This is a letter we emailed to the Attorney
General of the State of Utah. Mark said to forward it to
Thanks for helping!
Dear Mr. Shurtleff,
We received a call from the Division of Child and Family
Services on November 23rd to inform us that a DCFS employee
had interviewed our daughter in connection with child abuse
accusations against the Whitmore Academy. We were told that
our daughter appeared unusually anxious during the interview,
giving rise to some suspicion that she may have been witholding
or hiding information. When we were able to talk with our
daughter about that day's events, she told us a frightening
story of police officers showing up at the Whitmore Academy
classroom, ushering the students outside, lining them up,
and driving them away in squad cars for interviews concerning
accusations of child abuse against the Whitmore Academy.
We honestly question why the DCFS employee would wonder
why our daughter had been unusually anxious in the interview.
(Under the circumstances, I would have been terrified!) Given
that the Whitmore Academy specializes in helping youth with
troubled histories, we also question why the DCFS did not
go out of their way to be more sensitive to the needs of
this population of students.
From our experience, the Whitmore Academy operates with
complete openness and transparency. Any parent can visit
at any time, unannounced, and visit their child any time
without supervision by the Whitmore Academy owners or staff.
The kids are not coerced or intimidated in any way. Even
though it was not our daughter's choice to go to the Whitmore,
she has chosen to stay. Furthermore, it has only been because
of the help of the Whitmore Academy that she is gradually
blossoming into the young woman she was meant to be, someone
who knows who she is. This could not happen in an abusive
I have no concerns whatsoever that the owners of the Whitmore
are being anything but loving, nurturing, and respectful
to our daughter and the other students in their care. I am,
however, concerned that the state of Utah seemed to use unsubstantiated
accusations as a reason to frighten our daughter and physically
remove her from the premises of the Whitmore Academy without
our knowledge or consent.
We feel confident that there is no basis for the current
investigation into the Whitmore Academy. We respectfully
request a careful examination of the disruptive way the current
investigation is being conducted. The actions of the DCFS
continue to have a traumatic effect on the students in the
Whitmore program. The manner of the DCFS investigation works
against the goals of the Whitmore -- goals of turning around
troubled youth to the point where they can become productive
members of society. The great state of Utah no doubt shares
Dan and Lisa Meier
Copyright © 2004,
Woodbury Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(This article may not be reproduced without written approval of the publisher.)
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