Northwestern Academy marks 10th anniv...

Northwestern Academy marks 10th anniversary

There are 227 comments on the The News Item story from Oct 24, 2008, titled Northwestern Academy marks 10th anniversary. In it, The News Item reports that:

"Making a dream come true." That was the unofficial theme of Thursday's ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the founding of Northwestern Academy, a juvenile justice rehabilitative facility in the ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The News Item.

Enammy

Charlotte, NC

#211 Nov 1, 2013
SGT wrote:
One more thing I'd like to add...Most of these posting you read here are from those whom actually spent time at NHS. First, they must have done something really bad or have been bad to be placed there! If they didn't care about anyone or anything then, and still don't now...why would you believe what they have to say? Apparently they've been disrespectful and still are! NHS is an excellent program. It may not change all the lives of every child that comes there but has a high success rate. The child him/herself must complete the program and change, not the staff. NHS could be a way better program with a perfect success rate if they only made some changes with the supervisors and certain staff members. They're a joke! I agree with the one comment made that NHS does indeed have a "HUG A THUG" program. If anything, they are too easy on the kids at times. Also, personally I believe that the 8-1 ratio (8 kids to 1 staff member) is a joke too. They need more staff members that will be able to spend more time with the kids one on one to honestly help them with their problems. But if they hired more staff then that's less money the bigshots will be making. It is very expensive to keep somone there at NHS and yeah it is all about money there too!
I don't agree with the comment abt how can u belive anything they say....you sound like one of those staff memebers everyone is referring to u dnt sound like u seem to care for the kids who get placed there,instead ur taking up for the place like ur seeing everything thats going on!
mom

Pittsburgh, PA

#212 Nov 20, 2013
My son is currently here and because he was walking away from a volatile situation 3 men jumped on his back flipped him over while another officer punched him in the face several times. So abuse does happen at Northwestern what's more disturbing is the cover up because they are all partying buddies. Well I have this officers name and I beg him to hit me or my husband.
mom

Indiana, PA

#213 Nov 20, 2013
My son is currently here and because he was walking away from a volatile situation 3 men jumped on his back flipped him over while another officer punched him in the face several times. So abuse does happen at Northwestern what's more disturbing is the cover up because they are all partying buddies. It's a joke that the Dept of Public Welfare for children are involved and are doing nothing. Well I refuse to look the other way I have the names of all involved and if I have to hire a private attorney for son's civil rights being violated so be it. If you are employed at the Vcore Program please know I'm not going away quietly, I will fight. I will go to every public forum whether it be newspaper, blog, news stations, or radio I will expose all parties involved. Yes, my son broke the law and he should be held responsible but no adult has any right to physically put their hands on my child.
smith

Bensalem, PA

#215 Feb 3, 2014
With all the bad things I hear about the staff. Did it ever accure to you that this Kid could have been mistreated in some kind of way. By the staff and was feed up and beat the crap out of the Staff? People are so judgmental and quick to put blame on the child. Simply because they are troubled.
jarhead1 wrote:
for starters,i have been employed by the academy for almost four years now. while it is true that some of our staff are idiots and some of our supervisors are questionable at times in no regards are students as a whole being abused. yes there may be a staff member who pushes the rules a little but if they push too far they will be disciplined. the only way we are allowed to put our hands on client is if he is representing a fear of or committing harm to himself or someone else. meaning if a kid swings at me he is gonna get restrained. and this will happen via an approved safe crisis management restraint or i will getfired and charged with child abuse! And by the way imho alot of these kids are so disrespectful they need a good ass kickin. it just wont be from me. these kids are treated with dignity and respect wether they treat staff the same or not. see post about staff being beat senseless with his own flashlight by a student.
concerned parent

