Ivy Ridge request denied
By CHRIS GARIFO
Watertown Daily Times
December 1, 2006
ALBANY — The Academy at Ivy Ridge will not be allowed to operate as a private high school in New York.
The state Department of Education has rejected the Ogdensburg institution's application to be registered as a nonpublic secondary school, citing academic program deficiencies and health and safety concerns for its students.
"The Department's review revealed that AIR is principally a behavior modification center and not a school that should be accorded the privilege of administering Regents examinations and awarding diplomas," wrote Jean C. Stevens, interim deputy commissioner of the Education Department's Office for Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education, in a letter Wednesday to Ivy Ridge Director Jason G. Finlinson.
"That letter blindsided me," Mr. Finlinson said late Thursday afternoon.
Ivy Ridge has been working with the Education Department as part of the application process to correct any deficiencies the agency found, he said.
"We responded to the state Education Department in everything they asked," Mr. Finlinson said. "We changed things and added new policies."
According to the letter, state education law requires an institution seeking status as a nonpublic high school to prove that its academic program is "substantially equivalent" to what public schools provide.
Ivy Ridge utilizes a Bible-based computer program called Switched-On Schoolhouse that allows students to proceed at their own pace. The Education Department found that the program does not provide "sufficient interaction with teachers and peers or adequate instructional guidance by teachers."
To satisfy the department, Ivy Ridge aligned its curriculum with Regents standards, Mr. Finlinson said.
"Our academics are as good as any school in the state of New York, pubic or private," he said.
The department's reasons for rejecting the application were "pretty vague," Mr. Finlinson said.
"We want more details so we can fix the deficiencies and move on," he said.
The department also found student health and safety deficiencies at Ivy Ridge, including inadequate systems to protect students, a chain-of-command that gives one student group power over another, students being prohibited from having any phone numbers or addresses, overly restrictive policies over students' restrooms use and "inadequate staff training related to student restraint."Mr. Finlinson said he doubted an incident in April 2003 — in which a staff member was accused of coercing two underage female students into providing him oral sex while on a trip to the Ottawa airport — had any bearing on the Education Department's decision.
Ivy Ridge staff investigated the allegations, determined they were true and fired the employee, Mr. Finlinson confirmed.
"He was dismissed immediately when we found out about the incident," he said.
Education Department spokesman Thomas Dunn, in an e-mail response about the incident, said only, "The letter speaks for itself."
Critics of Ivy Ridge and similar institutions claim that the facilities use overly harsh restraint methods that often injure students.
Ivy Ridge has denied such allegations.
"They've listened to our naysayers too much and not paid attention to the material we've sent them," Mr. Finlinson said.
Ivy Ridge has seen its enrollment drop markedly since an investigation completed last year by state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer determined it was fraudulently claiming to be accredited and was issuing bogus high school diplomas. As a result, the institution agreed to pay nearly $1.23 million in penalties and restitution.
Enrollment now is 150 students, from a high of about 500 just 18 months ago. Staff also has been cut sharply, from 250 to 110. Despite that, Ivy Ridge will continue, Mr. Finlinson said, adding that he would appeal the department's decision.
"We're still getting students in, nothing has changed, we're still holding the course," he said. " We feel we meet the requirements for secondary education for nonpublic schools.
Ivy Ridge had been expecting the application to be given to the state Board of Regents; in fact, the request apparently was placed on the board's July agenda but then pulled and kept off subsequent agendas since then. In August, Mr. Dunn said the action was taken because of "questions about their program."
In her letter, Ms. Stevens wrote that "the department and the Commissioner cannot recommend approval of AIR's application for nonpublic high school registration, and the application will not be advanced to the Board of Regents."
That action will cause harm beyond Ivy Ridge, Mr. Finlinson said.
"They're not looking at it from a human side," he said. "We have a big impact on students, families, the people working here, the community; we add a lot of positives to this area."
July 28, 2006
Ivy Ridge Academy near Ogdensburg faces a class action lawsuit by former students and their parents.
The 25 plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial and $100 million in damages. The Syracuse firm Hancock & Estabrook, LLP is representing the group in the federal lawsuit.
They claim that Ivy Ridge falsely certified that they were a licensed and accredited private boarding school authorized by the state to issue diplomas.
The false assertion was made so parents could qualify for loans to pay monthly tuition ranging from $2,800 to $4,000, the lawsuit alleges.
