Note to Parents

September 19th, 2013

It has been brought to my attention that Seneca Ranch and Magnolia Christian school (possibly among others) are linking to this site in an attempt to bolster their credibility by pointing out (accurately) that Sue Scheff is a competitor, and not truly neutral advocate.  While this may be true that Sue Scheff has said things about these places for the wrong reasons, that does not make the things she has said false.  A few years back, Sue Scheff was sued by the WWASP series of schools in part for defamation and in part for unfair competition under the Lanham act.

Section 43(a)(1)(B) is also often used when false or misleading statements are alleged to have hurt a business. A claimant under this section must prove three things: there was a false or misleading statement made, the statement was used in commercial advertising or promotion, and the statement creates a likelihood of harm to the plaintiff – Wikipedia page on the Lanham act

In that case, the transcript of which is available in the sidebar under WWASP vs. PURE, it was found that while Sue Scheff did have her own agenda, and was being paid by programs for her referrals, she was nevertheless telling the truth about WWASP’s treatment of children.  Because it was found that the statements she made about these schools were not false, the case fell apart.  Therefore, if Sue Scheff has said things about these two schools, I would tend to believe her, even though I would not trust her for a second to refer a child to a program.

I would like to emphasize to parents that while there may indeed be safe programs out there, history has taught us that it has been impossible to effectively tell a bad program from a good one.  Because this is effectively impossible, it is therefore unsafe to place in any program.  That may sound like an extreme or alarmist statement, but having studied this industry from it’s origins to it’s current state, I can assure you it is not.

Back in the 80s,  a program known as Straight Inc. was considered to be the best program out there for troubled teens.  Endorsed by Nancy Reagan, Princess Diana, George HW Bush, and others, it was seemingly beyond reproach.  Yet, ten years later, that same series of programs was revealed by lawsuits and state investigations to be one of the most abusive places ever to exist.  Around the same time the CEDU chain of schools were likewise considered to be above reproach, and likewise, when the program was shut down and the dust settled, abuse was found.

I could go on and on with examples, even to the present day, but the point is that you cannot trust marketing, you cannot trust “advocates”, and you cannot trust educational consultants, for whom it is legal to take “kickbacks” for referrals.  If you have a child who is misbehaving at home and it seems like you’ve exhausted all your options, I would urge you to keep looking for at-home options before you risk your child’s health and sanity by sending them to a program that may or not be abusive.  Don’t trust anybody who says they know “safe” places for kids.  The fact is it’s just not worth the risk.

Whitmore Academy Settles Lawsuit for $450,000

November 20th, 2008

Whitmore Academy, A school that Sue Scheff referred kids to (and continues to defend) has settled a lawsuit against it out of court for $450,000.  As the Deseret News reports:

The complaint alleges that some students enrolled at the Whitmore Academy were physically bound with plastic handcuffs for several hours, others were forced to spend periods of time outside without any clothing on, and some were forced to sleep in a space referred to as the “shelf room.”

The shelf room was a small, enclosed area where students could neither sit up, fully stretch out, and was located 10 feet off the ground, according to the complaint. The Sudweeks were also accused of recruiting students and encouraging the students to use violence against other youths to enforce the rules.

In September of 2006, Cheryl Sudweeks pleaded no contest to four class C misdemeanor counts of hazing and agreed to meet all court-ordered requirements and pay a fee.

In April, Gregory Kutz, the Government Accountability Office’s managing director of Forensic Audits and Special Investigations, used several examples of problems at the Whitmore Academy and other behavior modification schools to show that boot camp therapy companies use deceptive practices enrolling troubled teens in programs where they can end up abused and neglected.

Full article here.

Sue Scheff, Whitmore Academy, and the GAO

May 4th, 2008

Readers of this blog might find irony in the fact that Sue Scheff is praising (archive) the GAO’s investigation of abuse in programs considering that, in their report, they detail abuse that occurred in a prominent program she referred to, Whitmore Academy, run by Mark and Cheryl Sudweeks.  Although the facility and it’s owners are not named, specifically in the report itself, Greg Kurtz, of the GAO, revealed during a congressional hearing’s Q&A session that Case 7 of abuse was, indeed, Whitmore Academy.

  • Victim was verbally abused and punched,

    kicked, and slapped by other students, under

    direction of one of the school’s owners 

  • Victim was hit and pushed down stairs by the

    same school owner   

  • On multiple occasions throughout his stay in

    the school, victim was locked in a bathroom

    and a closet and forced to sleep on a shelf as


As if referring to Whitmore when parents had already informed her of abuse and a criminal investigation wasn’t bad enough, Sue Scheff continues to defend (archive) Whitmore Academy.  Instead of taking responsibility for her actions, however, Sue Scheff resorted to defaming the very parent who tried to warn her of the abuse, a pattern of behavior that seems to be systemic against her critics, with targets including this very blogger.

