Copper Canyon Academy Survivor Survey – Blayke N.
Date of Submission: 9-9-12
Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators? – Yes.
Age and year of admittance – I was 15 and was at CCA in 2010
How long was your stay at Copper Canyon Academy? – I was held against my will from July 7 2010 to Sept 9 2010
How long have you been back home? – 2 years today!
Did you graduate the program? – No!
Before the program did you have a serious drug problem? Please describe severity – NONE
Before the program were you admitted to any other residential treatment, for instance a mental hospital? – No
Before the program did you have a criminal record or spend time in Juvenile Hall? – No
Where you court ordered, or did your parents choose to send you to the program? – My mother decided to send me to CCA without my father knowing where I was for over a month
Did you consent to treatment at CCA? Did you sign a contract? – No, I would never consent to such abuse.
Was there a medical admissions process? Please describe – No, my mother took a survey that got me into CCA. When I got there, I was searched and had all of my belongings taken away.
Were your medical records considered before you were admitted into the program? – No
Were you strip searched? How many times? – Yes, if I recall correctly, twice. Once when I was admitted and the next time was because I put a brush bristle through my belly button ring hole so it would not close up since they took it when I first arrived and they noticed I had the bristle through the hole.
How much was your tuition? – No! The teachers were not even real teachers. I would end up explaining things to them.
In your opinion were the teachers, good teachers? Did they have degrees and certifications? – Not that I believe nor recall.
Were your tests open book, multiple choice tests? Would you consider them easy to pass? – Some were open book, most multiple choice and some were easier to pass then others simply because in some classes we never went over the material.
How many school credits did you earn in what period of time? – 0, and they enrolled me in classes I had already taken in my hometown and got credit for.
Did you receive a diploma from CCA? – No
Was a certified medical professional available to students at their request? – Never
Were proper check ups, dental cleaning, and medication observation appointments held regularly? – No and you were not allowed off campus on level one
If you got sick were you given adequate treatment and rest? – No, they often didnt “believe” you.
Were you ever refused medical care because staff said that you were “faking it”? – All the time
Was a medical service offered for drug detox or drug rehabilitation? – No
Was there any kind of “Drug Education” available for students who had used drugs in the past? – There were NA meetings thats about it
What is the name of your case manager/ “Therapist”? Did they have degrees/ licenses? What were their qualifications before taking the job at CCA? – Linda Cathcart was my “therapist” she has no qualifications nor degrees if I recall correctly.
Was group therapy considered to be of a confrontational nature? – Yes, they encouraged confrontation and reenactments of your past.
Do you feel you were forced to confess to things you did not do in order to progress in the program? – YES! I had to write a letter to my mom stating things I NEVER DID so that I was not punished for not complying
Were students encouraged to accept that they were alcoholics or drug addicts? Was this required to advance in the program? – Yes, if you did not accept it, they called it being in denial and not recognizing it
Were students encouraged to follow a 12 step program in order to earn levels and graduate the program – they had 12 step meetings that your therapist could require you to attend. personally, i never attended it.
Were students encouraged to accept a “higher power” contingent to their recovery? – YES! On sundays, we had spiritual time and had to follow it
In your opinion, How was the food quality? Was it prepared properly? Were safety and health codes followed in the kitchen? – The food quality was absolutely horrific. DISGUSTING. I gained 20 lbs in 2 months. No health codes were followed, kids worked in the kitchen cleaning.
Did you ever go hungry? Were you given proper portions? Was food ever withheld as a punishment? Please describe “Non-Compliant” meals. How many days in a row were you on “Non-Compliant” meals? – I was hungry around bed time because we ate dinner at 5pm. portions were controlled and if you took to much you were punished. also, you could get noncompliant meals which consisted of eating cold rice for every meal. I was once on noncompliant meals for 3 days but did not finish it because I had gone home for knee surgery aug 26 2010 and when I came back my mom made sure that I was not on it anymore.
Did you gain a lot of weight? Were you forced to eat more than you were able to eat? – Yes, I gained 20 lbs in 2 months!!!! We had to have our trays checked off before we could leave and if we didnt eat everything we got work hours.
Were you ever punished for vomiting? – I personally was never punished, I just did not have proper medical attention when I did vomit.
Please describe the “Work Hour” experience. How did you feel about this? – I did not attend the “work project”
Were upper levels or any level students asked to babysit the staff’s children, or taken to the staff’s house for any extended period of time? – YES! That was called transition and either Cat or Ms.Apple had girls in there personal home for a few months at a time.
Where you aware of anyone being restrained and/ or isolated from the group? – yes, I was put on silence many times
What reasons were these people restrained/ isolated/ made to sit in stress positions? (please describe actual events) Where stress positions utilized? Were there more time in isolation given if the student would move, cry or speak? – I was put on silence for by accidentally speaking to another level one. If you were caught, you would be on silence for another 24 hours. I was silenced from one of my good friend Natalie Anderson because she was being to supportive (treatment team silenced us)
Please describe “Staff Buddy”, “The Desert Process” and the purpose of the yellow/ orange construction vests.- staff buddy is when you have to be in arms length of staff at all times. sleep, eat, shower EVERYTHING. The vests were used for silence so people would know you couldnt speak.
