The last resort
"Were you to glance up from the deserted beach below, you might mistake Tranquility Bay for a rather exclusive hotel.
Inside, 250 foreign children are locked up. Almost all are American, but though kept prisoner, they were not sent here by a court of law. Their parents paid to have them kidnapped and flown here against their will, to be incarcerated for up to three years, sometimes even longer. They will not be released until they are judged to be respectful, polite and obedient enough to rejoin their families.
Parents sign a legal contract with Tranquility Bay granting 49 per cent custody rights. It permits the Jamaican staff, whose qualifications are not required to exceed a high-school education, to use whatever physical force they feel necessary to control their child. The contract also waives Tranquility's liability for harm that should befall a child in its care.
Before sending their teen to Tranquility, parents are advised that it might be prudent to keep their plan a secret, and employ an approved escort service to break the news. The first most teenagers hear of Tranquility is therefore when they are woken from their beds at home at 4am by guards, who place them in a van, handcuffed if necessary, drive them to an airport and fly them to Jamaica. The child will not be allowed to speak to his or her parents for up to six months, or see them for up to a year.
Watched by chaperones, you read prescribed course books, take notes, then sit a test after each chapter. Two or three Jamaican teachers sit at the back of the room in case you get stuck, and they may be able to help. But to mark the tests, they have to use an answer key sent down from the States.
You may also write home to your parents, and though staff can read your mail, you may write what you like. But Tranquility's handbook for parents warns them not to believe anything that sounds like a 'manipulation', the programme's word for a complaint.
Tranquility is basically a private detention camp. But it differs in one important respect. When courts jail a juvenile, he has a fixed sentence and may think what he likes while serving it, whereas no child arrives at Tranquility with a release date. Students are judged ready to leave only when they have demonstrated a sincere belief that they deserved to be sent here, and that the programme has, in fact, saved their life. They must renounce their old self, espouse the programme's belief system, display gratitude for their salvation, and police fellow students who resist.
When most children first arrive they find it difficult to believe that they have no alternative but to submit. In shock, frightened and angry, many simply refuse to obey. This is when they discover the alternative. Guards take them (if necessary by force) to a small bare room and make them (again by force if necessary) lie flat on their face, arms by their sides, on the tiled floor. Watched by a guard, they must remain lying face down, forbidden to speak or move a muscle except for 10 minutes every hour, when they may sit up and stretch before resuming the position. Modest meals are brought to them, and at night they sleep on the floor of the corridor outside under electric light and the gaze of a guard. At dawn they resume the position."
That's enough quoting for one OP, but please, read the article. The second page describes the flimsy reasons that parents send their kids to this re-education camp, and the eerie, Stepford behavior of some of the "students".
It's not a school, it's a brainwashing facility. The "teachers" have more qualifications in torture than in education.
How can this possibly be legal? Parents would never be allowed to subject their kids to this here in the U.S., yet apparently they have no legal problem with sending their kids overseas to do it:
Rarely do I read a thread that makes me as nauseous as this one. Not because I'm disgusted with this post or that post but because the wounds are still fresh and painful.
However, I feel it is something of my duty to respond, fighting ignorance and all that.
I am one of those parents who have placed heir child in a 'boot-camp' type of home for troubled teens. This one was in the United States. (It never occurred to me to look outside of the U.S.A.)
For those of you who condem me or call me evil or assume I/m some kind of wierd, bible-thumping, frothing at the mouth loon, well, sorry, I'm not.
I agree that it could seem to be inhumane. I thank God that your home life/childhood/children was such that you are so far away from the anguish of this descision that you cannot imagine being here. Be grateful. (I am at work, so be patient)
When loving parents are faced with this it gets down to a "Sophie's choice" basically. For those who never saw the movie, Sophie was a WW2 Jewish woman who had to choose which child she would take with her to the Nazi work farm and which would be sent to the gas chamber. Horrifying. That's how it felt for his mother and me.
We sent our 15 year old son to that place in December of 2002 and I just came back from picking him up. He's been home for 14 days and whether it helped or not in the long run, well, it's just too early to tell. There is some improvement. He talks to us more readily and he's not lost his temper, yet. I think he's grown up a little.
I'll answer any questions that you may have on the mechanics of the process, the behavior that led us to that point and what we knew or didn't know. I will respectfully try to ignore any comments that assume I am a monster or that are merely insulting.
I am sure that your son was not kidnapped in the middle of the night and flown out of the country.
Actually, he was "kidnapped" in the middle of the night. The advice we recieved from all quarters was that this would be the best way to prevent violence or running away. It was done at 4:00 am and it was handled professionally and safely. It took about 90 seconds from start to finish. Then they drove to the airport. No cuffs.
You didn't read the article, did you? How do you come away with the impression that it doesn't involve physical and psychological abuse?
You bring up a good point. There is physical abuse. There is psychological abuse at these camps.
The problem has 3 reasons, I only speak from my experience.
1. The kids are usually not the best behaved bunch to begn with. They are the tough kids, the mean, nasty kids, the kids who get into fights and who's heroes are the thug-like rap singers and 'ganstas'. You have to be very firm and drill-sergent like in order to be in control or they'd be having chaos.
2. The people that work at these facilities are often just in it for the job. Especially in the south, where alot of these places are, the economy is not yet back on it's feet. If you've been in the military and you need to feed your family, this might not be such a hard way to make a living. Plus, these 'instructors' might be in danger of the prison guard/policeman burnout syndrome. The kind of thinking that has them saying to themselves, "Well, since these punks are all criminals anyway, I'll not feel bad about dishing out a few kicks or punches in the line of duty, they deserve it the little rats."
3. Money. If you staffed these places with trained professional counselors at every position, lots of testing and evaluation at every level. It would cost upwards of $5000.00 a month or more, then, only the rich could afford it. The poor people would have to muddle through as best they can. This is sort of what happens now. It was a real financial sacrifice for us to do this. I wondered if I would be better off renting him an aprtment and paying his utilities until he's 18. It would have been cheaper.