- Utah Attorney General Mark ShurtleffUtah Attorney General
Tell Utah's Attorney General: Investigate "Reform Schools" That Abuse Troubled Teens
WWASPS is an organization based out of Utah. It is owned and operated by Robert Lichfield. WWASPS claims to be an umbrella organization that owns and operates most of the insitutions for education and treatment of troubled teenagers. They own a list of specialty schools, with quite a few being closed down due to poor conditions, abuse, no licensing for the facilities, etc. WWASP is the owners of Teen Help, Premier Education, and many more smaller businesses, all used for the sake of running these schools. Many students who attended these schools have come out with disorders such as borderline personality, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Claustrophobia, etc. These schools have many lawsuits filed against them, and are all over the Web. These schools have poor conditions, have abused, neglected, and destroyed many kids by the way they have treated them, and need to be taken care of as swiftly as possible, to help get the children who are IN the program OUT. These schools can cost anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 dollars a year and the staff use tactics to turn students and parents against each other in hopes of getting more money from the parents. These schools have also produced an outrageous amount of deaths and suicides either while in the program, or shortly after. They use manipulation, threats, and abuse to bully your children into becoming "ideal teenagers." Which is exactly what distraught parents are looking for. They use any technique they possibly can, to gain money from parents in the return of a "perfect child." The program is set up so that parents are never allowed to talk to there children or see them until they reach a certain level, or rank. The system is set up that way so that the children have to start following the rules and structure and begin what many students have called, "brain washing" before they are allowed to talk to there parents on supervised phone calls, so that they cannot try to expose how these schools truly are. If the students DO try to tell there parents over the phone, they are immediately punished with the loss of that rank, the loss of phone call priviledges, and sometimes a form of detention, depending on the school. All the students and parents mail is screened, and if deemed negative, thrown out. Some students aren't even allowed to have a visit from there parents for over a year, depending on how quickly they "work the program." These facilities are corrupt and only allow the parents to hear what they want to hear! These facilities keep a tight lid on what really goes on among them, and makes sure the bad publicity is kept quiet. Well, we want that to stop! We don't want our children in the hands of staff these schools pick up off the street! We want our children to get PROFESSIONAL help by a licensed therapist, drug councilors, and real caring staff. Please support us in our challenge!
- Utah Attorney General
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
I am writing you today asking your office to hold a formal investigation of WWASPS, a chain of "reform schools" owned by Utahns Robert Lichfield, Brent M. Facer and Ken Kay.
WWASPS has been the subject of multiple lawsuits and investigations over the years.
According to the Deseret News: "Some of the schools have been criminally investigated by state or local authorities, including an expansive probe by the New York Attorney General's Office of Ivy Ridge Academy near the border of Canada and the United States.
At the time of a 2005 settlement reached in that case, New York state attorneys said Ivy Ridge was behind one of the largest educational fraud cases in the history of the state. The school was ordered to partially reimburse tuition costs of parents and to refrain from advertising that it offered educational diplomas because it was not an accredited institution recognized by state officials."
The article also reports:
Unsanitary living conditions
Being kicked, beaten, thrown and slammed to the ground
Chained and locked in dog cages
Forced to lie in urine and feces as a method of punishment
This petition on Change.org was started by a group of WWASPS survivors asking for justice, and who are trying to protect the teens who are still in these schools. We are calling on your office to hold a formal investigation of the schools immediately.
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