Survivor Survey – J

Copper Canyon Academy Survivor Survey – J


Date of Submission:


Do you wish to grant further testimony to investigators? – Yes.


Age and year of admittance – 13 years old , admitted 2004


How long was your stay at Copper Canyon Academy? – Two years


How long have you been back home? – Six years


Did you graduate the program? – No I got pulled a couple weeks beforehand graduation. My therapist told my parents to do it.


Before the program did you have a serious drug problem? Please describe severity – None what so ever


Before the program were you admitted to any other residential treatment, for instance a mental hospital? – Yes


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? – Parents choice


Did you consent to treatment at CCA? Did you sign a contract? – No contract but I agreed to go. I had no idea about the place however


Was there a medical admissions process? Please describe – None at all


Were your medical records considered before you were admitted into the program.? – I do t think so because in my records my doctor put certain medications they tried that did not work with me at all. And the psychiatrist there wanted to put me on one if them. I told him that particular medication dies not work for me and my diagnosis he said ok. The next morning When we were receiving medication I was to the doctor had changed mine. He changed it to the one I knew did t work for me the staff refused to call the doctor and told me to take it or I would get a non compliant meal. I am bipolar and he put me on a stimulant. Very few stimulants work for me they flare up manic episodes in my bipolar. Well I had aspic episode and received a pile of work hours until the staff agreed to contacts doctor,


Were you strip searched? How many times? – No


How much was your tuition? – In some subjects yes in others not so much


In your opinion were the teachers, good teachers? Did they have degrees and certifications? – Most we’re great and some not some not so much. School kept my mind stimulated and helped me forget my unstable chaotic environment


Were your tests open book, multiple choice tests? Would you consider them easy to pass? – Yes … But my mind was in other places and the stress from everyday living and the environment around made created road blocks


How many school credits did you earn in what period of time? – 50ish


Did you receive a diploma from CCA? – No


Was a certified medical professional available to students at their request? – Yes but it took forever to arrange an appointment it was almost not worth the grief of constant haggling and the possibility of more work hours for constantly asking over and over


Were proper check ups, dental cleaning, and medication observation appointments held regularly? – Regularly, no? Proper, not so much. I needed a cavity filling , they chose the dentist and the cavity hurt so bad after which I had never experienced after a filling in my life. The administration of pain medication was not easy to get . You were told to suck it up and if it was really bad you had to wait at least an hour or more after asking before they considered dispensing any. And most if the time your were told that you were being a wimp. That fixing had never stopped bugging me even I got home I ended up having to get a root canal.


If you got sick were you given adequate treatment and rest? – You had to sleep in a room with other sick girls. It wads germ feat and I have no idea how anyone could recuperate in that environment


Were you ever refused medical care because staff said that you were “faking it”? – All the time !!! And I would see staff eating cough drops for the sniffles while telling me to stop complaining about having a chronic migraine


Was a medical service offered for drug detox or drug rehabilitation? – I know they did NA but nothing for detoxing it was so sad to see girls come in who were detoxing no remorse or help what do ever


Was there any kind of “Drug Education” available for students who had used drugs in the past? – NA


What is the name of your case manager/ “Therapist”? Did they have degrees/ licenses? What were their qualifications before taking the job at CCA? – They changed mine 4 times in the first 8 months which made it hard to get settled and start progress with one person my last therapist And the one I had the longest was my saving grace in that place


Was group therapy considered to be of a confrontational nature? – Yes they called it holding others accountable for their actions . It was more like throwing everyone under the bus to save your own skin. You are encouraged to rat out everyone for anything it help toy progress in the program and get closer to getting out . It also turned everyone against each other and kept us conformed


Do you feel you were forced to confess to things you did not do in order to progress in the program? – Yes many times


Were students encouraged to accept that they were alcoholics or drug addicts? Was this required to advance in the program? – Not me i had never drank or did drugs but every high schooler has tried a beer once that doesn’t make you an alcoholic but if you didn’t call yourself one you would be told you were in denial


