Schools, camps, "youth training" or "behavior modification" programs with any of the following characteristics absolutely should be avoided. They are dangerous to your child's health.

Compiled by Jordan Riak , June 2001

  1. Parents are required to sign a "contract" that transfers to the school extraordinary rights over the child. The primary purpose of this requirement is to create the illusion that the school's authority over the child is absolute. There is a secondary motive: it plays to some parents' fervent desire to be relieved of parental responsibility.

  2. The school provides an "escort service" to transport the child to the facility -- by force if necessary.

  3. Parents are not allowed to drop in at the school for an unannounced visit.

  4. Children do not have free access to a telephone. Periodic telephone conversations between parent and child are rigidly scheduled and are monitored by school staff. Mail to and from the child is screened.

  5. Personal music is forbidden. Reading matter that is not part of the school's program is forbidden.

  6. The school is a prison-like locked facility with electronic motion sensors and "panic bars" on outside doors.

  7. The school may employ people who have direct responsibility for children but have no formal training or qualifications. It is not unusual for certain students who have adapted well to remain as staff and eventually to join the network of 'professionals' who circulate to other, similar insitutions.

  8. The school uses physical punishment including: spanking or paddling, punitive restriction of movement, mechanical restraints, isolation, forced labor, forced exercise, restriction of normal bodily functions such as eating, rest and waste elimination.

  9. The school induces dangerous levels of stress and disorientation by such means as forced marches, forced calisthenics, forced hiking combined with sleep deprivation and dangerously restricted diets.

  10. The school subjects students to insulting, invasive and humiliating harangues which it terms, among other things: "counseling," "guidance," "therapy," "behavior modification," "training," "the healing process."

  11. The school encourages students to follow caretakers' cues in scapegoating selected targets, i.e., approved bullying. The behavior is rewarded.

  12. The school actively discourages the development of lasting friendships between students. There are no formal class reunions or alumni associations apart from "survivors" groups.

  13. Student activity, including relaxation and sleep, is monitored 24 hours per day.

  14. The usual holiday visits home, e.g., Christmas and Thanksgiving, are not permitted.
See Teen Busting.

See "Letter to a supporter of boot camps and wilderness programs," by Jordan Riak, August 20, 2001

"Teen Busting" and "Parents Beware" are now combined and offered in booklet form and can be obtained by sending your mailing address to Alternatively, requests can be mailed to PTAVE, P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507-7033 or phoned to 925-831-1661. Specify by title: Teen Busting. We are distributing this publication at no charge while our supply lasts.


Return to Advocacy & Protest
Return to Boot Camp for Kids: Torturing Teenagers for Fun and Profit
Return to Flogging for God
Return to Project NoSpank Table of Contents at