iamond Ranch Academy Survivor Survey – Hayden H.
Date of Submission: 10-27-13
Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators? – Yes.
Age and year of admittance – 14- October 27, 2013
How long was your stay at D.R.A.? – 7 Months and 3 weeks (31 weeks)
How long have you been back home? – 9 months
Did you graduate from DRA? – No.
Before the program did you have a serious drug problem? Please describe severity – No. None.
Before the program were you admitted to any other residential treatment, for instance a mental hospital? – No. Never.
Before the program did you have a criminal record or spend time in Juvenile Hall? – No. Never.
Where you court ordered, or did your parents choose to send you to DRA? – My parents sent me.
Did you consent to treatment at DRA? Did you sign a contract? – No.
Was there a medical admissions process? Please describe – They took blood multiple times as well as a TB (Tuberculosis) Injection test.
Were your medical records considered before you were admitted into DRA? – No. I was forced a prescription drug (20mg Vyvance) for the first 2 months. No way of getting off Vyvance.
Were you strip searched? How many times? – Maybe 6 times? 1 Entry search as well as 5 searches after visits.
How much was your tuition? According to my dad, $7,000 a month for almost 8 months. (31 weeks)
Considering how much your tuition cost, Do you think you were given an adequate education at DRA.? – Definitely not. When I got back home in California, I was extremely behind academically.
In your opinion were the teachers, good teachers? Did they have degrees and certifications? – No. Unknown. I do know it is a lot easier to get a job as a teacher in a program/treatment center facility, than a real school.
Were your tests open book, multiple choice tests? Would you consider them easy to pass? – Not easy. But possible.
How many school credits did you earn in what period of time? – Unknown. I did pass freshman year in about 8 months.
Did you receive a diploma from DRA? – Academic diploma, yes.
Was a certified medical professional available to students at their request? – Yes, but not at request. An appointment must be made. Students requests were low priority.
Were proper check ups, dental cleaning, and medication observation appointments held regularly? – No. Never once got a check up or a dental cleaning in the 31 weeks I was there. Rarely, a medication observation appointment.
If you got sick were you given adequate treatment and rest? – In “sick bay.” An area cut off from anyone. Dark room with no windows or any entertainment. Felt like a “quarantine.”
Were you ever refused medical care because staff said that you were “faking it”? – Oh yes. If you felt sick in any way, it did not matter unless you had a temperature.
Was a medical service offered for drug detox or drug rehabilitation? – Minimal.
Was there any kind of “Drug Education” available for students who had used drugs in the past? – For kids ages 15-18 only although kids 12-14 have had problems with Cannabis and Alcohol.
What is the name of your case manager/ “Therapist”? Did they have degrees/ licenses? What were their qualifications before taking the job at DRA? – Brent and Cassie. Yes. Yes.
Was group therapy considered to be of a confrontational nature? – They were a bit too direct and intense to people who needed help.
Do you feel you were forced to confess to things you did not do in order to progress in the program? – Yes. They also promised confidentiality yet my parents viewed all forms and questionnaires.
Were students encouraged to accept that they were alcoholics or drug addicts? Was this required to advance in the program? – They were to accept that they have problems in their life and not to deny anything in order to advance.
Were students encouraged to follow a 12 step program in order to earn levels and graduate the program – Some. Those who were engaged in drug and alcohol issues.
Were students encouraged to accept a “higher power” contingent to their recovery? – It was encouraged upon the students as the school was based on Mormon principals.
In your opinion, How was the food quality? Was it prepared properly? Were safety and health codes followed in the kitchen? – Food quality was very poor. I lost 40 lbs and aquired an eating disorder simply because the food was such low quality.
Food was prepared not made.
Minimal safety and health codes followed.
Did you ever go hungry? Were you given proper portions? Was food ever withheld as a punishment? – Yes. Yes. Good food was withheld as a punishment.
Did you gain a lot of weight? Were you forced to eat more than you were able to eat? – During the beginning (O&A) yes.
Were you ever punished for vomiting? – If they felt like it was in any way on purpose, yes.
Please describe the “homeless” (Observation & Assessment) experience. How did you feel about this? – They strip you of all privileges (talking, doing anything without permission. They force you to feel like you are nothing and you are the lowest of the lows. They show you that you are nothing and you have no choice in your life. Everything in your life was decided by the staff. You had no choice and they made sure you knew that.