In 2004 Ivy Ridge reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General in which the institution refunded about $1.5 million to parents.
The Watertown Daily Times quotes Ivy Ridge co-owner and Executive Director Jason Finlinson as saying the allegations are untrue and the lawsuit is just some people trying to make money.
vy Ridge accreditation suspended in state probe
By Chris Garifo, Times Albany Correspondent
Watertime Daily Times, April 15, 2005
ALBANY - The Academy at Ivy Ridge's accreditation has been suspended in the wake of a state attorney general's office inquiry into the business practices of the institution that offers behavior modification for teenagers.
"We sent them a cease and desist letter," said David G. Steadman, executive director of the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. "It means they're not supposed to say they're accredited until their legal issues are solved."
Jason G. Finlinson, director of Ivy Ridge, said its accreditation was "under review" but he refused to go into detail.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss it," he said. "Just because."
He referred all calls to James Wall, chief executive officer of the Denver-based public relations firm Freeman, Wall & Aiello. However, Mr. Wall was out of town until Monday and unavailable.
The Boise, Idaho-based Northwest Association conferred candidate membership on Ivy Ridge in 2002, the first year the boarding school on Route 37 just outside of Ogdensburg was open. Candidate members must complete a self-evaluation within three years of their application date that shows they are in "substantial compliance" with the association's standards.
Candidate membership allows an institution to claim it is accredited but does not allow it to vote on association bylaws, standards or membership dues. Accreditation indicates that an institution provides a level of education that meets standards set by the accrediting agency.
Ivy Ridge had maintained its accreditation up until last week as a result of visits to the campus by two teams from the association, Mr. Steadman said.
Another visit to the campus was planned this summer, but that also has been put on hold, said Leonard D. Paul, Northwest Association's associate director.
"Everything is on hold pending a response to our request that they show licenses and/or certificates, whatever is required in the state of New York to operate," he said.
The association sent Ivy Ridge the cease and desist letter after a telephone inquiry from the Watertown regional office of the state attorney general's office. That inquiry led the association to believe the school does not have the state licenses required by the organization, Mr. Steadman said.
A spokesman for Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer declined comment Thursday.
State agencies, including the attorney general's office and the Office of Children and Family Services, in February began looking into Ivy Ridge, including allegations of physical abuse of students.
The attorney general's regional office in Watertown served a subpoena on Ivy Ridge seeking records to determine whether it had been advertising itself as a diploma-granting institution, which officials believe it was not accredited to do. Ivy Ridge officials responded to the subpoena but not to the satisfaction of state lawyers in Watertown, who asked for more documents, according to a source.
At the time the inquiry started, Ivy Ridge's Web site said it offered a general diploma and a college prep diploma, which included a foreign language requirement.
Since then, however, information about its accreditation and any diplomas has been removed from the site, www.academyivyridge.com.
According to the 2005 edition of the Northwest Association's policies and procedures manual, new member schools must "be approved, accredited, licensed, or recognized by the legally constituted educational agency in its state, country, or federal government agency."
The association accredited Ivy Ridge because of its affiliation with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, Mr. Steadman said. WWASPS is based in Utah, which is among the states covered by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools.
"They belong to WWASPS," Mr. Steadman said. "It was WWASPS that asked us to accredit them; we accredit all of their schools."
However, WWASPS President Kenneth E. Kay said Ivy Ridge does not belong to his organization; it just receives programming and support.
"We don't own or direct what they do," he said when the state inquiries were first launched.
However, Ivy Ridge and WWASPS have more than a business relationship.
Utah businessman Robert B. Lichfield, one of three members of the WWASPS board, bought the 237 acres of the former Mater Dei College campus where Ivy Ridge sits. He leased the property to WWASPS. He also is Mr. Finlinson's brother-in-law.
If WWASPS no longer wants to claim ownership of Ivy Ridge, "then we won't accredit them," Mr. Steadman said.
Despite the action taken against Ivy Ridge, Northwest Association does not plan to reassess the accreditation of WWASPS's other facilities, in Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Jamaica. WWASPS-associated schools in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic reportedly were closed by their respective governments because of allegations of physical abuse, a claim Mr. Kay denies.
"We have no reason to look at other accreditation," Mr. Steadman said. "We had no reason to look at Ivy Ridge; we just have an attorney from New York asking everybody under the sun about its history."
