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Opinion & Essays - Aug, 1994 Issue #29 

July, 1994 

I am an alumni of a Emotional Growth/Special Purpose school. I want to share my experience with any parents thinking of enrolling their child in one of these schools. 

A year ago, I had no future. I was hanging out with a group of druggies in a small town. Although I didn't do drugs myself, I had lost my goals to go to college and even to finish High School. In my Junior year, I skipped school too often. The first semester I nearly lost my credits. My grades had slipped and I was dropped from the National Honor Society. The second semester I was suspended for the first time. I skipped school and nearly dropped out. I hated every authority figure I met. At home, I fought with my parents whenever I was with them. I put myself in very abusive relationships with guys and was raped, abused sexually, physically, emotionally and mentally. I started to believe that I was everything they told me. I had a poor self concept and I hated myself. 

Then, I became involved with a gang. I asked them to "beat me in" even though this wasn't a normal procedure for girls. In July my "boyfriend" was taken into jail and I was raped by his friend and an older man. 

The next day I was taken to a wilderness program in Montana. I spent a month hiking on the Flathead Reservation. After this, even though I was almost 18, my parents sent me to a girls school. There were about 20 to 25 girls there. I finally allowed my dad to adopt me in December and began to build a relationship with my family again. I found what my issues were and began to work through them. At the same time, I was completing my Senior year of High School with decent grades. In February, I panicked and decided I was going to leave. I packed all of my belongings and almost walked down the road. As I was walking out the door, one of the staff members came in and talked to me. I decided to stay. April came and I got to go on a home visit. When I got back to school, I learned that I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It developed from the abuse I involved myself in in the past. I learned how to work with it instead of against it. In June, I graduated from High School and came home. 

To sum it up, I was very resistant at first and even half way through. I still get resistant at times, but it is different now. I can handle it and walk through it. I am glad my parents sent me to the school. I regained my dreams and values, am going to college and I love myself. 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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