Brat Camp is an abominable new reality show on ABC. Basically, nine "out of control" teens have been abducted from their homes in the middle of the night, blindfolded, and taken, terrified, to a wilderness camp in the middle of nowhere in Oregon. They were kidnapped, but not really. Their parents allowed this. Their parents wanted this. Why? Because they felt they could no longer deal with their children's behavior. The teens, aged 14 to 17, did not consent to going to this place, but instead were forced there against their will.
I know what you're probably thinking. They are troubled teens who deserve this, right? WRONG!!! The one named Isaiah was sent there simply because he liked a kind of music his parents didn't approve of. Another one, Lexie, had been sexually molested, which, as you can understand, would affect someone's behavior in all kinds of ways. Lexie needs psychological HELP, not to be abused and humiliated on national television. Another girl, I don't recall her name, was sent there because her father died. She underwent terrible depression and other psychological issues because of this, and that is understandable. Like Lexie, what she needs is real, psychological help. One boy just has dyslexia! Others are on drugs and need rehab. Brat Camp is not qualified to solve ANY of these problems!
So what does Brat Camp do? Well, these kids are sent their pegged as just that. Brats. They are apparently just manipulating their parents, not following rules, swearing, yelling, being angry, not doing well at school, and other such stuff. So the "counselors" there spend all day calling them useless brats. Telling them how horrible they are for abusing their parents. The kids are also refused adequate food and drink, denied medical attention, have every word they say and write monitored, and forced to hike long distances in freezing, blizzard weather. How, may I ask, is this supposed to help someone get over drug addiction or molestation trauma?
You know what the worst part is? This is not an isolated thing. Camps and "schools" like this exist, legally, all over the country. Oftentimes a kid does nothing worse than coming out of the closet or questioning his family's religion or talking back, and he or she is grabbed in the middle of the night and shuffled off to an abusive school. The parents think they're helping. The schools, however, are mostly profiteering scams meant to take advantage of desperate parents, to convince them to pay thousands of dollars to send their children to a place that turns out does not give them adequate food, medical attention, or protection. Many of these places call themselves "faith-based" by forcing kids to read and recite Scripture, and beating them if they fail to do so. NOBODY DESERVES THIS KIND OF TREATMENT!!! I don't care how old they are. Or, no, actually, age is an interesting factor here. These behavior modification facilities are a lot worse than prison. Prisons are monitored and there are constitutional rights protecting prisoners from assault on the part of the guards and such. Furthermore, prisoners were sent to prison after a trial and judge and/or jury decision. Kids sent to behavior mod schools are sent simply because their parents okayed it. They are often there for months or even years. You know what happens when they come out, provided they survived the ordeal (which, sadly, many of them do not!)? Either they are much more psychologically demolished than when they started, or they have been totally brainwashed, that any personality they had before is totally wiped out. They suffer Stockholm Syndrome oftentimes, too.
And ABC is condoning this. The ten million viewers of Brat Camp are all condoning this. Severe child abuse is right up there on national television, and nobody thinks anything of it. Instead, they actually want to see these kids' personalities get destroyed because they've already been told they are "bad" kids. It is no different from Roman times when people cheered as lions mauled Christians to death in the Colosseum. And this is happening right here in our own, supposedly free country.
So, please, help stop this horrible show. It serves only to support this kind of thing. Spread the word that this kind of treatment is NOT acceptable, especially to kids. Don't watch Brat Camp. If at all possible, don't watch ABC. Send letters to ABC expressing your disgust at the show and that you will not watch their programs again until the show is removed. Send letters to SageWalk, the facility where Brat Camp takes place, and let them know they are nothing more than child-abusing scumbags. Write letters to your local newspapers and the show's sponsors. Let them know that this is child abuse, plain and simple, and that you will not stand for it and that it is not acceptable.
Here's some helpful links:
Brat Camp Parents
National Youth Rights Association
Remembering Michelle Sutton
Teen Advocates USA
Rick A. Cross Institute
"Nine Years After a Girl's Death" (PDF)
Fight Institutionalized Child Abuse
Boot Camp Death
Arizona Boys Ranch
Deadly Restraint (a different yet related one)
Restraints and Seclusion Abuse
Punishable By Death
Furthermore, take a look at this list of unfortunate victims of wilderness camps.
Michelle Sutton, dead at age 15, Summit Quest
Kristen Chase, dead at age 16, Challenger
Paul Choy, dead at age 16, Rite of Passage
Aaron Bacon, dead at age 16, Northstar
Dawnne Takeuchi, dead at age 18, VisionQuest
Lorenzo Johnson, dead at age 17, Arizona Boys Ranch
Carlos Ruiz, dead at age 13, VisionQuest
Mario Cano, dead at age 16, VisionQuest
John Vincent Garrison, dead at age 18, VisionQuest
Bernard Reefer, dead, VisionQuest
Robert Zimmerman, dead, VisionQuest
Charles Lucas, dead, VisionQuest
James Lamb, dead, VisionQuest
Tammy Edmiston, dead, VisionQuest
Leon Anger, dead, VisionQuest
Charles Collins, Jr., dead at age 15, Crossroads for Youth
Jamie Young, dead at age 13, Ramsey Canyon
John Avila, dead, Rocky Mountain Academy
Danny Lewis, dead at age 16, VisionQuest
Nicholas Contreras, dead at age 16, Arizona Boys Ranch
Edith Campos, dead at age 15, Desert Hills
Matt Toppi, dead at age 17, Robert Land Academy
Chris Brown, dead at age 16, Robert Land Academy
Eric David Schibley, dead at age 17, VisionQuest
Chad Andrew Frenza, dead at age 16, Polk County Boot Camp
Robert Doyle Erwin, dead at age 15, VisionQuest
Lyle Foodroy, dead, VisionQuest
Gina Score, dead at age 14, State Training School (South Dakota)
Bryan Dale Alexander, dead at age 18, Texas Correctional Services
Michael Wiltsie, dead at age 12, Eckert Youth Alternatives
Tristan Sovern, dead at age 16, Charter Behavioral Health System
Robert Rollins, dead at age 12, Devereaux School
Andrew McClain, dead at age 11, Elmcrest Psychiatric Hospital
Anthony Haynes, dead at age 14, American Buffalo Soldiers Boot Camp
Ian August, dead at age 14, Skyline Journey
Charles "Chase" Moody, dead at age 17, The Brown School (CEDU affiliated)
Roberto Reyes, dead at age 15, Thayer Learning Center Boot Camp
Travis Parker, dead at age 13, Appalachian Wilderness Camp
Behavior Modification programs need to end NOW. These people did not have to die.