Turns out you’re a miserable lot, readers of Leaving Fundamentalism. Monday’s blog post was the biggest piece of good news I’ve ever posted, and it was the least popular blog of the year. So alright, fine. Have some bad news. And some good news: you can help.
14-year-old Skyler is being held at Marvelous Grace Girls’ Academy in Pace, Florida (MGGA). Her parents are divorced, and her father has put Skyler in the home against her mother’s wishes. Her mother, Silke Matero, has a custody/visitation order to see her daughter. MGGA, however, refuses to let Silke see Skyler. It’s a residential reform home for ‘rebellious’ girls, and during their year-long stay, girls have no contact with outsiders except through letters and phone calls which are monitored by staff.
EDIT: Silke informs me that girls can receive visits from family after four months, if they have received no demerits. My own experience in an ACE school suggests that going four months without demerits is no mean feat, however.
MGGA is one of the ‘troubled teen’ reform homes I’ve blogged so much about. The existence of these homes is a stain on the free world. In fact, if people who are supportive of normal ACE schools would speak out against them, it would do their cause a great deal of good. Right now, their silence (and ACE’s supplying of curriculum to places like Marvelous Grace and Hephzibah House) looks a lot like complicity.
The home is on the grounds of the former New Beginnings Girls Academy, a place with survivor stories that will make your blood alternately boil and run cold. This is from the first entry on the “Stop NBGA” survivor stories page. It doesn’t get better from here:
There was a little girl with serious mental health problems. She was about 12 when she came in and was on a bunch of medication for her problems that she truly needed. They took her off all meds and said they could help her better than the medicine. She always looked like she didn’t know what was going on and she didn’t understand why they were treating her the way they did. I remember one time where myself and other girls and staff members were made to stay up with her until about 4 in the morning and force her to stand in a circle of masking tape on the floor. If she got out of the circle or didn’t comply then we had to push her back in.
If she kept misbehaving then we had to put her into an ice cold shower with all her clothes on while she screamed. She was always in trouble and yelled at for no reason at all. You could tell that there was something wrong with her and that was not the place she needed to be. She couldn’t even talk that well and we could barely ever understand what she was saying sometimes. They pretty much just treated her like crap and blamed her for it because she wasn’t “right with God” according to them. It was awful and I felt very bad for her.
I’ve recently posted a lot about Christian reform schools, but most of the ones we’ve discussed have been closed. Here’s one that’s still operating. Got seven minutes? This video from CNN will bring you up to speed.