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WWASP/Teen Help Debate click here

Tranquility Bay
By: Donna Burke
Houston, Texas

I am the mother of two boys that were sent to Tranquility Bay, Jamaica by their father without my knowledge. He used escorts and removed them while they were in public school. He gave me the video and brochure and upon reading it, I thought that they were in a "Club Med" type facility. My younger son had gotten into trouble and I was convinced that this was the answer. I thought that he would get therapy, have an international experience, and be treated well.

I soon became suspicious when I realized that I was "locked out" of the program. I could not visit or talk to my boys until they reached a certain level. After 7 months, I went to visit. I became very angry when I realized that neither the brochure or the video had been done at any of the campuses. I expected to see a resort and instead saw a prison. The school was dirty, crowded, and silent. The boys were standing in line at attention in the blazing sun for hours. My two boys were terribly thin and sunburned. They were sleeping on bare dirty mattresses and there were no fans or air conditioning. When I spoke to other children, they became very uneasy so I knew that this was not allowed. I tried to take pictures but was told that I could not. This made me worry even more about what they were hiding.

Upon examining my children, I found ring worm scars, chemical burns and lots of bug bites. They also had an unknown rash. I could understand how ring worm would be spread. There was no hot water. The boys took cold showers in a hose outside. They washed their clothing in cold water.

There was a child who was in the "clinic" who was ill. He was lying on a bare, dirty mattress that was on the floor in an empty room. My boys told me of being stung by a scorpion, getting food poisoning, etc., and never getting medical attention.

My boys are home now and I can see that the academics were no better than the facility. It is all correspondence and my younger son only received a few credits in a year and a half. My older son could not take Chemistry and Labs or Foreign Languages while there so he has fallen behind too. Both were on grade level before attending TB.

In summary, I feel that the Teen Help program did not deliver what was promised in the video or the brochure. I think that the conditions were horrid and I am sorry that my children ever attended. I would not recommend this program to anyone.

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