Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sergey Blashchishen - 2009

August 28 2009 marked to endings.

First it marked the ending of the claim that commercial wilderness therapy can be safe. Sagewalk - a wilderness program - featured nationwide as a safe option for parents who had teenagers facing trouble in a modern world where temptations present themselves even inside the home when the computer is switched on, did turn out as deadly.

It was hardly a surprise as many teenagers had died in wilderness programs before. But the industry did always have some kind of explanation. Among the lame excuses were:
  • It was a simple accident
  • It was an unlicensed wilderness program
  • It was the actions of a single employee running amok
But this time a 16 year old boy died in what was the properly finest wilderness program in the United States. There were no excuses. There were no staff members doing other things than they had done with hundred of teenagers. They had simply gambled as all employees in wilderness programs do when they take a teenager who had been removed from his home not days ago out in the wilderness without days of hospitalization to determine if the child was fit to function without the basic standards of 2009.

This day they lost their bet and had to pay the price with the loss of their jobs.

But there was another ending. It was the end of the life for 16 year old Sergey Blashchishen - a boy who knew that he helped help and had reached out to his parents. What did look like an obvious choice of hospitalization in a place where he could detox and receive therapy were somewhere changed - perhaps by an educational consultant on the payroll of schools or programs - to include a stay at a wilderness program.

A deadly choice but also a tragic loss for his family who had to suffer the ultimate sacrifice - the loss of a child.

May he be remembered as a person who paid too dearly with life so families of teenagers in need for treatment may be advised better in the future?

May be rest in peace.

On the the fatality of Sergey Blashchishen at Aspen Education Group's Wilderness Camp, Sagewalk..., The Troubling Troubling Troubled Teen Industry blog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shanice Nibbs - 2010

17 year old Shanice Shamika Nibbs fell and died as result of temperature changes within her body on a wilderness outing while she was in the care of Five Oaks Achievement Center in New Ulm.

The question must be whether wilderness outings should be allowed when it is related with treatment of teenagers. They don't have same possibility to control their body temperature as grown up adults.

The increased risk of bodily harm which occurs when you take medicated young people out in the wilderness has been been known for at least a decade. Still it happens every day. The counselors are ready to bet. This time the bet turned out deadly for poor Miss Nibbs. She didn't deserve this.

When will people decide whether the stakes is too high?

May she rest in piece.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Alex Cullinane - 2006

13 year old Alex Cullinane was sent on a hiking trip with a small unlicensed Cristian Military School known as Back to Basics Christian Military Academy.

During this trip he began to experience stomach pains. He wouldn't drink despite high temperatures. The problems were written of by the employees as not so serious but in the end young Mr. Cullinane died.

He was only one of many children in residential care who died because employees decided to play doctors themselves instead of taking the child in their care to a hospital where he could have been examined and possible cured.

A life cut short because the employees wouldn't start their car and transport him a few miles speaks of a tragedy of an high level.

He was robbed of his potential and the military Academy disappeared out of sight making it hard for the prosecution to investigate and bring people to justice.

May he rest in piece.

The datasheet of the program on Fornits Wiki
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