Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Thomas Tierney

Before I go any further with a testimony, I would like to emphasize how awesome I think it is that someone finally went for broke and shed some light on this corrupt institution that a majority of us had the misfortune of attending. This school has done nothing but lied to our faces and steal from our pockets, expecting no one to catch on or rat them out. Ironically enough, the truth set us free and investigation began, thanks to the work of Jon Martin Crawford. I hope that my testimony and experience can be used to send this poor excuse for a rehabilitation center to its knees and bring this greedy group of child abusers to the just responsibility of their own actions.

I was sent to the Family School on August 20, 2003. To say the least, I was a mess. I do not deny in any way that I was a really troubled kid. I had few friends, never had much of a social life, and was really angry all the time. In order to protect my siblings and herself, my mom decided to send me away. I do not blame her for this decision. In the time that I smartened up, I realized that she really did have my best interests at heart. All of us were deceived by the same lie and I don't think that any sane parent would have put their child through this if they had known some of the things that transpired.

I had few friends in the school from the start. Being thirteen and living with a group of kids all over the age of 15 didn't help too much for my situation. I was seen as the little kid and nothing more than a burden. I was constantly having the blame put on me for things I didn't do and it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I could never fit in with anyone at the school. Consequently, the family thought I was being too "attention seeking" and in time, I lost my rights to speak. I was put on blackout (meaning the loss of privilege of speech), put in the corner to face a wall and made to stand for hours on end, and on special occasions, given a cold soy patty on an uncooked English muffin, as a full meal.

Around the time I was there for three months in December, I was put on work sanction (taken out of school and brought outside to work in the blistering cold, hauling rocks, shoveling snow, and being made to carry them for literally, a good few miles), where every day, I lost feeling in most of my body from the cold.

A student even committed suicide while at the school. Unfortunately, I was one of the few people who were standing at the point where it happened. I can remember no such feeling of dread and fear wash over me when the reality of what had just happened sunk in. A student had just killed themselves. Our family knew the story of what happened. Everyone else was fed just general information. It kills me to know that this tragic event of someone's desperate pain was shut out by a bunch of money hungry clowns, who just wanted it to seem like an accident.

Anywho, the rest of my stay was nothing near pleasant. Around the age of 16 when all my anger had eventually burned itself out enough to control, I began to start the game, as most people refer to it as. I knew the only way out of here at this point was to be just like everyone else and god knows I had been there for so long at this point, I knew exactly how to do it. So I did it. I lay low, did just enough to eventually get some kind of status and worked my way out.

I would love to go into every little thing and nitpick the shit out of it, just like they used to do with us; (they would start yelling at us over the most pointless things like getting to class a few minutes late because of enormous responsibility given to students, then blame it on the fact that our program life was bad and we had reservations to get high when we left makes sense right?) I served a 46 month sentence at that institution, and received my freedom June 23, 2007. I could not even fathom what had just happened. I was going to live at home for the first time in four years.

Now, let's just take a quick, logical look at what has transpired over the last few years. You put a young, teenage kid, having no prior history of drugs or alcohol into a box of ex-addicts and alcoholics, beat him up emotionally, essentially, learning scattered bits and pieces of drugs, booze, whatever, then after four years of having no identity to his name, no friends to go back to, and a public school to go to in a few months, what in god's name do you think will happen?

Well, it happened. I lived at home for a few months, finished high school, then got kicked out of house for smoking weed. I was on my own again with no help at all. This school had washed all reality from me; I was stuck in the real world with nothing. I had no idea how to help myself or anything. To make a long story short, I was all over the country for about two years. I was in Arizona, New York, it was a mess.

I finally worked things out with my family and I got my own apartment. I started going to school and began to work towards a degree in music. I started seeking help for myself, but in ways that can work with me, not against me. I smoke weed as a genuine religious and therapeutic activity. I find that I can pray and control my anger , on top of being a good student, and enjoying my life.

Through all of this, I wanted to prove that even after one has physically left the school, your identity is not quickly discovered. I had that completely taken from me and have spent the last two years trying to find something that I should have found in the last six. If my experience can save someone from the suffering I endured at that school, nothing would make me happier.

My last thoughts on this are to the Ducey's and Argiros'. Your words of 'wisdom' are short sighted. You seek to find happiness through the things that you told us not to. You are by straight up definition, hypocrites. You call us liars, but according to you, if three people tell you that you're a horse, buy a saddle. You got 500 telling you that you are child abusers. Buy the saddle.

My best wishes go out to alumni and recovering students. Good luck, stay up, and we will finish this place forever.
-Tom Tierney, (2003-2007)

P.S. The truth DID come out in the wash.