Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Charlie Carson

My name is Charlie Carson and I was an enrolled student at the family foundation school from December 21, 2007 to December 23, 2008

Everything that I am about to say about the family school is true, but many of my fellow students did not have as horrible of an experience as me as you may hear from various other people. I believe that the experience that I had at the Family School was worsened by me and my family's religious views (I am an atheist and my parents are Unitarian Universalists), and my general knowledge of the various types of behavior modification therapy that I had prior to coming to the family school, and my refusal to comply with the peer to peer confrontational structure of the "therapeutic treatment" used at the school.

For the majority of the year 2007 I was using marijuana and amphetamines heavily and had been sent to a hospital and participated in an outpatient treatment program. After a couple months of sobriety my parents still weren't convinced that I had what it took to stay sober so they enrolled me in the Family Foundations School.

On December 21, 2007 my dad picked me up from the public high school which I had been attending about an hour early. He told me that he was taking me Christmas shopping. He took me to a very far away mall and bought me a bunch of winter clothes that I desperately needed. Not what every person would put on their Christmas list, but I was very happy with the clothes after spending most of the winter walking around outside in t-shirts. Anyway, on the way back from the mall he asked me if I wanted to take a look a boarding school since things weren’t going very well for me at public high school, well besides my 3.4 GPA. I told him that I wasn’t interested but he told me that it would be selfish of me to not look at it after he just took me Christmas shopping and I couldn’t really argue with that.

After about an hour of driving, two mountains came into my field of vision on the foggy horizon. I felt nauseous and told my dad that I had a really bad feeling about the whole idea of visiting a school in the middle of the mountainous woods, but he assured me that the school was really nice and worth the long drive.

When we arrived at the school two students greeted my car before either my dad or I had the chance to get out of it. They asked my dad “so where’s his stuff?” and my dad replied “in the trunk.” I took one look at my dad and started to cry. “You’re not really doing this to me are you?” I questioned him. He replied “yes, you knew this would eventually happen.” At that moment an angry looking redhead, (who I would later know as Tommy Cummings), stomped over to my car and commanded me to get out. I asked him who the fuck he thought he was, and got the feeling that if I didn’t he would probably smash me window in and yank me out of the seat so I listened to him. Once I got out of the car onto the snowy pavement a feeling of panic overcame me and I started walking around in circles muttering nonsense under my breath and trying to think of a way to resolve the quandary in front of me without completely losing my mind.

Tommy told me in a snidely sarcastic voice “it’s not so bad here, let’s get out of the cold and step inside.” “I’m going to be your new sponsor.” He then extended his hand to me and I felt something inside my head loose all control. Seemingly without any conscious control I felt myself running towards the woods. As I looked over my shoulder Tommy Cummings, my dad, and the two students were quickly getting smaller as I ran farther and farther away.

I obviously won’t write everything that happened after I escaped, but there are some things that are important to include giving people an idea about the truth of the Family School. I ran through the woods and eventually came to an area with about 20 cabins/houses. I knocked on every single door telling my sob story of being tricked into enrollment at a school. People at 14 of the 20 houses were home, and of those 14 people 13 of them told me to “march my ass back to that school.” The person at the other house told me that he didn’t even own a phone. It was obvious to me at that time that the town and the school functioned as on unit and worked together to keep students from escaping. My horror reached such a level that I passed out in the snow for about an hour. Eventually Tommy Cummings and his “rescue van” found me and brought me back to the school.

The horrors I faced at the Family School are so many that I could probably fill an entire book about them so I will only write a small bit about them and give a few examples.

For one thing I was very against surrendering all of my thoughts to their program or Trinitarian God Complex, so I quickly found myself denied of every imaginable right. I spent most of my time sitting in a chair facing a corner. They took my shoes and I had to walk through the winter snow in sandals. I would spend hours at a sitting facing the corner of the room. Something that I didn’t understand or pick up on really quickly was that I needed to raise my hand to talk or move my head. If I did manage to get permission to use the bathroom I had to have too other students go with me into the 6x8 bathroom with no stalls or urinals. This was very difficult for me, perhaps more so than for others because I was sexually abused at a military school that I attended as a child.

These two people followed me around and the combination of the sandals and them was supposed to erase any hope of getting out from my head.

My first night the school made a mistake about the medication that I was supposed to be on and put me on 20 milligrams of Zyprexa, a powerful antipsychotic that has many dangerous side effects on a person’s metabolism and weight. I gained 65 pounds in my first 3 months and had stretch marks all over my body. The nurses started to worry about the potential lawsuits that they could face if I died so they did some blood tests on me. I was 5’7 140 lbs. when I arrived at the Family School in December, and by March I weighed 195 lbs., and had the cholesterol of a 55 year old obese diabetic. I wasn’t allowed to exercise at all, so I was just punished for eating excessively, and my cholesterol continued to skyrocket to nearly fatal levels, until I refused to take their pill at the end of March.