Northwest Association also will not take into consideration any of the abuse allegations being investigated by the state, Mr. Steadman said.
by Chris Garifo
Watertown Daily Times
August 19, 2005
ALBANY - The much-troubled Academy at Ivy Ridge must pay as much as $1.65 million in refunds and fines under an agreement with state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer.
As part of the agreement, the behavior modification facility for troubled teens will no longer issue high school diplomas and will provide tuition refunds of 15 percent to the families of many of the students who attended the school. The refunds will be paid to the attorney general's office, which will forward them to the students' families.
Ivy Ridge also must stop falsely advertising that it can legally issue diplomas to students who complete its program and that it is an accredited educational institution.
"Frankly, this is one of the largest educational fraud cases in New York state history," said John T. Sullivan Jr., assistant attorney general in charge of the Watertown regional office. "The amount of restitution is significant; I don't know of any case where the amounts are even close."
Since opening in 2001, Ivy Ridge has awarded high school diplomas to 113 of its students, though it is not authorized to grant such diplomas because it is not registered with the state Education Department.
Under terms of the agreement, those 113 students, or their parents, will receive refunds of 15 percent of the total tuition paid to Ivy Ridge. Tuition averages $50,000 per year with the typical student spending 18 months at the school.
The amount of the refunds could reach as much as $1.4 million, Mr. Sullivan said. Ivy Ridge must also pay fines to the state of $250,000 plus $2,000 in costs.
"No matter how you shine the apple, if there's a worm inside it, it's not fit for consumption," Mr. Sullivan said of the school.
"That's his opinion," said Jason G. Finlinson, Ivy Ridge director. "For one thing, he's never been to the school to look at what we do at the school, but he has his opinion."
Coming up with the money that needs to be paid will not be easy, Mr. Finlinson said.
"Not everybody has a lot of money sitting around, but we'll make it happen," he said.
Entering into the agreement was in the best interests of Ivy Ridge, Mr. Finlinson said.
Ivy Ridge this year has faced a lawsuit filed in California accusing it of the physical and emotional abuse of a student, has dealt with a riot that led to the expulsion of 40 students and this week was accused of abuse by a student who tried tripping a fire alarm so he could be expelled.
The attorney general's office began investigating Ivy Ridge last year as a result of complaints on a variety of issues from parents of children who attended the school. During the course of that investigation, which has not necessarily concluded, state attorneys determined that the school was lying about its academic credentials on its Web site and in promotional materials.
"This doesn't close the book," Mr. Sullivan said. "There are still matters involving the accreditation that we're still reviewing."
The school, one of several affiliated with the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, had claimed that it was accredited with the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools, a regional accrediting organization based in Boise, Idaho. However, Ivy Ridge had not actually been accredited but was simply going through the process.
Northwest ordered the school to stop claiming it was accredited and suspended the accreditation process as a result of the attorney general's investigation. The school had not informed Northwest that it was not licensed with the state Education Department.
In fact, according to the Assurance of Discontinuance that serves as the agreement between Ivy Ridge and the state, the school has been operating in violation of New York education and business law.
The school was formed as part of a partnership between the Jason G. Finlinson Corp. and the Joseph and Alyn Mitchell Corp. However, under state law, a corporation cannot operate an educational institution without the consent of the Board of Regents. Also, two corporations cannot form a partnership to operate an educational institution without the Regents' approval.
Ivy Ridge has since reorganized and is now operated by a single limited liability company, the Academy at Ivy Ridge LLC, with Mr. Finlinson as its chief executive officer, he said.
The school will continue to operate, and its executives expect to get the Regents approval they need, Mr. Finlinson said.
"If you look at the guidelines and follow the law, we should be treated the same as any school in New York," he said. "There are a lot of private schools in the state. Why wouldn't we be treated as fair as anybody else?"
A spokesman for the state Education Department said he could not speculate on whether Ivy Ridge would be allowed to operate as an educational institution because the agency had not yet seen an application for that.
"We would review any request on their part to operate as a charter school," said Thomas Dunn, the Education Department spokesman.
Initially, the corporations that formed Ivy Ridge filed a petition to incorporate with the state Department of State. However, because they wanted to operate an educational facility, the Department of State sent the application to the Education Department, as required.
