Mount Bachelor Academy regularly uses intensely humiliating tactics as treatment. For instance, in required seminars that the school calls Lifesteps, students say staff members of the residential program have instructed girls, some of whom say they have been victims of rape or sexual abuse, to dress in provocative clothing — fishnet stockings, high heels and miniskirts — and perform lap dances for male students as therapy. […]
But because the programs are privately run, what happens within their walls is largely a mystery. No one knows whether the programs succeed or fail. […]
Mount Bachelor’s executive director, Bitz, says her school uses widely accepted psychological treatments to help children overcome their problems. “We also use a psychodrama-treatment approach designed to do one or both of two things,” said Bitz in her statement, “get a student to embrace qualities of their character (such as beauty or courage) about which they have doubt or assist them in recognizing qualities that are unproductive (such as selfishness or conceit) about which they have little insight.” […]
“They told me I was dirty and I had to put mud on myself for being raped,” she said in reference to another Lifesteps session. “They basically blamed me for getting raped.”
Bitz dismissed Jane’s story and called it “very suspect” in an interview with the Bend Bulletin, which also spoke with Jane. “We know that some current students have made a conscious decision to lie about our school, hoping that it will be closed as a result, and that they would then be sent back home,” Bitz told TIME. […]
Synanon began as a drug-rehabilitation program before morphing into a controversial cult and is credited with putting forth the idea that confrontation and boot-camp-style breakdown tactics could cure teen misbehavior and addiction. Synanon’s confrontational techniques influenced est and LifeSpring, which began selling weekend seminars designed to prompt emotional breakthroughs in participants.
Interesting article on a number of levels:
1) The potential Synanon-inspired abuse of kids right here in Oregon.
2) The implications of the court case for students and school districts.
3) Problems with private schools in general.
4) Problems with public schools, education, and therapy in general.