For most of my stay at the Family School I was only allowed to speak to or even look at 5 or 6 of the nearly 200 students which was debasing and caused me a lot of depression and anxiety. I was suicidal for the first 4 months of my stay, and the only help or counseling that I got for it was the taunting and ridicule of the staff and the lectures from the students about how selfish and un-Christian suicide is. There was a time when I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, and people had to act as though I didn’t exist.

The staff at the Family School decided that my views about religion were dangerous and unnecessary and dangerous, so I was no longer allowed to discuss religion or philosophy when I was permitted to talk to people at all. It may sound to the reader that all of the rules regarding what I can or can’t say and think would be easy enough to not follow but this was not the case. If a student blatantly refused to follow the rules the students who wanted to keep their rights and dignity were ordered to isolate and estrange them. I repeatedly had my so called friends tell me they were sorry, but they couldn’t have anything to do with me until I gave in and started to do and believe as I was told to.

The staff at the school decided that the emotional damage wasn’t effective enough to motivate me, so they decided that perhaps permanently ruining my high school transcript would do a better job. I was taken out of class and forced to do meaningless repetitive tasks all day and after around 3 months of not attending school I failed every single class. A nearly perfect high school transcript now permanently ruined.

The last thing which I would like to discuss was a onetime situation which I believe to be illegal on many different levels, but I was denied access to any emergency services or any type of protective hotline for minors under abuse.

On a sunny May afternoon I saw one of my fellow students decided to stop going to class and sit out in the sun protesting the general tyranny of the school in a way similar to how sit-ins were conducted in the 1960’s. It seemed like a great idea, so I immediately left class and went outside to join him. After being outside for around an hour the staff got worked into frenzy because there was now a chance that more and more students could join us, and disrupt the very fabric of our horrible existences.

Tommy Cummings and his band of thug-like staff surrounded me and told me that I had 5 seconds to get up and go back to class. I just calmly sat in my place and said nothing to them. They all looked at each other, nodded, and in a united effort hoisted me up and dragged me from the grass outside into the school hallway, and then into the 6x8 triple padlocked door known as the isolation room. Tommy Cummings threw me into the wall of the isolation room, which I hit with a thud leaving me with an instantaneous bruise. He then said he needed to check me for weapons, a ludicrous idea since I had been at their very secure school for over 6 months and the time.

His weapon check included stripping me of all of my clothes and taking them somewhere that I could not see since I was now locked in the isolation room. I was left completely naked sitting on an ice cold floor with no chairs for about 5 minutes. There was a camera in the room the whole time pointed at me and I found this extremely humiliating, especially after the sexual abuse that I endured earlier in life. 5 minutes later he brought only my boxers back and with a smile told me “someone has to be made into the example for everyone else to see, and who makes a better example than you?” He then sneered at me and walked away.

The isolation room is supposed to be only intended for use on students who are violent and are “an immediate threat to themselves or others”, yet I was sitting non-violently outside on the grass. I was also told very explicitly by an adamant Tommy Cummings that the only reason I was in the room was to serve as an example for other students. Despite my calm demeanor the entire time that I was in the room, I spent from 3:00 pm one day until 10:00 am the next morning in “the box” wearing only my boxers the entire time. When night came I was given a moldy mattress and an unclean blanket with hundreds of holes in it. The laboratory lights in the isolation room did not turn off at light, and neither did the camera. When I asked how I was supposed to sleep with a light shining directly in my eyes I was told to put the blanket over my head. I did but this did not block out the light since the blanket had hundreds of holes in it.

Later that night I started to hyperventilate and pleaded the guard to let me out, but he said “tough luck kid, don’t do the crime next time”, and left for the night. I spent the whole night thinking and hoping that I would suffocate and die, but I did not.

The next day I talked to one of the higher up staff, Mike Ducey, and told him about all of the horrible things that had happened to me hoping that he might care. At the end of my explanation I basically told him that what had to be illegal in many ways. His response to that was “oh… so you want to use the law?” “Well fuck the law, you didn’t care about it before you came to this school, and it’s not going to save you now!”……

I’m pretty sure that one statement from Mike broke all the remaining hope and life inside of me… nothing has been the same since I went to the Family School and I often find that I have no will to live, but at least for today I am alive.

Submitted By: Charlie Carson