"What Ivy Ridge did, they started the process, it went to state Education, but then Ivy Ridge pulled their application and state Ed never issued a certificate," Mr. Sullivan said.
As a result, the Education Department has never considered Ivy Ridge anything other than a behavioral modification facility, Mr. Dunn said.
"The question is, Were they an educational institution?" he said. "They never appeared to function as an educational institution."
The attorney general's office has been somewhat limited in its investigation into Ivy Ridge because there is no clear-cut statute or regulation specifically covering such operations, Mr. Sullivan said.
"People assume there is government oversight," he said. "Frankly, in New York state, we have more oversight over dog kennels than we do these schools, and that's not right."
Utah, which has several such facilities, recently enacted legislation that gives that state's child protective services agency oversight over the schools.
"An effort is going to be made to put together a proposed bill similar to the one enacted in Utah to put these schools under the Department of Education or Children and Family Services," Mr. Sullivan said.
The attorney general's office also has been pushing for the state Office of Children and Family Services to continue looking at allegations that Ivy Ridge students have been physically and emotionally abused, Mr. Sullivan said. In fact, a debate has been ongoing among various state agencies over which one has jurisdiction over what is happening at Ivy Ridge.
Children and Family Services, which in February paid an unannounced visit to Ivy Ridge, has since said it has no jurisdiction because no students are there under specific criteria required by the agency, even though at least some of the students have been sent there by court orders.
As a result, the agency refers any complaints of abuse it receives to the state police.
However, the criteria the state police use in dealing with such allegations are not necessarily the same that Children and Family Services would use because the police are looking for criminal activity while Children and Family Services is supposed to be looking out for a child's welfare.
"Cops look for broken arms, but you can have broken spirit," Mr. Sullivan said. "As a result, the types of allegations of abuse that are made often fall between the cracks, which is a shame."
Similar allegations lodged against WWASPS-affiliated schools in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic led to them being closed by the host governments, Mr. Sullivan noted.
At least 11 Ivy Ridge students have been admitted to the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg, Mr. Sullivan said.
"One particular kid should never have been placed in that school environment. He was not a candidate for it," he said. "The thing we have tried to do is focus in on what we could focus on, the education fraud part of it, and this was a serious case of educational fraud."
Ivy Ridge must provide the attorney general's office with the names and last known addresses of the 113 students who were awarded bogus high school diplomas and how much they paid for tuition. The office will then send the 15 percent refunds to them.
The school also must provide similar information on those Ivy Ridge students who withdrew between April 15 and 60 days after the agreement was signed and who had at least 18 credits toward graduation. The attorney general's office will contact those students or their families and ask for their reasons for withdrawal.
Any who say they left because of Ivy Ridge's lack of accreditation or its lack of authority to award diplomas will also get tuition refunds.
Boise accreditation firm questioned
Agency sets standard for some 200 schools in Utah
By Amy Joi Bryson
Deseret Morning News
April 27, 2005
Trouble in New York has spread problems to Boise, the headquarters of a regional accreditation association that sets standards for 1,700 schools, including more than 200 in Utah.
The trouble raises questions over the ability of the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools to apply its own rules to schools and follow licensing mandates in other states where it accredits schools.
It started when New York officials called into question adherence to state licensing and other regulatory requirements by the Academy at Ivy Ridge, a school for troubled youths affiliated with Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools.
The probe by the New York Attorney General's Office, which includes a subpoena for records related to the issuance of diplomas, led Northwest to suspend Ivy Ridge's accreditation earlier this month.
Northwest, the accrediting entity ensuring schools are up to certain standards, is headquartered in Boise and accredits schools in several Western states, including Utah.
Continuing questions by New York investigators over the circumstances regarding Ivy Ridge's accreditation and its ability to operate as a school led an umbrella accreditation agency to sever its ties with Northwest this month - at least temporarily.
In an order issued by the executive committee of the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation, Northwest was informed its affiliation was suspended immediately this month as a result of issues raised by other regional accreditation associations stemming from the controversy at Ivy Ridge.
The letter was sent to Northwest's executive director and its president and informs them of a board of directors meeting May 24, when additional action could be taken.
Randy Sinisi, associate executive director of the international commission (CITA) confirmed suspension had been taken against Northwest, but said the regional association is being given time to state its case for the May meeting.
Northwest's associate director Leonard Paul said the action does not affect the ability of the association to continue to accredit schools in the Western states area and does not jeopardize the standings of any school it previously accredited.
