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Front Page » February 12, 2008 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: a Few Thoughts about the Residentia...
Published 2,262 days ago

Letter to the Editor: a Few Thoughts about the Residential Treatment Center in Ferron


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By LAVERNA PETERSEN
Ferron

Editor,

Just a few thoughts I have concerning the new facility for troubled girls. What is the worth of a son or daughter to you as parents? It is strange how you can raise four children in the same household...all of them are quite normal in behavior...but...somehow, one of them gets off the narrow path of life and does things we don't approve of.

What do we do to help them? We struggle with discipline, punishment, restrictions, love them, pray for them...nothing seems to work. We hear of a facility in the area for troubled teens. So, we reach out, find out all we can about it and those who are responsible for those who are there, and after much thought, prayer and searching, we place them in the facility hoping that we can somehow change their pattern in life.

I have seen the results of such a facility. I have a granddaughter who got beyond control in her home when she was just 14 years of age. She would run away from home. Be gone for a week and sometimes longer. Her parents would lay awake at night wondering where she was, what she was doing, who she was with, if she had a place to sleep and food to eat. A lot of things went through their minds.

One day she called and said she and her girl friend were going to California. Her mother said to her "why don't you come home tonight and we will talk about it?" During the day her mother made arrangements at a facility here in Utah to have her admitted for her own good and for their peace of mind.

When she came home that evening her mother had arranged for her strong, handsome son to be there. They had their talk. When she got ready to leave again, her brother took hold of her. They put handcuffs on her hands behind her back and shackled her feet. He mother had made arrangements in the Utah facility. The facility told them not to stop anywhere and drive straight there and a representative would meet them there. They arrived at the facility at 3 a.m. Someone was there to admit her. There were 200 girls and 200 boys in the facility. They had teachers, nurses, counselors, all kinds of help for the children. It was a 24 hour lock down, just like prison. They had structured discipline 24 hours a day.

Our granddaughter of course didn't want to be there and she fought to get out for about two weeks. There was no contact at all with any of her family for a month. She finally decided she was there for her own good and settled down to do the best she could. She excelled there. She was a straight A student, she participated on the track team and did very well there. They took them out of the facility to compete with some of the schools close by. The schools didn't feel threatened by who they were. They treated them just like any other school.

She could have graduated after being there but she told her parents "No I want to stay longer." She stayed 14 months and graduated with honors. She returned to her high school in Colorado and was still a straight A student. She was elected prom queen, elected to the student council, and graduated and received several scholarships.

She liked the 24 hour supervision, the strict discipline, and the daily and weekly counseling sessions that she received. She liked it so well that she is now contemplating volunteering for medical training in the United States Navy.

As for the comments made from our county sheriffs office, I am disappointed in their response. It is their job to help with situations such as these young people running away. They are trained and very well paid to do this kind of work. It is just another situation.

I think the young lady who wants to open this treatment center represented herself very well. She's trained and ready to assume the responsibility of trying to help turn around the lives of the young ladies she will have under her care. I hope people will open their hearts and minds to the love and care these young people deserve and not turn their backs on them.

As for the neighbors they will have, if you want a good neighbor, be a good neighbor. Reach out to them. Help them in their struggle if you have the chance. They need everyone's love.


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