Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Matt Mantone

What I have to share today is truth about what I saw happen to
other people at the Family Foundation School, and how I was able to
avoid that same treatment.

When you walk into the front doors of the school, a statue of a
man holding a baby with outspread arms is there to welcome you.
Apparently this statue is not the baby Jesus, it's just a man holding a
child to symbolize family, but who is going to believe that? The Family
Foundation School is primarily Christian based, with a very strong
Catholic core. During one of the school's Family Days, my mother asked
Robin Ducy (the school principle) whether or not this was a Catholic
Institution. Robin replied by saying, "Well no, not officially," and
she added a wink of the eye.

At the time when my mother shared this with me, I was an active
member of the Catholic Church and both my mother and I were very proud
of Robin's statement. I thought this information was relevant because
this is exactly how I was able to avoid abuse at the school: by being
Catholic. You see, the Dean of Students is a Catholic Priest, the
Principle, the head of the English Department, and most of the staff
were also Catholic. The school is separated into 8 Family Groups, and
mine was Family 1. It's no lie to say that Christianity was the leading
spiritual practice in this family. Robin used to read from this book
every day before lunch and the book was about a man who died and came
back to life with stories of Jesus Christ and Hell. I realized quickly
that by acting pius I could avoid trouble. I was forced into the Church
Choir, and I chose to start as an altar boy for Father Steven (The Dean
of Students)

Because of my very close relationship with Father Steven, I was
given a level of respect that most students do not recieve. By the time
I left that school, not one staff member had 'confronted' me in over 6
months. I was the perfect student. During my entire stay I was up at
the table a total of 4 times, sat in the corner only twice, and was
never put on the ridiculous sanctions that most other students were on.
Although I was just as full of shit as everyone else around me, I put
on such a good act that nobody was wise to my antics. My stay was a
cake walk compared to those I saw suffering because they chose to hold
onto their beliefs.

The staff at the Family School are extremely biased individuals
who do not treat every student as equal. If you happened to be annoying
to the staff, or happened to be homosexual or athiest, your stay at the
school was a living hell. I witnessed a student in my family, Emil
Fischer, get treated like a dog because he was an annoying individual.
None of the staff liked the cut of his jib, and every time he was up at
the table he was shot down, put on sanctions, and told to shut up. He
also had an amazing appetite, and when the staff discovered his love
for food they put him on half portions. After a while, they took away
his food altogether, giving him the very bare minimum to survive. He
was placed on work sanction with the same meals and forced to haul
buckets of stones up and down hills all day long. I personally
witnessed a strong, healthy boy transform into a skinny, malnourished
skeleton. One day I brought Emil an extra large portion of cus cus
while he stood outdoors during the winter on what is called "Exile." To
this day I will never forget the animalistic look in his eyes when he
saw the food; he was so hungry.

Another student in my family, Jordan Bacon, was an open
homosexual, and it brings tears to my eyes to think of how we all
treated him. He was morally condemned, harrassed, made fun of, and all
of this was sanctioned by the staff. Let me be very clear here, the
students were pressured into harrassing Jordan. It wasn't only excused,
it was welcomed. During one table topic, Jordan was in tears because
the staff had, at this point, convinced him that being gay was evil,
and he just couldn't beat the demon inside him. Robin and Mike Ducy
were screaming at him in language I choose not to repeat because he
wasn't following the path they had set out to set him straight.

Similarly, a girl in my family, Amanda Irish, happened to be very
attractive. The school (specifically the women staff) could not handle
this, and were constantly doing whatever they could to turn her ugly.
She was placed on "poverty" which meant she was to dress in rags, made
to eat larger portions so she might gain weight, and constantly
harrassed, being told she was shaking her ass for all the boys. One day
Robin Ducy asked the entire Family, "Who in here has a lust problem
with Amanda?" When all the boys raised their hands, Amanda was put to
shame by the staff.