(Please describe the rules and structure that would pertain to a level 1 student.)
Was contact with your parents limited? Where your letters (to and from) intercepted? Were your letters opened, read, crossed out or cut? – contact with parents was limited, no phone access and computer access only when they thought it was appropriate. My emails and letters were opened and by accident, I received the email where my therapist was being CC’ed onto my emails so I found out.
How long before you were able to speak to your parents on the phone? Were your phone calls monitored? – I never spoke to my mother on the phone, I was never allowed. Phone calls on all levels were monitored by either a therapist or dorm staff.
If you felt you were being abused, was there anyway you could get to a phone and have a private conversation with your parents, child services or an officer of the law? – No, none whatsoever. Letters were written to CPS but they were never actually sent.
If you wanted to leave were you discouraged to tell your parents how you felt? Were you afraid that you would be punished if you were to describe any incidents of abuse to your parents? – If you said you wanted to leave, the called it manipulation so you were punished. Everything was monitored so there was no way in telling your parents what was going on without being in trouble
Were there other students (upper levels) assigned to watch over you? What was their role? Did they give you consequences/ “hold you accountable”? Were they instructed to restrain you or monitor the isolation area, bathrooms and showers? – Yes, when we got there you had a “big sister” she explained all of the rules to you. They had to hold you accountable for mistakes so they could move up in the program! on level one and two you always needed an upper level to go anywhere, including the bathroom.
Did you have to raise your hand and wait to ask permission from staff (or upper levels) to speak, stand, eat, go to the bathroom and do other normal activities? – Yes, all of the above you had to ask to do. You were not allowed anywhere alone as a lower level so, youd have to ask a staff member if you could go anywhere youd like and if a upper level said no, you were stuck and couldnt go.
How often were you allowed to speak freely? Were you not allowed to speak with others in your group? – You were allowed to speak freely usually during school. If it was a level one, you still were not allowed to speak to them and whoever you were on silence from.
Did you have to walk in line? How often? Were there consequences if you did not line up properly? – straight line wherever you went with your water bottle filled with non filtered water. If it took to long to get into a line everyone would get work hours or if you spoke in line. youd have to put your two fingers up (peace sign) every time you were in line so no one spoke
Would you be given a consequence if you forgot something? (for instance, a pen or a book) – yes, work hours. cleaning, running, scrubbing floors, hiking, non compliant meals etc.
Were your personal items inspected by other students? (upper levels?) without your consent or presence? – yes, i had many things stolen from me while i was there.
(Please describe the rules and structure that would pertain to an “upper level” student.)
What were the requirements in order to progress in the level system? Was approval from the other upper levels required? – You had to read certain books they gave you and do the work books and before treatment team youd have to read a speech to everyone on why you think youre ready to move up in the level system. quite humiliating if you ask me.
What kind of staff responsibilities were upper levels given? – pretty much bringing lower levels everywhere and if they didnt want too, the lower levels suffered. especially if it was to go to the bathroom.
Were upper levels required to give out consequences, citations or to hold lower levels accountable for minor rule violations? – yes, always held people accountable even for things they didnt do so it made them look better to move up and graduate.
Were the rules upper levels enforced specific to the rule book or were the definitions of those rules assumed? Could rules easily be made up or “held accountable” under a category that was vague enough to be given out for any number of things? – things could always be made up, if it helped them to go by the book they would but if it didnt theyd make things up and it still helped them.
Were you punished/ held back if you chose not to tattle or pass out citations, and opted to verbally warn students instead? – YES! I never got off of level one!
Did an upper level have to power to influence a child put onto “staff buddy” or into any isolation process? Were upper levels instructed to watch or participate in restraints? – Sometimes, if they reported someone for being a danger to themselves theyd be put on staff buddy by the word of an upper level.
Were upper levels required to give visiting parents a glowing testimonial of their experience in the program, or make testimonial videos or letters? Were pre-written scripts required to be read during the filming of promotional videos? – YES ALWAYS. There were meetings for upper levels giving tours so im assuming it was so that they could tell them exactly what to say.
What would happen if an upper level student mentioned anything bad about the program in front of a parent? Were students afraid of punishment if they told the truth? – students rarely told the truth infront of parents in pure fear of the punishments.
How easily could an upper level get dropped (start the program over)? What infractions would make an upper level drop and what level did they usually go back to? – extremely easy. I saw it happen ALL THE TIME. level 4 to level 1. If they had an unsuccessful home visit, they were dropped. unsuccessful visit of any sort. unsuccesful phone calls. eating to much cheese. anything. eating desert while on desert restriction
Please describe your seminar experience. – NO. I refused
What are your opinions of the owners/ Directors of CCA? – disgusting pigs. i dont know how they live with themselves. they know exactly what goes on there.
Do you believe that the program acting within the means of “Tough Love” was appropriate treatment for you in your adolescence? – No i now suffer from PTSD and anxiety.
Do you believe that the staff and junior staff usually acted within the US standards for health, safety and well being of the students? – never, most didnt even have anything past a high school diploma.
Considering long term effects, do you think your experience at DRA has an effect on your life today? Positive or negative?negative, im severly depressed. its hurt my personal relationship with my fiance. I have ptsd and anxiety. i barely leave my house.