A letter to promoters of "Teen Help"
By Jordan Riak, November 2, 2006

Dear _________:

I am contacting you because you have a link on your Web site directing readers to "Teen Help," which is a storefront for World Wide Association of Specialty Schools and Programs (WWASP). I am confident that when you learn more about that organization, you will reconsider your decision to display that link. WWASP's activities, in my opinion, constitute a most dangerous form of educational quackery.

As I see it, they hustle gullible parents whose fears for their children's welfare can be stoked by wild exaggeration and who are then ensnared in a cult-like belief system touting WWASP as the last best hope for their children's salvation. As part of the bargain, parents become partners in the rescue effort at a cost of about $40,000 per year. This absolves them of their failures as parents and assures their ongoing loyalty to the program. It's a tough contract to break since it is cemented by guilt and shame.

In much the same way that quack medical cures attract and hold true-believers, WWASP has cultivated a troop of ardent, vocal defenders -- a kind of amen chorus that snows critics and lures new customers into the fold. The organization typically shoots down criticism by insisting that its detractors and accusors can't prove their claims and/or that they are liars, and by presenting a collection of glowing testimonials from contented customers. Notably missing is any independent corroboration of their program's alleged benefits.

This educational model has its philosophical roots in the defunct and discredited abusive rehab programs which emerged in the 70's such as The Seed and Straight, Inc., which a 1979 US Senate report likened to "brain washing" used by the North Koreans on their prisoners of war.

Boot camp educational methodology includes some or all of the following key elements:

1) Loss of freedom without due process

2) Holding the subject incommunicado

3) Ignoring individual medical needs

4) Failure to meet minimal educational needs

5) Infliction of punishment without due process

Punishments include:
a) Solitary confinement

b) Punitive restriction of movement including prone restraint that interferes with respiration and prolonged forcibly maintained stress positions

c) Sleep deprivation

d) Privacy deprivation

e) Personal hygiene deprivation

f) Forced calisthenics

g) Inadequate hydration

h) Inadequate diet

i) Verbal assault (threats, humiliation)

j) Pepper spray

k) Physical assault and beating

A regimen including the above-listed abuses quickly wears down the resistance of even the most physically fit and emotionally resilient individual, reducing him or her to a state of exhaustion, confusion, desperation and suggestibility. The goal, stated in the abuser's terms, is to teach "respect for authority." With teens, many of whom are neither fit nor resilient, the job is easy. In effect, such a system sets out to induce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in its victims and then misrepresents it as a cure.

For your information, I've listed below just a few of the articles on our Web site that relate to WWASP schools. If you have the time and interest, you'll find many more on that general topic on the pages, "Boot Camp for Kids: Torturing Teens for Fun and Profit," at nospank.net/boot.htm .

Thank you for your kind attention.


Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)

"Can I Trust Them? My Experience of Teen Help / WWASP / ASI / Resource Realizations / "Discovery" Seminar, and Results of Subsequent Research,"
A personal account by Kendall Ross Bean, January 1998

"BREAKING THE VOW OF SECRECY: A true story about Teen Help / WWASP,"
By Karen Lile, January 1998

"Breaking Down Our Kids; Child Abuse for Profit is Occurring in America"
By Joshua Chiappelli, www.dissidentvoice.org, April 20, 2006

Maia Szalavitz’s Presentation to The Cato Foundation"
April 20, 2006

"No More Nightmares at Tranquility Bay?"
By John Gorenfeld, AlterNet, January 23, 2006

"Rough Love: Kids from South Florida and beyond are sent to Jamaica to straighten up. Or else."
By Joanne Green, Miami New Times, June 22, 2006

"Controversy Surrounds Tranquility Bay"
By Basia Pioro, Caymanian Compass, July 13, 2006
SOURCE: http://www.caycompass.com/cgi-bin/CFPnews.cgi?ID=1014776


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