The horror and sadness is starting to settle into my consciousness
like never before. Because I was able to play the game so well, none of
this abuse ever landed on my head. As a price, however, I was turned
into a person I hope to never again embody. I was forced to treat my
peers like they were shit, constantly confronting them, bringing them
up in front of the family and making a scene out of the smallest
infractions. I jumped onto every hate train that existed, just to seem
pius and act like I was "working the program." I don't know if I have
forgiven myself for the things I have said. I was a vicsious,
manipulative control freak, and for this I was awarded the highest
level of responsibility at the school, the Anchor Pin.

Being Catholic and Italian lended me a great deal of leverage at
the school. It sounds silly, but like I said, if the staff liked you,
and you seemed to be working the program, you were saved. Many staff
members were Italian and a great deal more of them wanted to be.

The most abusive aspect of the Family Foundation School is the
forced participation in a program of recovery. The school makes
millions a year off selling their ideas, and if a student didn't fit
the mold of their ideas, they made the student fit because it was cost
effective. What other way should I look at it? I witnessed countless
children enter those doors troubled and saw them leave addicted to
drugs on a serious path to recovery. What I'm trying to say is that the
school turns people into addicts, not the other way around. One of the
students in my family, John Fischer, was caught smoking weed one time
by his parents and was sent to the school. Although John had apparent
anger issues, drug addiction was not a reality. Of course by the time
he left he was John, an alcoholic and addict.

If you were sent to the school for drugs, you were immediately an
addict. If you were caught drinking or had ANY history drinking, you
were an alcoholic. If you enjoyed premarital sex, you were a sex
addict. This is no joke, this is the very fabric of the Family
Foundation School. If you weren't an addict, you didn't really require
the program of recovery that the school offered, which meant you didn't
need to be at the school. If that were the case, the school would make
no money...can anyone else recognize a pattern? Nothing fucks with your
head more then constantly battling with a fake addiction. After I left
the school I was convinced I needed A.A, even though I never really
liked alcohol. I was sitting in rooms full of middle aged men,
listening to them tell stories of years and years of alcoholism, abuse,
crime and jail, while I sat there at the age of 17 having only been
drunk a hand full of times.

One day I overheard two staff members talking. Here is what they

"How many kids in here do you think are really addicts?"
"Oh, one, two maybe. The rest of these kids are jokes."

It was cool to be an addict at the school. It was cool to be an
alcoholic and admit to it. Hell, all the staff were addicts or perverts
of some type, why not join the party? I don't think I need to explain
the negative psychological effects this kind of treatment has on
children. It's obvious now the school, specifically the administration,
has a real complex where they desire everyone else to be like them.
It's not within their reality to drink casually, therefore nobody can
drink casually. It's a disgusting, cowardly was in which to approach
your fellow human beings.

One more story before I go:

I was the first student that Father Steven asked to join his
second trip to Lourdes, France. It was a trip that F.F.S alumni went on
to help the poor and handicapped off trains into the healing pools at
Lourdes. Of course I said yes, I was flattered. Upon graduating I
picked up labor jobs in order to save money for the trip. For a time
period of approximately 6 months I worked my ass off and sent personal
checks to Father Steven, a total of about $1500. During this same time
period, I chose to experiment with marijuana for the first time in 2
years. I did this because I needed to know if I was a drug addict. The
school had convinced me that if I smoked again I would die, and that I
needed A.A. to stay clean. Well, the school found out that I had smoked
and convinced Father Steven to kick me off the trip. Father Steven
specifically said, "Matt, the school is threatening my ability to host
future trips if I allow you to go."

I was kicked off, and not one penny was returned to me. That was
the last time I spoke with anyone from the school, because they refused
to respond to my letters. I was outraged that a school that just took
over $100,000 from my parents would steal that money from me. Not one
staff member responded to my questions. I was to them a relapsing
addict who needed to be ignored.

I am now living a wonderful life, working a full time job and
running a non-profit organization. I share a home with one other
roomate, own a car, and participate in the activist community of
Burlington, Vermont. I also happen to smoke marijuana and drink
alcohol. I am not an addict or alcoholic, and it took years and years
of positive vibration to get rid of the nonsense the school had placed
in my skull. Thanks for your time.

Submitted by: Matt