This blog is dedicated to "The Children Left Behind." We will not rest until the safety of our children and those that are entrusted with their mental health care are held accountable for abusing the children's God given rights, those rights upheld by our constitution, and those that have been complicit in obfuscating the truth!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


According to the author of this letter
(see below), the letter was 'mailed' to
five parties in
January of 2011, including Georgia's DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese who oversees the Office of Residential Child Care (ORCC), and  the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Director John Pickleman, in hopes that an investigation into the Ridge Creek School facility would commence.

Advanc-Ed- SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accredited the Ridge Creek School facility in February of 2011.  In April of 2011, Advanc-Ed Assistant Director stated in a telephone conversation that he had never heard of complaints ...

Interesting.  Emails and letters over the years clearly indicate that prior to and during Advanc-Ed's "take-over" of SACS, there were numerous complaints to the accrediting board regarding this facility and it's accreditation.

I spoke with the party that drafted this letter.  He/she did not know whom to write, so he/she decided to pull the list of agencies off  the Ridge Creek School's own website.  This is obvious in that the party sent the letter to NATSAP.  Although well-intentioned, he/she did not know that the owner of the facility co-founded NATSAP.  NATSAP, like IECA, Lon Woodbury, and  his educational consultant colleagues would never risk their livelihood in search of the truth, least of all exposing it.

What hit home, as with many former employees and parents, was the clear message that they were frightened to come forth;  this fear, was not of the agencies response.

What is more frightening is the lack of agency response.  To clarify, complainants may submit complaint reports to the ORCC anonymously.  If one is using the ORCC website to file a complaint, it cannot be  filed anonymously, although the ORCC states the complainants name will remain anonymous.

The letter submitted to "jilliestake" with permission given to publish, appalling as it is:

Department of Human Services
Commissioner’s Office
Commissioner Clyde L. Reese, III, Esq.

2 Peachtree Street, N.W.
Suite 29
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

RE:      Ridge Creek School
            Dahlonega, Georgia


Unfortunately, I must send this letter without an identifying signature as I have no interest in becoming involved in a lawsuit with Ridge Creek School.  Quite frankly the Administration there is so completely out of control I would fear for my safety (employment would not even be an issue) were my name to be written at the bottom of this letter as I would like.  It is important, however, that you become aware of situations that are occurring at the school on a regular basis that are putting the children who are domiciled there at significant risk.  Since your office either provides accreditation or is charged with the responsibility of oversight of the children’s welfare I believe it is vital that you have knowledge of some of the recent incidents at the school which, I feel, are causing significant damage to the children and the community at large.

Since the fall  of 2010 the following incidents have occurred:

  • A thirteen-year-old girl with a history of suicidal gestures (if not attempts), sexual promiscuity and self-abuse (cutting, purging, etc.) was allowed to leave a classroom unmonitored for upwards of 50 minutes.  During this time she had a pre-arranged sexual encounter with a fourteen-year-old male student in a bathroom stall.  This was only discovered when she told other students about the instance and they voiced their concern to staff.  The male student then attempted suicide, and was taken to a local mental hospital and (apparently) he now has rape charges pending against him.  The female student then attempted suicide which was also unsuccessful.
  • Two other students have had to be cut down by other students in hanging attempts.  To the best of my knowledge this issue of student suicide attempts has never been discussed or otherwise brought up in any staff meeting nor has any specialized training or education been provided to any of the staff despite repeated requests for such training by concerned and upset staff.
  • A thirteen-year-old male student (who had turned thirteen only a few days before this incident) told other students that he had been “sexually assaulted” by another male student, age fourteen.  This allegedly occurred in the dorm room which they shared and was only learned when, again, other concerned students told staff.  Although the thirteen-year-old student had a lengthy history of exaggeration and of lying, and his story changed at least five times during the staff investigation, the fourteen-year-old student was charged with sodomy by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office and he was expelled from Ridge Creek School.  At no time were the investigating authorities told by Ridge Creek School Administration of the thirteen-year-old’s history of lying and manipulation so that they might more accurately determine what charges to bring in this case.
  • Since the Christmas holidays the students have “rioted” in the parking lot, destroying property and generally out of control.  The reason given by the students was that so many staff members had either quit or been fired there was no consistency in the Counseling or Recreation departments as regards their treatment and they had no one to talk to or confide in.  In the last three months three counselors have been fired.  Two of them were fired after giving their notice of intention of finding other employment to Ridge Creek School and the Director of Counseling was fired when the Administration learned that he intended to leave the school as soon as possible as he feared the potential loss of his license due to the events that were routinely happening.
  • Staff has been routinely and frequently assaulted by the students.  Their automobiles have been broken into and personal items stolen.  The Director of Counseling had the window of his Lincoln SUV smashed with a brick by an angry student.
  • A student was released to go home with his father over the Christmas holidays and, later that day, his clothes were found neatly folded with the withdrawal paper on top of the clothes.  When the child’s withdrawal was then more closely examined it was learned that the child’s mother had sole custody and orders had been given to the school to, under no circumstances, release the child to his father.  At this time phone calls to both the child’s father and mother have gone unanswered and he has not been returned to the school at the agreed upon date.  His whereabouts are unknown.

There are many, many more instances where children and staff have been put in troubling and dangerous situations but I hope that the few instances I have given you have been sufficient to put you on notice that you need to sincerely question your involvement with Ridge Creek School.

Please feel free to initiate your own investigation so that you know what appropriate steps you need to take next.  To ignore this situation it to put your organization and it’s’ reputation in peril.  I also hope that you have a sincere interest in your organizations inherent duty to protect the troubled youth that attend a residential boarding school such as Ridge Creek.

I sincerely hope that this letter has sufficiently alerted you to the dangers involved to the children domiciled at Ridge Creek School and that you will quickly take appropriate steps to help insure their safety.

A Concerned Employee


National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs
Craig LaMont, President, Board of Directors

The Georgia Accrediting Commission
Carvin Brown, Ed.D.,  Executive Director

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
John Pickleman, Chairman                 

Georgia Independent School Association
Dr. Jeff Jackson

Department of Human Services; Commissioner’s Office
Commissioner Clyde L. Reese, III, Esq.


  1. Let's see, guess you can't expect much from a Pickle and a Candy Bar.

    There's a growing list of people who need to be fired/jailed for abdicating responsibility.... Where to start. I hold them equally responsible for the ongoing abuse under the guise of therapy that happened at HLA and all its subsequent iterations.

    I hope that people will send their complaints and documentation. Particularly right now, of being charged for counseling/therapy their child did not receive.

  2. Is anyone surprised by what was really happening at this school? I for one was not. My child was only there a short time, but the damage has been long lasting. One can file a complaint with the various government agencies, and I highly suggest it. But from my experience, it's a good ole boys network and they will not turn on each other. So if you think your complaint has fallen on deaf ears, it probably has, but don't fret keep complaining because like the say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The schools and government agencies need to held accountable for their actions and lack there of. So everyone who has had an experience with this school or one like it, keep up the complaints and don't just stop at the state agencies, go federal.


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