Seen 'n Heard - Feb,
1998 Issue (page 1)
Page 1 of 3 - Next
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR RESIDENTIAL EDUCATION
Education Week on the web, has a story in the January 14, 1998 issue, entitled,
“Group Resurrects Call For Modern Orphanages.”
It reports that Heidi Goldsmith, Executive Director of the International Center for Residential Education, a Washington D.C. organization
founded in 1993, 202-363-3904, is proposing “modern-day orphanages that would both house and educate at-risk youths.” Mrs. Goldsmith
argues “These homes ...would provide poor children with the same kind of elite educational experiences that many wealthy families
choose and could cut down on multiple placements for those in foster care.” She refers to The Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa
as an example of what can be done for children from poor families.
JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF PARENTS
On January 20, 1998, an Alameda County judge ruled that Jim and Sue Van Blarigan had the right to enroll their child in Tranquility
Bay, a program in Jamaica.. The County Prosecutor was trying to have the Blarigan’s son returned, a “novel legal move” that challenged
the usual custom of California Courts to give “broad rights to how parents can treat and handle their kids.” The judge did tell the
Prosecutor he could return to court if he can present evidence of abuse.
MEDIA RESPONSE TO JUDGE’S RULING
A quick search of the Internet’s news sources showed the above story was picked up by several news outlets. The responses seemed to
range from fuzzy fears with emotionally-charged descriptive words (fact challenged?), to cheers for common sense and support for parents.
Among the print media, Time magazine in the January 26th issue was in the former category with “Is This A Camp Or Jail?: Are parents
violating the rights of their own kids....” Their skepticism was shown by their use of terms to bring out parent’s and child advocate’s
worse nightmares; “burly strangers,” “handcuffs,” “intensive boot camp-style approach,” “take him away,” “prison,” and “kidnapping.”
Also brought into the story was a reference to a book exposing cult camps which had nothing to do with Tranquility Bay, and wilderness
scare stories that have been reported in the media in the last few years which also had nothing to do with Tranquility Bay. It was
obvious the writer’s assignment was to get the dirt first, rather than to get the story straight. (Come to think of it, that’s the
heart of the current criticism of the media in general, isn’t it? -Lon). On the other side was an editorial from The Tampa Tribune
referring to this as “a return of common sense concerning parental rights” under the title, “Children don’t have adult rights.”
TIME MAGAZINE WRITER APOLOGIZES After the scare story Time Magazine printed on Tranquility Bay in the
January 26, 1998 issue, Jay Kay, Director of Tranquility Bay, reports the writer who had visited the program for Time Magazine called
Kay to apologize. Kay said the writer told him he saw and wrote about a positive program, but the editor chopped it up because that
slant wasn’t “newsworthy.” Also, Jeri Fortyn, a mother of a child at Tranquility Bay and Admissions Coordinator at Teen Help, told
Woodbury Reports that a staff at Time Magazine said they were overwhelmed by the letters they had received in support of Tranquility
Bay by parents, “We have never had such a deluge of mail concerning any other story before.” Teen Help itself has received copies
of 103 letters (and still coming in) from parents who had written supporting letters to the Judge, District Attorney, and various
media who had covered the story.
NORTHSTAR CENTER CHANGES
Alex Weiss has been promoted to Program Manager for the Center, 541-385-8657. He takes over from Jeannie Crowell who was there during
1997 to launch the new education program and develop their Phase curriculum. With those projects running, she is happy to have Alex
take over maintaining them. Two Residential Counselors will be moving into program counselor positions. Julie Hays will replace Alex
in Phase I, and Meghan Flaherty will be supporting Phase III staff with students in the Independent Living Phase. Meghan will also
continue as an assistant guide for their wilderness program. Plans for 1998 include a Family Wilderness Expedition to the Baja region
of Mexico, with six students and their parents.
CEDU CELEBRATES 30 YEARS
Last summer, CEDU Education, Running Springs, California and Bonners Ferry, Idaho marked their 30th year in providing education for
children with problems. In 1967, Mel and Brigitte Wasserman started inviting kids over to their house to talk. It became a regular
thing, attracting kids who needed to talk about their problems. This soon evolved into what we now know as CEDU Education.
Copyright © 1998, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced
without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)