Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Brad S.

First of all I'd like to say thank you for providing this website for public awareness of a grim reality.

I was sent to "The Family"--that name still seems like a cruel joke to me--when I was only 13, way back in '89. Then, the focus was less on school (they had just become accredited in the few years prior to my arrival, I think) and more on forced labor, harsh discipline, and "taking one's inventory".

When I arrived I was told I would have to get my hair cut. I refused and was forced to sit in a corner of the dining area for 2 days with nothing but plain oatmeal to eat. I mean all day; Tony and Betty, the founders and then-managers -- may their souls rot --were gracious enough to let me sleep nights in a bed in one of the dorms. Finally I broke, or was broken, and consented to the haircut. I had rather long curly blonde hair, and it was summarily butchered by another resident whose haircutting experience was limited to the desecration of only a few other heads before me. And that was only my introduction to the humiliation I would endure for the next year of my stay.

Mealtimes were, by the way, an especially twisted affair. At the end of every meal the residents were called upon to bring up any "issues" needing to be addressed. ("Issues" was basically codeword for backstabbing other residents.)
Someone would be called out for some minor infraction, be made to stand in front of all present and somehow account for what they had done. (These "issues", it should be noted, could range filching a cookie from the pantry, to whistling the tune to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", to flirting with someone of the opposite sex.)

Well, Tony had this near-morbid obsession with masturbation. He seemed to believe that it was practically the root of all evil. If someone failed to "take their inventory" to his satisfaction -- well, it was as if in his mind that person's hands gleamed with the insidious act of self-stilmulation. Tony would then bellow at the floundering center of everyone's attention, demanding an admission that he or she had recently masturbated. Anyone would eventually break under that man's fury -- and everyone did. He could make a person feel so small, so weak, so worthless and humiliated.

I could go on and on and on, even though I think much of my memory of what took place is suppressed. When I was finally released, I think I lasted a month before I was drinking and doing drug more than ever before. So bottom-line: if anyone is looking for a place to send their "troubled" teen for help, I couldn't strongly enough encourage them to look elsewhere.

Submitted By: Brad S