Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Chavaya Beebee-Galvo

I would like to state that not all the staff members at the school are operating under selfish motives, there are also individuals who genuinely come to care about student's well being and discourage the harsh punishments that are so common within the walls of the FFS institution. There are certainly those who obviously take pleasure at inflicting suffering on students that they do not like, and are given absolute power to make student's lives as miserable as they wish. On the other hand, they give their "favorites" special dispensation to do things that other students cannot do, and punish them less harshly than other students. Among the individuals who engage in the negative behaviors are Ted Towsley, Audra Towsley, Paul Geer, Robin Deucey, Mike Deucey, and Rita Argiros. It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bushel, most of the staff did have the best interests of the students at heart, but if you will note, the turnover rate is very high, because many staff members were deemed too "soft" and not punishing enough, or they simply did not have the stomach for the atrocities that have been committed at the school, so they chose to leave.

I will report briefly on some of the experiences that I had while a student at the Family Foundation School. On my first day, I was lied to by my parents (who were counseled by the school to do as much), and brought to the school under false pretenses. Once in the locker room, I started towards the door, and was immediately slammed against the ground with two female staff members and two male staff members on top of me. I had no forewarning that this would happen if I moved towards the door, they simply jumped on me. I was scared, and they were cutting my air supply off. After a few minutes, I was let up and forced to continue inprocessing.

The same night that I was inprocessed, I began to notice something very strange: All the young people at the school talked the same, walked the same, moved alike, and it seemed that the ones who chose to be themselves were consigned to sitting in the corner facing a wall, removed from the general population, or standing outside in the freezing hallway eating either plain tuna fish and water, or nothing at all. So, I began talking, moving and acting like all the other students so that I would not have to sit in a corner, or worse yet, haul buckets of gravel back and forth on a worksanction. Everyone knew that everyone else was full of shit, but we were all too scared to say anything about what we really thought.

The months went by, and I began to run on anxiety. Five minutes to get to class, no time to go to the bathroom, one study hall to do homework, table topics, picking up other students that were deemed a "threat," complete lack of privacy, being punished through food deprivation, constant fear of being resigned to the corner or put on exile, constant yelling, kids running away in the middle of the night, everything was extremely stressful. It was just too much. In fact, I believe that my problems with high blood pressure were caused by those two years of my life that I was shut inside the Family School.

I don't believe that in a long-term placement facility, it is right to have such complete autonomy over the lives of hundreds of teenagers. The punishments, had they been meted out by parents, would have resulted in the involvement of child protective services. I simply do not believe that starving, forcibly restraining, or locking children up in a tiny cubicle letting them urinate and vomit on themselves is the answer to drug addiction or alcoholism. In fact, 90% of graduates from the Family Foundation School "relapse" into the same behavior, but many times the addiction is exacerbated by the treatment that they have received at the school.

I hope that the suffering of hundreds of children and teenagers can come to light and aid in closing this establishment's doors for once and for all, ending the profit that a select few administrators are making from what can only be termed as child abuse.

I was at the school from 2003 to 2005, I never experienced hitting or slapping but I was manhandled on one occasion, resulting in bruises on my arms, and I was denied proper nutrition on several occasions. There were several occurences in which I was severely and publicly humiliated by staff members, as well as two work sanctions in which I was forced to work from 7:15AM to 6:30PM, during one I contracted bronchitis and complained of dizziness and shortness of breath several times before collapsing due to neglect of my illness.

In addition, I have eye-witnessed several abusive situations that took place at the school, including peer bullying that was encouraged and kids locked into tiny rooms and not even being allowed out to use the bathroom

Chavaya BeeBee-Galvo