Membership in CITA is voluntary and is more of a professional affiliation than anything, he added.
"It doesn't mean anything to Utah schools or any of the other schools we accredit," he said. "They have no governance authority over us at all."
Rather, the international organization, in which six regional associations participate, is an opportunity for "idea sharing" and to develop uniformity in accreditation protocols, he said.
But it is questions over Northwest's ability to follow those protocols that has led CITA to distance itself from the association, especially in light of the probe into the regulations that were followed - or not - regarding the licensing of Ivy Ridge.
Paul said the flap in New York between Ivy Ridge and the Attorney General's Office has unfortunately spilled over to Northwest.
"We have told (Ivy Ridge) to supply us with all the copies of their licenses and certificates," he said. "We have followed our own policies. The proof is in the fact that we are requiring those materials."
The New York investigation, however, is looking at a time line of when Ivy Ridge began claiming it was accredited, the type of diplomas it claimed to offer and if the school followed state licensing mandates.
The investigation took an academic turn after Ivy Ridge first caught the eye of officials last year after a male teenager being transported to the school said he was beaten while handcuffed.
Two men, contracted by another Utah company called Teen Escort, were found guilty of misdemeanor harassment.
The unusual nature of the transport to the school near the Canadian border - the boy was awakened at night and escorted to the car in his underwear - raised questions about Ivy Ridge, its Utah affiliate, WWASPS, and the nature of what goes on in the school.
WWASPS has been the object of multiple allegations of abuse and neglect at its facilities throughout the United States, including its affiliate in Randolph, Utah, called Majestic Ranch, and Spring Creek Lodge in Montana.
A report by a New York newspaper says Ivy Ridge is being investigated by the state Office of Children and Family Services, with investigators conducting an unannounced visit to the campus, which is near the Canadian border.
In Mexico, a WWASPS affiliated program Casa By the Sea was closed last year amid allegations of abuse. Other facilities have been the site of riots.
WWASPS denies the allegations of abuse, saying they are stories concocted by disgruntled students with behavioral problems.
Tranquility Bay Les Enfants Perdus De Tranquility Bay (Documentary -- France) By LESLIE FELPERIN A Zadig Prods. production, in association with France 2, TSR Television Suisse Romande. (International sales: Zadig Prods., Paris.) Produced by Bruno Nahon. Directed, written by Mathieu Verboud, Jean Robert Viallet.
With: Steven Fredrickson, Lane Brown, Randall Hinton, Robert Browning Lichfield, Susan Scheff. (English dialogue)
Shocking docu "Tranquility Bay" presents evidence of abuse at several behavior modification centers for troubled teens run by a Utah-basedcompany. The company's Guantanamo Bay-style approach to education has been reported previously in the media, but this English-language pic by Gallic co-helmers Mathieu Verboud and Jean Robert Viallet provides an in-depth investigation that eschews sensationalism and builds a scrupulously mounted case against the org via moving interviews with victims and parents, as well as present and ex-employees. Applauded at the IDFA and Thessaloniki doc fests, "Bay" has yet to find a berth Stateside, where it will be of most interest.
Title refers to a center in Jamaica run by the World Wide Assn. of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP), one of several run by the org in countries outside U.S. jurisdiction. Former internees explain on camera that their drug use or rebelliousness frustrated their parents, who would pay (more than $30,000) to have the kids -- some as young as 12 -- forcibly taken away for behavior modification. Teens are kept for months or even years at a time at the centers until they are considered reformed enough to be returned to their families.
Interviewees explain how "students" are forced to lie motionless face-down on the ground for protracted periods each day, sometimes for months. Pepper spray is used by guards, as well as various forms of corporal punishment violent enough to leave a scar on one subject, who appears too shell-shocked to even speak on camera.
Perhaps the most harrowing sequence, shot by hidden camcorder, records an aunt's attempt to persuade her niece to leave Tranquility Bay on her 18th birthday, but she comes up against a contravening phone call to the young woman from her dad.
Helmers Verboud and Viallet cover litigation brought by WWASP against a parent who started a Web site detailing alleged abuse by the organization at centers like Tranquility Bay. A recorded deposition includes comments by WWASP founder Robert Browning Lichfield, a prominent Utah businessman, and several employes, who assert the effectiveness of their methods.