Were upper levels or any level students asked to babysit the staff’s children, or taken to the staff’s house for any extended period of time? – No.
Where you aware of anyone being restrained and isolated from the group? – Yes. I witnessed the restraining of an autistic child (Caiden B.) multiple times. I was very emotional to see the pain of this child. He was 12 years old)
What reasons were these people restrained? (please describe actual events) – Not going to RFI (punishment group), not being calm verbally. Harming anyone or threatening to harm anyone or attempting to harm anyone.
Where stress positions utilized? Were there more time in isolation given if the student would move, cry or speak? – Yes. If you were restrained and fought back, pain would be inflicted harder and longer.
(Please describe the rules and structure that would pertain to a level 1 student.)
Was contact with your parents limited? Where your letters (to and from) intercepted? Were your letters opened, read, crossed out or cut? – I could talk to my parents for exactly 1 hour every 2 weeks.
I could write a letter 5 days a week but they were not always sent through due to material within them that could have been seen as manipulative and/or disrespectful.
All outgoing and incoming letters were read and/or flagged.
Some letters would not be sent or I could not read.
How long before you were able to speak to your parents on the phone? Were your phone calls monitored? – 1 hour every 2 weeks. Your assigned therapist could speak during the call or hang up the call as he or she desired.
If you felt you were being abused, was there anyway you could get to a phone and have a private conversation with your parents, child services or an officer of the law? – No. Almost all phones in building were on a closed circuit (only able to talk to other phones in the building).
If you wanted to leave were you discouraged to tell your parents how you felt? Were you afraid that you would be punished if you were to describe any incidents of abuse to your parents? –
Were there other students (upper levels) assigned to watch over you? What was their role? Did they give you consequences/ “hold you accountable”? Were they instructed to restrain you or monitor the isolation area, bathrooms and showers? – If they were in the top 2 levels (Director or Graduate) students could monitor your actions and report to staff.
Did you have to raise your hand and wait to ask permission from staff (or upper levels) to speak, stand, eat, go to the bathroom and do other normal activities? – During O&A or RFI, yes.
How often were you allowed to speak freely? Were you not allowed to speak with others in your group? – During certain times such as dorm time. Never in hallways or in class.
Never any talking in O&A or RFI.
Did you have to walk in line? How often? Were there consequences if you did not line up properly? – Whenever in hallways.
Would you be given a consequence if you forgot something? (for instance, a pen or a book) – Yes.
Were your personal items inspected by other students? (upper levels?) without your consent or presence? – Anything you own could be seen by anyone.
(Please describe the rules and structure that would pertain to an “upper level” student.)
What were the requirements in order to progress in the level system? Was approval from the other upper levels required? – Yes. You needed permission from upper levels (recommendations) to advance.
What kind of staff responsibilities were upper levels given? – To “hold students acountable”
Were upper levels required to give out consequences, citations or to hold lower levels accountable for minor rule violations? – No.
Were the rules upper levels enforced specific to the rule book or were the definitions of those rules assumed? Could rules easily be made up or given under a category that was vague enough to be given out for any number of things? – Yes.
Were you punished/ held back if you chose not to pass out citations, and opted to verbally warn students instead? – Yes.
Did an upper level have to power to influence a child being taken to the isolation room? Were upper levels instructed to watch or participate in restraints? – Yes.
Were upper levels required to give visiting parents a glowing testimonial of their experience in the program, or make testimonial videos or letters? Were pre-written scripts required to be read during the filming of promotional videos? – Yes.
What would happen if an upper level student mentioned anything bad about the program in front of a parent? Were students afraid of punishment if they told the truth? – They would be put into a punishment group. RFI.
How easily could an upper level get dropped (start the program over)? What infractions would make an upper level drop and what level did they usually go back to? – Yes. Easily.
What are your opinions of the owners/ Directors of D.R.A? – They are in it for the money.
Do you believe that the program acting within the means of “Tough Love” was appropriate treatment for you in your adolescence? – Just tough. No love.
Do you believe that the staff and junior staff usually acted within the US standards for health, safety and well being of the students? – No
Considering long term effects, do you think your experience at DRA has an effect on your life today? Positive or negative?Some positive. Mostly negative.