From The Blog

r/TroubledTeens: Diamond Ranch Academy Survivor Speaks Out

r/TroubledTeens: Diamond Ranch Academy [–]isabellabee[S] “Hi my names Bella and i’m a “survivor” of a “therapeutic...

r/TroubledTeens: Diamond Ranch Academy

[–]isabellabee[S]

“Hi my names Bella and i’m a “survivor” of a “therapeutic boarding school.” The name is Diamond Ranch Academy. I’ve been out for over a year now and not a day goes by that i don’t think about that horrifying, degrading, detrimental place. It kills me knowing there’s kids still trapped in there without any way out.”

[–]rjm2013

Hey, thanks for coming to talk to us. You are always welcome.

Can I ask why you were sent there? Were you kidnapped by hired goons? If so, how was that experience?

Could you tell us more about what you experienced there? Were you there when a boy committed suicide?

[–]isabellabee[S]

Of course. I was sent there for disobedience in regards to my parents. Along with minor drug use, very bad grades, and i just had a lot of party habits. i arrived the day before the boy committed suicide. Yes, one large scary man and one woman came into my house at 3 in the morning and dragged me by the arms into their car. I lived in Arizona at the time so the drive was ten hours. They refused to stop for me to use the bathroom and also refused me any kind of food. They also wouldn’t tell me where we were going and made me shut up the entire way there. The experience was traumatizing and still haunts me. At the time i thought me and my mom were getting robbed and i was getting kidnapped. Upon entering they stripped searched me, made me take off my makeup, and take out my few piercings. They put two needles in my arm, i can’t remember if it was to test me for something or put something in me. They gave me no choice. Then i was put in O&A (observation and assessment) which is now called orientation. In there i had to ask permission to sit, stand, speak, put chapstick on, ect. We were monitored 24/7 even while sleeping. They put me on “run watch” as they do for most when they first enter. They didn’t let me outside for 42 days. All i saw was white walls. They made us clean everything, over and over for absolutely no purpose. We basically had no rights at all and i felt like i was five years old. If you didn’t comply with the staffs directives they would restrain you. I didn’t wanna cooperate with sweeping the boys weight room on christmas of 2013 because i had been cleaning the entire day. Because i wouldn’t continue sweeping, two large men came over to me and applied a large amount of force on my wrists for about five minutes until i was in hysterics begging them to stop. My right wrist hurt for months.

[–]isabellabee[S]

I was half way through my freshman year of high school when i entered. Since my grades weren’t 80 percent or above they made me restart the entire year over. they gave us fake citations for every possible thing we could do wrong. such as talking without permission, cursing, glorifying, inappropriate behavior, wasting food (not eating all your food), and there were probably 60 more. if you got a certain amount you failed your day which just means another day on your program. the systems they had in place were insanely degrading. if you failed a day or your hole week you felt like that was a week wasted of your life. One girl, Pamela, has been in DRA for over three years because of failed weeks. She has several mental problems and DRA has done absolutely nothing to help her. She’s sitting in there rotting and her parents are brainwashed thinking she’s getting the help she needs. We were forced to eat the disgusting food they served us every day regardless if we wanted it or not. We got three minutes in the shower which eventually progressed to five minutes. If they felt you were suicidal you were put on suicide watch and were forced to sleep in the hallway on the floor under lights with staff hovering over you making sure you didn’t move incorrectly. I got strip searched three times a day every day for 42 days. All the doors were locked and the staff were the only ones with access to the keys. If you tried to escape the program staff would chase after you until they tackled you down and you would have to restart the entire program.

[–]isabellabee[S]

programs generally lasted 10 months, but you had the opportunity to be out in seven and a half which was nearly impossible. Most kids just can’t follow the rules because the rules are simply ridiculous and unorthodox. So some are stuck there until they’re eighteen and can sign themselves out. i didn’t speak to my parents until i was out of O&A which was 42 days after i arrived. My first phone call was monitored by my therapist. i tried to explain to my parents what was going on and as soon as i started crying she hung up the phone. I didn’t get another phone call until my therapist thought i was “ready” which really just meant until she thought i wouldn’t try and voice the truth to my parents. We were allowed to write letters but any negativity or manipulation sensed in the letters would cause the staff reading it to flag it. which means it goes through a youth detection counselor, your therapist, the front desk, and the (in my case) girl’s campus leader. half my letters never got to my parents.