Were students encouraged to follow a 12 step program in order to earn levels and graduate the program – No drawn out specific steps but there were certain things you were suppose to do before graduating


Were students encouraged to accept a “higher power” contingent to their recovery? – No but if you did not attend church you stayed and watched an inspirational movie and then read inspirational readings after until everyone who went to church returned


In your opinion, How was the food quality? Was it prepared properly? Were safety and health codes followed in the kitchen? – The food was ok I’m not a picky eater. I lived in a Russian orphanage as a child so that was not an issue for me. But many girls had issues with being forced to eat seafood


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 went hungry at timesĀ  they let students serve your food and some who didn’t like yours you know with your not so generous portions . There were no seconds. And other times you were forced to eat more even when you were full. I received a non complaint meal when I refused to run the track for PE because I had an issue with my foot and had my doctors not on me. The staff mocked me by telling me that I had to skip in circles and I told her I can’t to that type of stuff for the duration of time that was on the doctors note. I had the note right there and she gave me a non complaint meal along with the other girls who also had doctors notes


Did you gain a lot of weight? Were you forced to eat more than you were able to eat? – No Iost a lot of weight


Were you ever punished for vomiting? – Yes when I had the flu I was forced to eat anyways and when I got sick I was given work hours


Please describe the “Work Hour” experience. How did you feel about this? – He’ll and brutal


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? – No


Where you aware of anyone being restrained and/ or isolated from the group? – Yes the vest. Some girls wore them for weeks


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? – Yes . It was so sad


Please describe “Staff Buddy”, “The Desert Process” and the purpose of the yellow/ orange construction vests.- You had one item of clothing to wear and had to be in arm length of a staff member of all time


(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? – They were read and if we asked for anything or complained they were not sent


How long before you were able to speak to your parents on the phone? Were your phone calls monitored? – Yes


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 and I ran and when they brought my parents I was told if I asked or talked about going home they would remove my parents


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? – Yes


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 they had upper levels sometimes be in the bathroom, while they were going ,with peopleĀ  who were on staff buddy


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 especially going to the bathroom even if you were standing right next to one


How often were you allowed to speak freely? Were you not allowed to speak with others in your group? – Yes if they would sometimes put two girls on silence from each other if they thought they were getting too close


Did you have to walk in line? How often? Were there consequences if you did not line up properly? – To go from different buildings


Would you be given a consequence if you forgot something? (for instance, a pen or a book) – Yes


Were your personal items inspected by other students? (upper levels?) without your consent or presence? – Yes


(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? – They asked upper levels to give us feedback and take a vote on wether or not we shod move up they would write it down and give it to the therapists and directors during g their meeting where they would decide if you would or not


What kind of staff responsibilities were upper levels given? – It depended in the staff some staff had upper levels do all of their responsibilities Nd others would not let upper levels do much of anything


Were upper levels required to give out consequences, citations or to hold lower levels accountable for minor rule violations? – Yes for things like having two scoops of salad dressing or wearing two necklaces


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? – Yes


Were you punished/ held back if you chose not to tattle or pass out citations, and opted to verbally warn students instead? – Yes because not holding others accountable was in a way not being accountable yourself


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? – Yes they could Inform staff they have a feeling they want to run or heard them discussing running they would never look into it. Staff would trust them because they were 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? – Oh yes big time !


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? – I don’t know never met anyone brave enough to try it


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? – People have been dropped from level 4 to staff buddy after being there Almost two years


Please describe your seminar experience. – They were ok


What are your opinions of the owners/ Directors of CCA? – Corruption


Do you believe that the program acting within the means of “Tough Love” was appropriate treatment for you in your adolescence? – No I needed the exact opposite I needed positive reinforcement or negative


Do you believe that the staff and junior staff usually acted within the US standards for health, safety and well being of the students? – Absolutely not


Considering long term effects, do you think your experience at CCA has an effect on your life today? Positive or negative? – Both