Dear Sir: I am attaching you a copy of the
letter we sent the AG's Office on Monday.
Our daughter has been enrolled at the Whitmore for 2 and
a half years. Her improvement is so great it's just really
hard to explain. We are thankful for Mark & Cheryl's
---- Original Message ----
November 30, 2004
Honorable Mark Shurtleff
Office of the Attorney General
US Capitol Complex
East Office Bldg. Suite 320
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2320
Dear Honorable Shurtleff:
My 16 year daughter goes to a private school in Nephi, Utah.
It is the Whitmore Academy Boarding School. They specialize
in helping children at risk, making wrong decisions, anger
management and low self-esteem. They provide a loving, caring
Christian environment, which is extremely hard to find now
days. They also excel in equestrian therapy which is an extra
added value. The Sudweeks family have been providing this
type of service for over 28 years and had many years of success.
As with many programs, a few kids with severe problems may
try and sabotage a loving environment. The Sudweeks generally
try and discourage kids (parents) with severe behavior (mental)
problems to seek other facilities. This is not a lock down
facility; it is a school with specific goals.
Our daughter has been attending Whitmore Academy for 2 and
a half years. My wife and I visit the school quite often.
We had the whole school (all the children and teachers) come
to Texas in March of 2004 and stay at our house. I provided
rodeo tickets for all the students to attend the Houston
Livestock & Rodeo Show. The reason I am telling you this
is, if there was any sign whatsoever of physical or mental
abuse (or any type of abuse) going on we would certainly
have seen signs of this. We would definitely have heard about
it from our daughter. We’ve gotten to know a lot of the kids
and they had every opportunity to talk with us alone.
Your Honor what I’m leading up to is, there is a serious
flaw regarding the Nephi DCFS. The first we heard of anything
going on with the DCFS investigating the school was when
we received a hysterical call from our daughter about the
people and government workers (and police) storming into
the school telling them they were shutting down the school.
They separated the kids without any explanations, were rough
with them and talking down to them as if they were worse
than juvenile delinquents that had been caught at something.
When one child said they had rights too, one of police told
them they had no rights, he was the law. Does that sound
like to you that they were investigating in the best interests
of the children? I have yet to receive a phone call from
anyone in the DCFS offices. NO ONE has notified me from the
Utah DCFS telling me that there is any type of investigation
happening at all. I have received at least 4 crying phone
calls from my child about them coming back into the home
and pretty much causing havoc and hysteria among the kids.
You want to discuss emotional abuse? The Utah DCFS has caused
more emotional trauma within the ranks of the school than
anything that I can imagine. I spoke with one DCFS official
that was at the school one evening; He was not informative
when I asked why they were there. He told me he could not
discuss the case with me. I then told him that I was a parent
of a child going to that school and I had every right of
knowing what the allegations were and what they were doing.
He just said that they were investigating reports of abuse.
I asked why I had not been notified (I believe this was the
3rd day) and he said he had no idea, that he had to go now.
I requested his supervisor and he stated he was the officer
in charge. I asked what office I could call to find out more
information and he gave me the local office’s number. He
also stated that if I wanted another office (such as the
main one in Salt Lake City) I would have to look it up. I
then called the Nephi office to discuss the situation. I
was not given any information. I was not even able to get
the name of the official that had interviewed my daughter.
I was not given any reason as to why I had not been notified.
I asked for the worker that had interviewed my daughter to
please call me to discuss what was going on. I was told they
would call me the Friday after Thanksgiving or on the Monday
after. I still have not received any word from the Utah DCFS.
Over the last few days I have been in contact with several
parents and they have all expressed concern over the lasting
affects of the trauma that the DCFS have caused their children.
Some of these kids have turned a corner in their life and
this could be a big setback to their improvements. Many of
them stated that their children felt they were being led
and manipulated to say something bad about the school even
when they had nothing to say. The kids were very upset while
this was being done. They are being taught at the school
to respect each other and to NOT manipulate situations. What
a great example the DCFS is being.
My daughter called me hysterically crying and telling us
that the DCFS was telling all the kids they were shutting
down the school and taking all the kids to jail, then having
all the kids sent home. THIS SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING NATZIE
GERMANY WOULD HAVE DONE.
Sir, we would like to file a formal protest against the
Nephi DCFS and possibly file legal criminal assault charges
against them. My wife had heard that the children were being
given the option of leaving the school – which meant they
would be put in foster care until other arrangements were
made. My wife had to tell them not to touch our child and
that no matter what she would not be leaving the school!!!
Many parents told us the DCFS said they were shutting the
school down. It is like they came into the school on a witch
hunt based on one very sick, manipulative child’s false accusations.
There was no prior investigation before their actions. No
phone calls to the parents, etc. No investigation into the
accuser’s background or credibility. I understand that the
state needs to look out for the child’s welfare, but hopefully,
they are experienced enough to know when someone is screaming
“wolf” before tearing down the house.
I am also sending you copies of letters of explanation from
Mr. Sudweeks and some letters of support from several other
We would really appreciate your office’s prompt investigation
into the DCFS actions and a reply to us as to what is being
done to correct their investigation tactics.
D. Alex Willis, lll
PO Box 890051
Houston, Texas 77289
Copyright © 2004,
Woodbury Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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