[–]OilRigDad302

This…. This is absolutely horrific! It’s kinda hard to take in and believe! I’m not for a moment doubting you but realizing how ignorant I am that this still goes on these days. It sounds like back in the day when people would institutionalized for the least little thing.

How are they getting away with this? How did they manage to literally, physically drag you from your home in the dead of the night? How can parents not just allow, but put their kids through this? I’m at a loss for words here.

[–]rjm2013

It is perfectly legal to do all of this in the United States unfortunately. If you’d like a documentary to watch on it, look on YouTube for ‘Kidnapped for Christ’.

[–]OilRigDad302

I’m at work for a few weeks just now and the Internet is rubbish and filtered but I swear I will when I get home.

I know there are camps and such for unruly kids but this is extreme as hell. Legal or not, anybody comes to my home like that and they are in for a surprise.

[–]rjm2013

I think you’ll get a shock when you see the documentary. Kids can be sent away for anything: not doing chores, wearing makeup, dating a person their parents don’t like, not liking mom’s/dad’s new boyfriend/girlfriend, not believing in god, not going to church, being LGBT, and the list goes on. Most people assume we’re all drug addicts, criminals, or violent. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mind you, bear in mind that because cameras are around the staff in the documentary are not at their worst; when the cameras leave is what you need to think about. Are you in the US?

[–]OilRigDad302

I live in the US yes but I’m abroad working at the moment, I’m also not an actual American but a transplant which may explain my ignorance towards the whole issue.

Going by that list of reasons, I should have been locked up for life as a teen, this is insane.

[–]ItalianDragonAn Ally from Europe

I second u/rjm2013 ‘s post: prepare for quite a shock. If you want to learn more about those shitholes (sorry I can’t refer to these “schools” without being vulgar) there are links in this subreddit and we can link you to other websites dedicated to help troubled teens 😉

[–]OilRigDad302

I’m all for helping troubled teens. I subscribed to this subreddit because I have a teen who has been somewhat troubled a little. Did not expect to learn of these shitholes (totally agree with you).

[–]ItalianDragonAn Ally from Europe

If you’re fluent in French I suggest you watch the documentary “Les enfants perdus de Tranquility Bay” (“The lost children of Tranquility Bay”). It’s a gut-wrenching but excellent documentary about the TTI. In fact I might as well create English subs for it so that people from this subreddit can watch it as well (although it will probably feel weird as all the protagonists speak english and said english has french dubbed over 😛 ).

EDIT: I started working on subtitles for the aforementioned documentary. Once I’m done with that I’ll upload them somewhere and have them linked in this subreddit for everyone 🙂

[–]rjm2013

That would be amazing!

[–]ItalianDragonAn Ally from Europe

I’m working on the subtitles ^ ^ I’ve done a bit of it but it’s rather long so it’ll take me a while to do the entire documentary but I’ll get there. Plus it’s good practice for me (I’m working towards a Master’s Degree in Applied Languages).

[–]rjm2013

That’s OK. It’s bound to take a lot of time. The master’s degree is impressive! I used to know a lot of French, but I can hardly remember a word now.

[–]rjm2013

Thanks very much for sharing that.

Diamond Ranch have tried to cover up everything to do with the suicide. Could you tell us everything you know about it? I ask only because it’s important to fight these places with facts.

[–]isabellabee[S]

This is only what i have heard. I don’t know it to be absolute facts, but i’ve heard it from several people and knowing their manipulative tactics it’s most likely true. FACTS: The boy who committed suicide hung himself with his belt during a football game DRA was having. In the commotion of getting everyone outside they left him behind upstairs in his bathroom. They have never made that mistake before because they know the first chance they get to commit suicide they will. (I have never had any sort of suicidal thoughts or feelings in my entire life until i went there. The second i left they all went away and i know for a fact unless i went back there they’ll never return. I truly would have rather been dead then spent another day in that concentration camp) This is what i’ve heard in regards to how he hung himself: They claim he did it on the shower rod and DRA supposedly replaced every shower rod in the facility so that any type of pressure put on it would cause it to collapse. Also after this incident we were no longer allowed to have belts. I’ve heard many times the truth is that he hung himself in the vent in his bathroom. I don’t really know why they would lie about the exact spot he was hanging from but thats just what i’ve heard. The boy purposely tried to get left behind that day just so he could do this… he was in the program for depression and my biggest problem is he was sixteen years old. He had sixteen other years of his life to commit suicide and he chose to do it at DRA…. clearly it was because that was the saddest and most depressing point in his life. Yet DRA is said to be uplifting and positive throughout the entire journey.


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