Monthly Archives: January 2014

A handy guide to ‘tough love’ teen reform homes

I spent some of 2013 collecting information about ‘troubled teen’ reform homes. These are usually compounds surrounded by barbed wire, where at-risk teens are sent ostensibly for a godly education. They have always been surrounded by shocking allegations of abuse and torture.

Many of them use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. Those are the ones I’ve come across in the course of my other research, so they’re the ones I’m writing about here, but they are by no means the only ones. My emphasis on ACE is not meant to imply that they are the worst or that the others are less important. If anyone has information on the others or can share a survivor story, I will gladly post it here.

In meantime, here’s a compilation of my findings so far. I trust this will be a useful resource for people seeking to raise awareness about these places or to get justice for the survivors.

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Zack Kopplin: Louisiana Public School System’s Harassment of 11-Year-Old Buddhist Student “Child Abuse” and “Potentially a Hate Crime”

Zack Kopplin is getting things done lately.

CenLamar

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of parents Scott and Sara Lane, filed suit against the Sabine Parish School Board, Sabine Parish Superintendent of Education Sara Ebarb (pictured at left), Negreet High School Principal Gene Wright, and Negreet High School teacher Rita Roark for religiously harassing and intimidating their young son. The case is horrifying and cringe-worthy, and it reveals a culture of intolerance, ignorance, and bigotry. I’ll get to the specific details of this case in a moment, but first, it’s worth noting: As appalling as the details of this specific case are, none of this should be too surprising.

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I have been covering these issues for years now, and despite the repeated protestations of Governor Bobby Jindal, Superintendent John White, and members of the Louisiana Senate Education Committee- most notably Senator Conrad Appel, it has always seemed abundantly obvious that they have absolutely no respect…

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News from a spy in the ACE camp

Every now and then I get an email from someone who is currently in Accelerated Christian Education and hating it. In some ways, these emails are tragic. I think it always sucks when children are given a deficient education, but it’s worse when there’s an alternative available and it’s against the child’s express wishes. In other ways, they’re kind of awesome. It gives me hope that the ACE indoctrination program isn’t working, and it means these students won’t have so much unlearning to do later in life.

Tyler Stoltzfus is the most articulate of the students I know combating the system from within. This is his story.

Tyler Stoltzfus

Tyler Stoltzfus (photo credit: Michael’s Portraits)

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Motley Crue and Christian Fundamentalists would get on great

I love Mötley Crüe. They were one of the bands that were instrumental in helping me to break out from the fundamentalist bubble I grew up in. “Dr Feelgood” was incredible; it made the Christian music I used to love seem anaemic and pathetic by comparison. And when I finally got to the point where I could sing “Shout at the Devil” without fearing that I might burn in hell, it was a huge personal breakthrough.

Mötley Crüe promote violence against women in their lyrics and in their live shows. I call myself a feminist now, and I can’t make excuses for them. But what shocks me now is how for so many years I didn’t recognise this violence against women, because my fundamentalist upbringing had taught me not to see it.

Trigger warning for sexual violence against women. Read the rest of this entry

Even the vicar can’t stand ACE

Happy new year everyone. I hope December treated you well and you’re ready for another year of fighting the hydra that is Christian fundamentalism. I told you that this year I wanted to co-operate more with sympathetic Christians, so here’s a statement of intent: a guest post from a priest. To the kind of fundamentalists who think that baptism by sprinkling is a damnable heresy, this won’t make much difference. But to parents who are on the fence about whether to choose Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), or to those who believe that this website is simply a crusade to destroy religious freedom, I hope this will make you think twice.

Today’s post is by the Reverend Oliver Harrison, vicar at Holy Trinity Wilnecote, an Anglican church. Oliver enjoys shaving and dislikes ACE. Say hi everyone.

Oliver Harrison

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