Archive for September, 2013

Note to Parents

Thursday, 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.