Darby, PA

#216 Mar 4, 2014
David98 wrote:
A dream come true? How quaint...and cute.. if only it WERE true! That place is a nightmare. The way that it is run, quite honestly is a joke. Some of the supervisors are the biggest dipshits to walk the earth and some of the staff members are even bigger dipshits. Now this does not apply to all, but a good bit. I have been employed there for a short while and honestly, I do not think it will be much longer. The nonsense that you have to put up for the low rate of pay you get is almost criminal,(even with some of the staff I know with Bachelors Degrees from accredited universities). Some of these kids get away with murder and they have almost no respect for staff,(even some of the staff that do not have any qualms or chips on their shoulders with these kids) and in many cases, these kids do not even have much respect for themselves.
You get physically assaulted, cussed out, have things thrown at you, and get told you're going to get beat the fuck up for no reason. This is present in any detention type facility, but it's more and more apparent depending on your dorm. The training you receive is half assed and not adequate at all. These private detention centers do not offer the best treatment at all, and these kids are more then likely going to recidivate and end up back there, or in state prison anyhow. They do not have much fear, or concern for what may happen to them down the road. You can tell this by just watching the way some of these kids act, and what their attitude is like. And they then wonder why the turnover rate is so high? HAH! This type of behavior is to be expected in a job such as this, but the pay, compensation, and some of the training you receive is VERY inadequate.
My child is supposed to be heading to the facility in coal twnshp because of truancy. This DOES NOT sound like a place to send a 14 yr old because she missed too many days of school!!
concerned parent

Darby, PA

#217 Mar 4, 2014
SGT wrote:
One more thing I'd like to add...Most of these posting you read here are from those whom actually spent time at NHS. First, they must have done something really bad or have been bad to be placed there! If they didn't care about anyone or anything then, and still don't now...why would you believe what they have to say? Apparently they've been disrespectful and still are! NHS is an excellent program. It may not change all the lives of every child that comes there but has a high success rate. The child him/herself must complete the program and change, not the staff. NHS could be a way better program with a perfect success rate if they only made some changes with the supervisors and certain staff members. They're a joke! I agree with the one comment made that NHS does indeed have a "HUG A THUG" program. If anything, they are too easy on the kids at times. Also, personally I believe that the 8-1 ratio (8 kids to 1 staff member) is a joke too. They need more staff members that will be able to spend more time with the kids one on one to honestly help them with their problems. But if they hired more staff then that's less money the bigshots will be making. It is very expensive to keep somone there at NHS and yeah it is all about money there too!
My niece did nothing wrong but miss too many days of school, why does she deserve to be there? Children and youth is sending her there rather than putting her in the care of a blood relative, even after family members have successfully jumped through all the required hoops to get the kinship custody. Can anyone explain why she must go to a juvenile jail rather than home?
tina

Bernville, PA

#218 Mar 6, 2014
is this a state run facility or privately run faciity?
Concerned Mom

Johnstown, PA

#219 Mar 7, 2014
This is a state run facility and it is one step away from HELL!! My son spent 3 absolutely MISERABLE months there. Honestly, it needs shut down!! My heart breaks for anyone's child that is sent here.
Dori

Bethlehem, PA

#220 Mar 7, 2014
My daughter was in the girls side of Northwestern, and I actually have NO complaints. She has continued to communicate with her caseworker there since she feels that she has made a connection and her caseworker checks in to see how she is doing periodically. I hear you saying they are being mistreated and disrespected and neaten down... uhm most of these kids are juvinile offenders ~ its not a sleepaway camp, and these girls are arriving with their attitudes mouths and issues ~ going to big people jail later would be worse.
No name

Emmaus, PA

#222 May 1, 2014
I was in northwestern years and years ago. Boot camp is boot camp and I like other kids were out there for a reason and it wasn't for acting like angels. I was there 11 months and yeah it wasn't fun but it forced me to mature and learn respect. If you got outta line you got screamed at and occasionally pushed. You get Into the fights with other young punks who think they're hard asses. I learned valuable lessons and things I still think about today. It kept me outta trouble for years. If things went on like what's being said that place would be shut down. Parents can't even discipline their children with any physical discipline without getting In trouble. Now think about it if beating my cos happened regularly do you really think they wouldn't be fired and shut down? No it's little belly aching punks that make stuff up. These kids weren't scared on the streets when they were out robbing stores, stealing old ladies purses, or getting into gang fights. Come on now. If ya can't do the time then they shouldn't do the crime. Simple as that. I still am in touch with some of the staff there and my nephew went thru the same program and had no issues either. So kids these days just gotta man up and learn. Stay outta trouble. Very simple.
building bridges 2011

