Thursday, April 07, 2005

Desperately seeking Jordan: Got any suggestions? Jerry Springer? Milk cartons?

Yet another grandfather (or sister or aunt or neighbor or boyfriend) has just contacted me. "I saw your posting on Fornits (or 8th Step or TheStraights or ISAC) and my grandson (or god-daughter or niece or son's friend) has been sent to one of those terrible behavior modification places and they won't let me get in touch with him (or her)."

I had NO idea that there were so many concerned relatives (friends, neighbors, aunties, coaches, homeboys) -- whole NETWORKS of concerned relatives (teachers, scout leaders, friends, neighbors, babysitters) -- out there searching for ways to contact young Billy or Suzie or Jennifer or Zachery or Thad (or Jordan) who is being held incommunicado at some isolated, unregulated "school" (or "program" or "boot camp" or "wilderness experience" or "therapy program for struggling teens".)

The grandfather (or aunt or sister or cousin or non-custodial parent or football team member or crossing guard or fairy god-mother) who called me today was heart-broken. He'd hired lawyers. He'd petitioned the courts. He'd contacted child protective services. He'd appealed to the parents of the incarcerated child, asking if he could take the child into his home instead of having them pay $4,000 a month to the "struggling parents industry". He'd gone on the net and posted on the boards. He'd talked with others in the same situation. He'd called the local librarian in the town next to the "program" in Montana. He'd done intensive research. He'd talked the county sheriff who regularly helped track runaways from the program. He'd called the place itself and begged them to let him see his grandson. He'd contacted school accreditation programs to see if the "school" was accredited -- or even registered. He'd written desperate letters to the editor. He'd called Senators and Congressmen. In other words, he'd done everything that I did.

Results? Nothing (or zero or nada or zip).

Once those behavior modification places get their hands on these kids' parents' $4,000 a month ($48,000 a year, $5,760,000 a program, $345,6000,000 for programs in Montana), they will lie, cheat, steal and KILL to keep them there! There is NO way you can get your grandson (neighbor boy, nephew, god-daughter, Sunday school pupil) out of there short of hiring a battalion of battle-hardened Iraq war veterans with tanks. If that.

If these places are as wonderful as their brochures claim that they are, then why all the secrecy? Why go though all this WARFARE just to shut up a few teenage boys (or girls)?

When he contacted me, the above-mentioned forlorn (or angry or desperate or saddened or thoroughly upset) grandfather BEGGED me to try to come up with a new idea (or law or authority or resource or venue). What more could I come up with? I'd already spent eight whole months trying to rescue Jordan with absolutely no luck.

"The one thing that these programs (or schools or dungeons or torture chambers) hate is publicity," said the grandfather. "Maybe if we just let enough people know that there is a problem and they put on enough pressure, the school will let me speak to my grandson -- just to shut me up." Sounds like a plan!

And how can one possibly reach the largest amount of people regarding this issue? Milk carton pictures? 60 Minutes? Skywriting? What? How about Jerry Springer! (or Oprah or Montel or Dr. Phil or Rickie or Maury or Sally or Ellen!)

Does anybody know how to get onto these shows? This is a story worth telling. And an interesting (important, urgent, crucial, life-changing, awesome, helpful, ENTERTAINING) one too.

Plus it would be a relief to shut down all these schools (programs, slave labor camps, kidnappers, perverts, sadists, Fagans, money-grubbers) so that I won't have to have broken-hearted grandfathers (non-custodial parents, neighbors, friends, pets, teachers, guardian angels) contacting me to ask me what to do when I don't know what to do either.