Site Under Attack (yet again)

March 26th, 2008

Recently, the server hosting, and have been under a sustained DDoS attack coming from a botnet.  While is too large to host on this temporary hosting, is back up for the time being.  Further illegal attacks against this site will be reported to the FBI.For those of you looking for quick information on why, perhaps, somebody might want to take this site down, please click here

Breaking Sue Scheff News From Harbor Oaks and Sue Scheff

October 3rd, 2007

Harbor Oaks Boarding School – North Carolina

Harbor Oaks is a Christian boarding school located in Mars Hill, North Carolina. The owners are James and Patricia Jones. The facility uses the Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) workbook curriculum provided by School of Tomorrow.

School of Tomorrow requries that just one person in an entire school be “certified” to use the curriculum. However, this certification is NOT from any state agency. It is issued by School of Tomorrow.

This enables schools to use the curriculum without having any certified teachers.The status of the “teachers” at Harbor Oaks is still in question.

ISAC has received complaints against Harbor Oaks alleging inadequate education, false advertising, unqualified staff, lack of supervision, and physical abuse.

Sue Scheff, owner of Parents Universal Resource Experts (PURE), reportedly receives payment in exchange for referring families to Harbor Oaks.

ISAC has learned that Scheff’s daughter, Ashlyn Jockell, is employed by the facility.

The Madison County Department of Social Services has substaniated a report for neglect at Harbor Oaks.

The findings include: lack of medical care, lack of mental health care, and improper supervision.

Anyone with information about Harbor Oaks is asked to contact ISAC immediately.

Updated September 30, 2007

Letter About Harbor Oaks

Official Finding of Neglect

Source: [Editor's note ISACcorp is no longer in operation]

More Attacks from Sue Scheff

September 23rd, 2007

Since the last entry on this blog, Sue Scheff has attacked this site two times. First, Sue Scheff sent a letter to the data center our hosting service uses. Second, she sent a letter to Google AdWords, claiming incorrectly that her name was trademarked. Not surprisingly, her first recent letter, including attachments, was nearly identical to the first letter she sent GoDaddy. I will include it here in full: Read the rest of this entry »

Tough Love and Free Speech

August 24th, 2007

How a ‘child advocate’ gamed the media

Republished From Reason Magazine with Permission of the author. Original here. Maia’s Huffington Post comment on this article here.

Maia Szalavitz | August 24, 2007

Sue Scheff has some serious chutzpah. Portrayed by ABC News, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes as a beleaguered mom running a small business to help parents find treatment for troubled teens, Scheff’s been telling reporters about a service called Reputation Defender, which she says allowed her to triumph over a bunch of rage-filled Internet cranks. Scheff says these vengeance-seeking wackos nearly destroyed her, an innocent businesswoman, with a series of libelous comments posted on online discussion boards. They had called her a “fraud” and “con artist,” she says, and claimed that she was referring teens to tough love programs that then abused them.

What none of this media coverage mentions is that a few years back, Scheff was sued for the same types of comments now directed at her—highlighting the abuses of a “tough love” rehab center (in this case, one of Scheff’s rivals). At the time, she framed the suit against her as an attempt to squelch her free speech.

Read the rest of this entry »

Isabelle Zehnder – Advocate or Sue’s Marketing? – Part I

August 21st, 2007

Although with the recent publicity and rumors surrounding Sue Scheff have apparantly provoked Isabelle Zehnder of CAICA to distance herself, the relationship between the two in the past has been well documented, including in the words of Zehnder and Scheff themselves.

Like Sue Scheff, on the surface, Isabelle Zenhder appears to be a legitimate advocate. Her website includes comprehensive information about the dangers of programs. What most people don’t realize is most of that comprehensive information is copied verbatim from other sources without their permission. This, by itself, wouldn’t be much of a concern. What does concern many, however, is that Isabelle Zehnder refers kids to programs through Sue Scheff.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sue Scheff Lies About Being Sued

August 16th, 2007

On August 14th, On one of her many cross-linked spam blogs, Sue Scheff wrote the following, denying that there is a lawsuit against her and Focal Point Academy:

“I have read claims, Blogs, and horrific postings about my
organization and myself being served a lawsuit – this is not
. Neither myself nor the other defendants listed on
what they are posting have received any such lawsuit. If
there is a lawsuit, we certainly don’t know about it and you
would think the defendants should have it?

This is a further campaign to discredit me which has
recently escalated since I will be on 20/20 i-Caught this
evening” [hyperlinks added]

Read the rest of this entry »

How delusional are the programmies?

August 16th, 2007

And who are they, anyway?

By Ginger McNulty

Most of the content on this site has to do with Sue Scheff as an individual. I’d like to provide some background information about the industry in which she has become such a notable player and, in so doing, try to convey to our readers why the general public should concern themselves with any of these crack pots. In a word, we all should be very concerned because these particular crack pots hold serious influence in politics and, evidently, our media.

Read the rest of this entry »