San Francisco, CA

#223 May 7, 2014
I was at building bridges from April 2011- September 2011. Some staff cared about your well being, others clearly didn't. the supervisor and manager, can't remember names, probably choose not to, threw me out and to another placement because i was cutting and they couldnt figure out how to handle it, even though they are a "therapeutic placement," this resulted in 3 more months to my stay. they fired staff that had nothing to do with the incident because the higher ups were afraid of being fired themselves. i once asked where the cottage's mail was because no one had received any in 3 days, i was punished for asking such a question and lost my phase privileges for the weekend until the mail came in on monday with a stamp proving it was received by the academy the friday before. no one had gotten the mail even though receiving mail on time is a right that cant be denied even to children. the "school" is a joke. you switch from room to room for 6 classes, which 3 "teachers" instruct. they give you find-a-word puzzles or crosswords for each subject pretty much every day, if not those worksheets then you watch movies unrelated to the class. the staff never follows the posted schedule and sometimes the kids miss out on the only exercise time they have because the staff is too lazy to take them outside. we were forced to clean, well more like SCRUB the cottage when the management were warned there would be an inspection. this often cut into exercise and after "school" activities. i came into the program taking no medication, but left taking 4 different meds, almost everyone by the time they left was on medication for something. there were some good staff, though, who actually cared, but unfortunately they were fired or left because of management reasons. i saw my therapist once a week for 30 minutes and sometimes wouldn't be able to meet with him at all even though we were required to have an hour of therapy a week. I requested a change of therapists because i didn't feel comfortable with a male therapist, they denied me the switch then punished me for not speaking openly with him. I once had a home pass taken away for telling my family the truth about how the place was ran, they justified taking the visit away because they said i gave the middle finger to my family which i NEVER did. they lie. they lie. they lie. a resident who was there with me was denied to go to court because 5 months prior she was a runaway risk. she had not been a threat in over 5 months when they denied her. the real reason was that she kept an extensive journal about what happened day to day at this place. they stole my personal journal from me and never returned it, claiming they lost it, but it was in my belongings when i packed to move to another placement. all in all this place is NOT good. girls go crazy here. there is no activity for them to do and most end up eating all day only to gain 50 lbs by the time they leave because no structure was provided. ive seen girls fight over juice! the staff are quick to retrain the girls, putting them in painful restraints, but they almost never try to quiet the situation down before it gets to that point. there are groups you must attend to be let out and graduate from phase to phase, but I, as a resident, has to personally lead them a few times because the staff didnt want to. also the girls who go here are awful. i was bullied for the first time in my life, and it was relentless. every time i walked into a room i would be laughed at or made fun of. even after having multiple "don't bully" packets handed to the residents, which we were forced to complete in one sitting, the staff did NOTHING to stop the bully and i was forced to deal with the harassment until the other resident left. please if you can help it make sure your kid is sent to kidspeace instead of building bridges. BB is a private placement that makes money off the kids instead of treating them. Kidspeace will actually try to help your child.
JJSHADYSLAYER25

Pine Grove, PA

#224 Jun 7, 2014
I was in the vcore program 2 years ago... it was pure HELL. I got restrained three times. The first time I got restrained was because I was in the position of attention and when commanded to go to the position of parade rest I was put in the seated upper torso position and I passed out. This program needs to be shut down permantly because staff there are there for one reason to get a paycheck and blow off steam by abusing kids
JJSHADYSLAYER25