Pic aims for journalistic balance, but the sheer bulk of the evidence presented weighs sympathies in favor of ex-internees and contrite parents. Ultimately, interviewees make the incisive point that such teen boot camps could only grow out of a culture that believes children must be perfect, and if not, they can be fixed like faulty goods.
Competently assembled tech package, achieving an upmarket TV-doc look, gets the message across without drawing attentionto itself.
Camera (color, DV), Viallet; editor, Christophe Bouquet; music, Remy Berger; sound, Verboud. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, March. 12, 2006. Running time: 90 MIN.
Previous WWASPs / Therapeutic Boarding Schools Posts
Study: Why Therapeutic Schools Are Booming
Advice for Parents Seeking A Therapeutic School
Maia Szalavitz: Debunking Tough Love
Suit Against WWASPs
Aspen's Excel Academy Loses Accreditation
Update -- other sources on WWASPS, Ivy Ridge, Robert Lichfield, and the "troubled teen" industry
History of Academy at Ivy Ridge
2000--Robert Lichfield purchases the campus in Ogdensburg, NY.
Litigation Against Ivy Ridge and Similar Organizations
There are two suits going against the organizations Robert Lichfield has invested in. One is specific to Ivy Ridge; the other is broader.
General class action suit (The "Wood Complaint"): (defendants include Lichfield, Ken Kay, Karr Farnsworth, David Gilcrease, and "John Does I through XX).
I imagine Hinton will be one of the Does. The amended complaint:
If you want to join the suit, go to http://www.wturley.com/
Ivy Ridge class action suit:
Previous Posts on WWASPS and WWASPS-related issues:
- Challenge Day & WWASPS --March 30 2005
- Thinking of Sending Your Troubled Teen to a Boot Camp? -- March 31, 2005
- Boonville Says No to WWASPS--April 10 2005
- The Enduring Lure of "Gunny Therapy" -- April 15, 2005
- Riot at Ivy Ridge--June 8 2005
- The Road to Whatever -- July 2005
- Academy at Ivy Ridge--August 23, 2005
- Why "Therapeutic Schools" are Booming January 2 2006
- Advice for Parents Looking for A Therapeutic School -- January 21, 2005
- Maia Szalavitz On Debunking "Tough Love" Schools -- April 11 2006
- WWASPS Suit--September 6 2006
- Exploitation of Youth and Families December 6 2006
- Ivy Ridge "Not A School" -- December 7 2006
- On Accreditation -- December 11 2006
- Northwest Association of Accredited Schools -- December 11 2006
- Randall Hinton, WWASPS Heavy, Arrested for Abuse -- January 12, 2007
- What Alternatives Are There for Parents of Troubled Teens?-- January 13, 2007
- Randall Hinton's Qualifications and Biography--January 13, 2007
- Patty Pacheco, Whistle-blower at Royal Gorge Academy -- January 29, 2007
- Royal Gorge Academy in the News--March 20, 2007
- Four Students Flee Ivy Ridge--March 20, 2007
- Robert Lichfield, One of Mitt Romney's Money Men, Has Legal Troubles -- June 22, 2007
- Testimony from An Academy at Ivy Ridge Graduate--July 28, 2007
- Shawn Jones, Academy at Ivy Ridge Victim
- A Message from an Academy at Ivy Ridge Survivor--November 15, 2007
--October 23, 2007
Series on Questions Parents Should Ask Before Enrolling A Child in a NonPublic School:
- NonPublic Schools: Part I--Overview
- NonPublic Schools--Part II Evaluating Mission, Values, & Goodness of Fit for Your Child
- NonPublic Schools--Part III Faculty and Staff Qualifications
- NonPublic Schools--Part IV: Evaluating Academic Program
- NonPublic Schools:Part V--On Accreditation
- NonPublic Schools:Part VI--More Detail on Financial Issues: IRS Status
Other Sources of Information:
- Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA)--Royal Gorge Index
- International Survivors Action Committee ISAC --WWASPS Index
- WaspsInfo.net ("home of all the information WWASPS wants you to ignore.") --includes Randall Hinton's bio
- NoSpank on residential treatment
- Community Alliance on Ethical Treatment of Youth (CAFETY)
- John Gorenfeld on Tranquility Bay
- John Gorenfield's writings on boot camp abuse
- List of Organizations Opposing "Therapeutic Schools" and "Specialty Schools"