This article sheds light on the trauma that the young teenagers faced at the hands of the staff members in the troubled teen industry. Nevertheless, some of the survivors contribute the names of the staff that helped them through the hard times while being at these programs.
The staff members of these troubled teen industries are responsible for shaping the young minds that walk through the doors, or woods, at these programs. Unfortunately, a lot of staff are not necessarily the best people for this. Surprisingly, many staff members are not trained to deal with children with mental health disorders or behavioral issues.
According to an 18-year-old that was at Elevations RTC, many staff members are brainwashed from day one by the program director that anytime their kids are speaking out negatively they are attention seekers, liars, and manipulators. Disgustingly, this is the only training that the staff members get. Secondly, there are no courses that you have to take and you do not have to be a medical professional to be in charge of children with mental health problems. Thirdly, this punishment-based therapy is only tearing kids down instead of bringing them back up. Disturbingly, the staff continuously gaslighted all the kids and told them they were being dramatic and to shut up about the mental and physical abuse that they were enduring.
Eric Flores, the program director at Elevations RTC, refused to help a young adult with any of the concerns that she brought to help despite saying that he runs a program that helps people. Conversely, the source told him about the abuse that she has witnessed and experienced by the staff member and he did nothing, an 18-year-old source recalls.
“I requested to speak to the police during my stay there about the abuse and I was shut down. A kid here raped me for 6 months straight and I told Eric Flores and I told other staff members and they did nothing.”
The now 18-year-old shares how a physicist at Elevations RTC has taken the young adult’s ADHD medication away from her as a punishment and said, “if she wanted it bad enough she wouldn’t be misbehaving so much.” When the female was throwing up from withdrawing from her medication that she has been on for the last five years, the psychiatrist told the team that she was just bulimic. Not only was the psychiatrist lying, but she was also abusing a child.
A now 31-year-old male went to a therapeutic boarding school in Montana when he was a young boy. His thoughts on the staff members - “The staff were a mixed bag, some were just straight up cruel. I think all of them to some extent were sadistic because the program was all about causing pain to children. There was something broken about all the staff members.”
Stella Downey, now 19 years old, declares she faced name-calling at Approach RTC in Syracuse, Utah. A female staff member and her friends called her a fat cow or a heifer. Downey also remarks how she has witnessed friends of hers being thrown into tv by Issac Gonalez at Elevations RTC. Shockingly, another staff member at Elevations RTC named Jordan Killpack was caught sexing a teen there and receiving sexual favors so the teenager could be moved up levels resulting in the young teenager being released from the program.
Erika, a 16 years old teenager, went to the sister organization of Elevations RTC called Viewpoint RTC and described that a therapist named Jennifer Wilde was overly harsh to her. As Jennifer Wilde is a shareholder in the program, it is safe to say that she makes a lot of money by keeping the children inside the program rather than letting them graduate when they are ready. Henceforth, Wilde sent Erika to a horrible wilderness program as punishment because she was not advancing enough in the program.
“When will you figure out that we can do whatever we want to you?” - an unknown staff member at Moonridge Academy.
A woman named Gertie who went to Moonridge Academy, a therapeutic boarding school in Cedar City, Utah, and Trails Carolina Wilderness Program located in Lake Toxaway, NC explains her experience with the staff on her TikTok. She reveals how “a staff member lied about me for fun on a hiking trip and said I was collecting rocks to self-harm with. I got strip searched in a filthy public bathroom and got yelled at for crying.” Forthwith, the staff member repeatedly tried to get the girls to stop crying by saying, “stop crying and shut the fuck up or I’ll cancel your graduation.”
Gertie also communicates how staff would body-shame a particular girl and wouldn’t let her eat breakfast.
Gertie exclaims how the physical labor that the staff made the group of girls almost made her faint at times and that they would be screamed at if girls as young as 12 could not finish the assignment. Under these circumstances, she was graded every day and was punished by staff members if she cried.
“Rewrite the incident report, You’re making us look bad.” threatened an unknown staff member at Moonridge Academy after they hurt a child.
Tikki Reichman, a now 18-year-old, said that she felt like a lot of the troubled teen industries that she has taken residency at had staff that was very power hungry and she felt trapped in these places. Even blocking out a lot of her trauma, she still remembers that at Elevations RTC, a staff member named Stan sat on her to “calm her down.”
Despite some staff members treating her like garbage, Reichman says that she did come across some good staff members. At Calo RTC in Lake Ozark, Missouri, she explains that staff members Matt and Devon treated her like a human and genuinely cared about her as well as Matthew from Wingate Wilderness located in Kanab, Utah.
Despite all the negativity, it is important to note that there are some staff members and therapists in the troubled teen industry that are kind. Erika did acknowledge that when she got a new therapist named Tonya, she could breathe a little bit better. Erika expressed how “Tonya acknowledged that this was a really hard experience and just treated me like a person when Jennifer Wilde treated me like profit.”
An 18-year-old who went to Elevations RTC named Ari described their therapist Tiffany Orozco as an amazing person. “She saved my life. She cared about me and got me through this process. I wouldn’t be here today if it was not for her.”
A 23-year-old, Jasmine Barett, who went to Montana Academy which is a wilderness program in Utah said that she liked the staff as people if they were not in that environment.
With all this information being considered, it is important to see how a lot of the staff at these troubled teen industries programs are the downfall for some of these children. Nevertheless, there are some good staff members out there that want to help them.
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