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DRA Survivor Survey – Megan

Diamond Ranch Academy Survivor Survey – Megan Date of Submission: 8-21-13   Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators?...

Diamond Ranch Academy Survivor Survey – Megan

Date of Submission: 8-21-13

 

Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators? – Please contact me with further information.

 

Age and year of admittance – 16 and 2013.

 

How long was your stay at D.R.A.? – 3 months.

 

How long have you been back home? – 19 days.

 

Did you graduate from DRA? – No.

 

Before the program did you have a serious drug problem? Please describe severity – No.

 

Before the program were you admitted to any other residential treatment, for instance a mental hospital? – No.

 

Before the program did you have a criminal record or spend time in Juvenile Hall? – No.

 

Where you court ordered, or did your parents choose to send you to DRA? – My parents chose to send me here.

 

Did you consent to treatment at DRA? Did you sign a contract? – No.

 

Was there a medical admissions process? Please describe – Yes, they had to contact my mom about what medication I took, although it should have been apart of the admittance form and ready for when I got there.

 

Were your medical records considered before you were admitted into DRA? – Don’t think so.

 

Were you strip searched? How many times? – YES. for 16 days straight 3 times a day.

 

How much was your tuition? 23,400

 

Considering how much your tuition cost, Do you think you were given an adequate education at DRA.? –

 

In your opinion were the teachers, good teachers? Did they have degrees and certifications? – No, they were not. They spent their time on their phones or debating about why this should be a “good school”. They had 1 certification teacher-wise.

 

Were your tests open book, multiple choice tests? Would you consider them easy to pass? – They were multiple choice and short answer, no they are not easy to pass. They put you on this new style of learning all on your own learning from the book, not with a class.

 

How many school credits did you earn in what period of time? – 2 in 3 months.

 

Did you receive a diploma from DRA? – No.

 

Was a certified medical professional available to students at their request? – Hardly, unless you were bleeding. Even throwing up they didn’t help.

 

Were proper check ups, dental cleaning, and medication observation appointments held regularly? – No.

 

If you got sick were you given adequate treatment and rest? – No, absolutely not. They put you back out in the 110 degree weather and said keep trying and drink water you’ll be fine.

 

Were you ever refused medical care because staff said that you were “faking it”? – Yes.

 

Was a medical service offered for drug detox or drug rehabilitation? – No.

 

Was there any kind of “Drug Education” available for students who had used drugs in the past? – Only if you were put in that certain group. Other than that all they said were “drugs are bad kids”.

 

What is the name of your case manager/ “Therapist”? Did they have degrees/ licenses? What were their qualifications before taking the job at DRA? – Katie. Not that I saw. They got you for your phone call every other week, if you were lucky.

 

Was group therapy considered to be of a confrontational nature? – No.

 

Do you feel you were forced to confess to things you did not do in order to progress in the program? – Yes.

 

Were students encouraged to accept that they were alcoholics or drug addicts? Was this required to advance in the program? – They were forced because we’re “here for a reason”. Yes, it was.

 

Were students encouraged to follow a 12 step program in order to earn levels and graduate the program – No.

 

Were students encouraged to accept a “higher power” contingent to their recovery? – FORCED TOO!!!!!!!!!

 

In your opinion, How was the food quality? Was it prepared properly? Were safety and health codes followed in the kitchen? – TERRIBLE. No, it was cold, undercooked, and stale. No, the dressings were months overdue on the expiration date.

 

 

Did you ever go hungry? Were you given proper portions? Was food ever withheld as a punishment? – Yes. No. Not really.

 

Did you gain a lot of weight? Were you forced to eat more than you were able to eat? – YES!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Were you ever punished for vomiting? – YES!!!!!!!

 

Please describe the “homeless” (Observation & Assessment) experience. How did you feel about this? – It was absolutely horrendous. You were just thrown there from home and then forced to not talk for 2 weeks straight and basically stay as stiff as a doll and get stripped searched more than 3 times a day everyday. You had to work in the hot heat and eat everything you had or get punished and not pass your days so you would not get out of o&a. I felt horrendous, and you couldn’t talk to your parents or anybody.

 

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! Saw it right in front of my eyes in O&A.

 

What reasons were these people restrained? (please describe actual events) – She wouldn’t put her flip flops back on and pull her split ends apart.

 

Where stress positions utilized? Were there more time in isolation given if the student would move, cry or speak? – Yes, you would get in more trouble.

 

(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? – Yes, only 1 hour phone call every other week. Yes, read by 3 people, flagged, then sent and withheld for a day.

 

How long before you were able to speak to your parents on the phone? Were your phone calls monitored? – Once you got out of O&A. Yep, you’re not allowed to speak alone.

 

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? – Nope.

 

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? – Yes, your letters were flagged. Yes.

 

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? – No.

 

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? – Yes.

 

How often were you allowed to speak freely? Were you not allowed to speak with others in your group? – Only during talk time and rec. You were not allowed to speak most times without getting a citation.

 

Did you have to walk in line? How often? Were there consequences if you did not line up properly? – Yes. To go outside and back inside. Yes, citations.

 

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? – Yes. All the time.

 

(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? – You had to be above and beyond and be a perfect fucking barbie doll.

 

What kind of staff responsibilities were upper levels given? – To “tattle” on other students.

 

Were upper levels required to give out consequences, citations or to hold lower levels accountable for minor rule violations? – Yes.

 

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? – Definitions. OH YEAH.

 

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? – No.

 

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. Basically.

 

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? – Punished, put in rfi. Not allowed visits or to talk.

 

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? – If you self harmed or had break downs. And back down to the level below them.

 

What are your opinions of the owners/ Directors of D.R.A? – The program is absolute hell and I wouldn’t send anyone there.

 

Do you believe that the program acting within the means of “Tough Love” was appropriate treatment for you in your adolescence? – NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAbsolutely not.

 

 

Considering long term effects, do you think your experience at DRA has an effect on your life today? Positive or negative?Negative, you gain many fears and nightmares.

  1. abby 23. Aug, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Hi Megan,

    I am a reporter and would really like to speak with you about your experience. I am so sorry you had to endure such abusive treatment. Let me know if you would be willing to speak with me on or off the record. Our magazine is exposing a treatment facility, and we are needing testimonies for the story.
    Thanks so much!
    Abby
    afender@starmagazine.com
    310-526-8000
    or office 323-658-2035

  2. Hayden 15. Jun, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    I was there for 9 months. worst 9 months of my life…

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