Hold Maple Lake Academy Accountable
Hold Maple Lake Academy Accountable
Why this petition matters
Utah regulators say a girl died after a youth treatment center didn’t give ‘necessary medical care': https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/02/14/utah-regulators-say-girl/
Update: “Does this mean that another child has to die?”: Utah teen treatment program will keep its license after girl’s death: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/08/18/utah-regulators-back-down-now/
In January 2022, an unidentified student died in Maple Lake Academy's care due to alleged medical neglect. During the DHS Investigation into the program following this tragedy, it was found that another student had allegedly not been given proper medical care following a head injury. Furthermore, a student was found to be alledgedly forced to live on a mattress in a common area as punishment at Maple Lake Academy for Boys. They were issued a warning for this human rights violation in regards to the male student, but when the investigators returned to the program the student was still on this mattress.
MLA had their license revoked due to the findings in the DHS Investigation. Now, despite the findings and evidence, MLA was granted a stay and was set to appear before the licensing board in a hearing to discuss the revocation of their license. However, this hearing never occurred; MLA struck a deal with the licensing department and was allowed to reopen on a conditional status.
As former students of this program, the incidents we witnessed and experienced over a decade are endless and the damage they inflicted upon us has been longstanding. In our collective experiences, we have each witnessed and endured abuse, in multiple forms, including physical, mental, and emotional, medical neglect/lack of medical care, extreme religious bias, homophobia, humiliation tactics and punishments, an overall lack of evidence based treatment etc from staff, therapists, and higher ups.
Maple Lake Academy advertises itself as a "warm, nurturing, home environment", located in Spanish Fork, Utah with three separate programs including Maple Lake Academy for Girls, Maple Lake Academy for Boys (MLA for Boys), and Bridges (a program marketed as a transition facility for students 18 and over). They state on their website that they cater to children "ages 12-17 on the Autism Spectrum, those with Social Communication Disorder, and Verbal/Nonverbal Learning Disorders" providing "the answers and long term results". In our experiences, this could not be further from the truth. Many students leave this program with long term trauma and often need therapy and counseling to process their time, some having difficulty adjusting to the real world, some having difficulty making relationships, and some find themselves in dangerous situations having been broken and brainwashed from Maple Lake Academy's "therapeutic" tactics. Furthermore, in our experiences, many of our parents have expressed their sorrow and horror that we did not receive the level of treatment and care MLA advertised they would provide, and are blindsided once we finally open up to them with the truth, most having been shielded through our isolation, and the lies and manipulation tactics used by therapists and higher ups.
From our experiences, and the experiences of dozens of former students, parents, and staff, who lived and worked in this facility and have gathered together to support each other in the light of this horrifying and tragic news, it is clear that the owners and staff members decade of neglect, abuse, and oversight led to this incident occurring in a trickle down effect.
Furthermore, MLA's failure to hold staff and higher ups accountable for their pattern of mistreatment towards students, mistreatment that has been documented for over a decade, makes those in power equally responsible. To us, this is clear systematic neglect and mistreatment.
Any health facility that does not provide adequate care and has a history of abuse, in any capacity, should absolutely be held accountable for its failures. Maple Lake Academy should not be exempt from the long overdue push for safer and more regulated facilities or the fight to shed light on the Troubled Teen Industry as a whole. Yet, through marketing tactics and a clear disregard for the law as noted in the DHS findings they have shown the world that they believe they are exempt from accountability. MLA is the first Troubled Teen Industry program in seven years to face this action by DHS and the Licensing Board. We understand the impact of this action and we understand the doors it will open for dozens of programs that have long hid under the radar. However, their failure to hold MLA accountable left the door open for MLA and facilities just like it to continue to operate without repercussion for their actions leading to abuse, neglect, and death.
We are asking that our voices be heard, that those who wish to support us in standing up against this program and hundreds of others join us, and that, in the end, Maple Lake Academy is stripped of their ability to continue the mistreatment of children in their care. We can not sit idly by and allow them to endanger any more children. Please help us ensure that Maple Lake Academy is held accountable for its decade of failure to its students.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of this program and wish to share your story, please reach out to us @maplelakeacademysurvivors on Instagram. For more information regarding the investigation into Maple Lake Academy including the DHS Investigation Notes, Notice of Agency Action, and our social media campaign, please visit: https://linktr.ee/maplelakeacademysurvivor
The name/cause of death/details of the student who passed at MLA is not public knowledge and we do not wish to hinder this investigation in any way shape or form. As former students, we are heartbroken for this family and send them our sincerest condolences. We only wish to support them in light of this tragedy by sharing our own stories to push for change. We ask that you continue to respect their privacy with us.