Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robert Doyle Erwin - 1980

Together with 6 other teenagers and some staff members from Visionquest, Robert Doyle Erwin died in the Gulf of California, when the boat he was sent on went down with all hands lost.

Was it sound to sent such a untrained crew out in such dangerous waters? Maybe! But still today you find many companies in different countries sending so-called at-risk teenagers out sailing in foreign waters.

In May 2008 the authorities in Spain found a Danish boy wandering around on a normally deserted island. Further investigation revealed that he had been marooned for some days so he could think about his behavior onboard the ship. Responsible behavior on the part of the staff? Some might at least state that it is questionable.

For the family of Robert Doyle Erwin the downing in the Gulf of California was a tragedy they had to share with 6 other families. Hopefully this tragedy will never be repeated.

Victims - 1980's (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
Teen's sailing tour ends in storm disaster, Star-News - 28 Nov 1980
Un menor es abandonado en un islote en Fuerteventura como castigo por portarse mal, diario direct, May 22 - 2008 (In Spanish)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Darryl Thompson - 2006

New York News and Features calls it New York’s most infamous juvenile prison. A place where where troubled kids learn to become troubled adults.

Darryl Thompson did not return with that lesson. In fact he never returned alive. Instead he was exposed to a deathly physical restraint so the risk of having an adult criminal returning to the city was avoided.

But can a society accept that the only tool to rehabilitate a troubled youth is to kill them? No, the public will not accept it but at the same time the public is not ready to pay what it takes to give at-risk children a consequence carried out in human way.

As long as the public will accept an underpriced product, the result will be death at some point. For the relatives of Darryl Thompson it is no comfort in their tragedy.

Victims 2005 - 9 (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
The Lost Boys of Tryon, By Jennifer Gonnerman, New York News and Features, January 24, 2010
Tryon aides involved in boy’s death to be fired, By Michael Anich, The Leader-Herald, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Roberto Reyes - 2004

How many times can you as an employee in charge of a minor decide that the minor is faking an illness and be right before the terrible one time when you are wrong and the result is that a teenager who had not outlived his potential lost his life?

Can you afford to take making just one mistake when a life is at stake?

The staff in charge of Roberto Reyes at Thayer Learning Center decided to take that risk. A calculated risk in their mind but a risk that proved to be too big and the result is that Mr. Reyes lost his life as result of a spider bite which could have been treated in a couple of hours at any hospital.

For the family of Mr. Hayes it was a terrible loss, but for the teenagers entering residential treatment only one thing matter: Will the staff believe them when they fall ill under their stay?

Victims - 2004 (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
Spiritual center takes over boarding school, By Scott Canon, The Kansas City Star, October 18, 2009
Boot camp sued in Santa Rosa teen's death - Suit says Missouri center failed to give prompt, competent medical care, also abused youth, By Paul Payne & Carol Benfell, The Press Democrat, February 7, 2005

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jerry McLaurin - 1999

The death of 14 year old Jerry McLaurin is unfortunately yet another case where deaths could have been avoided if everyone would have taken the time to learn about the dangerous nature of physical restraints.

What led to his death is not known. The area around the town of Brownwood house a number of facilities for minors in foster care and the newspapers from that period tell stories about several deaths in that area.

Are the laws of today good enough to prevent deaths caused by physical restraints? The last known death cause by restraint occured October 2009. Whether the epidemic of poor care is over remains to be seen.

Victims - 1990's (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora Wiki)
Isabelle Zehnder: Restraints that kill kids, blog by Isabelle Zehnder, January 12, 2007
A Texas toll: deaths attributed to restraintsAMERICAN-STATESMAN, May 18, 2003
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