Pine Grove, PA

#225 Jun 7, 2014
mom wrote:
My son is currently here and because he was walking away from a volatile situation 3 men jumped on his back flipped him over while another officer punched him in the face several times. So abuse does happen at Northwestern what's more disturbing is the cover up because they are all partying buddies. Well I have this officers name and I beg him to hit me or my husband.
I very much agree with u I was there for four months and I got restrained three times by the same officer soo I know what ur son is going through if u want info on how the vcore program really is hit me up on facebook my name is Jordan sager
jjshadyslayer25

Lewisburg, PA

#226 Jul 3, 2014
Dude your an idiot I went to boot camp at good ol northwest and you guys were a bunch of dick heads I was in blue barracks and I know first hand at what one of your "restraint " are like you get a bunch of people around you when you call an assist and they take off running laughing like ohh Yea this will be fun I wish your staff would go against me and my ffriends we would destroy all of u Yea ur a real hard ass with 4 other guys to help u with one kid see me one on one its a lot different you are nothing but a bunch of low life pun is in my books if u want to hit me up on fb my name is jordan safer I want to see the moron who posted this!!!!!!
F_NW

Lancaster, PA

#227 Dec 3, 2014
i did the boot camp 3 months or 4. i forget it was like 12 years ago. they were not nice to us. jerks! no one got raped or anything like that. we were always together as a group. i did get a knee once or twice and slammed to the ground a few times but no jonny bad touches. it was just a waste of time. the staff is all power tripped out and stupid.
cougars

Carbondale, PA

#228 Dec 3, 2014
F_NW wrote:
i did the boot camp 3 months or 4. i forget it was like 12 years ago. they were not nice to us. jerks! no one got raped or anything like that. we were always together as a group. i did get a knee once or twice and slammed to the ground a few times but no jonny bad touches. it was just a waste of time. the staff is all power tripped out and stupid.
True I was in white in 12 years ago my class was over in may the staff are mean Sgt sourder is a d bag
no name

New Castle, DE

#229 Dec 7, 2014
shadedflower wrote:
My son finally was placed in Northwestern on 10/22/09. I did just currently read a newspaper article online, while researching the place, that a child was found dead in his bed in April of this year...was this the child that died due to overmedication? I am a nervous wreck about my son being there, although he is place in the CAS program. His counselor told me the bootcamp is no longer operational??? Is this true? He said it got shut down for 3 years for "something that occured there that was not their fault" and didn't elaborate any further. I also found a newspaper article about a child dying there while being restrained back in 2005 (I believe that's the year the article listed.) Doesn't make me feel too hopeful sometimes, 2 kids in 4 years IS NOT good odds in a mother's eyes, no matter what reason they give for these poor children's deaths.
So far, londonbridge, I cannot say anything bad about Northwestern from what I saw when visiting my son yesterday, but he's only been there 10 full days. He's lost some weight and is NOT the same kid that left home, but I'm going to observe his manner as time goes on to see if the change in his demeanor is from being there or what. I'll post here accordingly and update as to what I hear, see, etc., I am very concerned that he is going to benefit from all this, though in the mental health profession they will tell you that your child's success is only as great as his willingness to want to change. Which program is your nephew in there? I know they have a VCorp program still in place; there were boys with military style clothing on in the hall where we visited.
God bless all you children who have been there and will be placed there, and I will pray daily for all the children currently there, that they become changed, stronger children and that they are well cared for in the appropriate manner while they are there.
Hmmmmm, I see several mentions regarding medication posted above...I'll be keeping my eye on that, too. God bless you all, have a good day.
How was your families outcome of NWA? I haven't checked this since I posted "no name" and I wrote a lot out of anger of my whole situation. There were some very good and nice staff I met in secure building up there. It definitely seemed like the higher ups were the shady ones..not the line staff. Yes the kid who died while I was there died from over medication but I do believe he was "cheeking" his meds and overdoses in his sleep. Rooms r small, one to Two kids per room ...barbed wire fences where I was ...restrains happened all the time but I don't recall any restraints happening that weren't warranted and most were effective and done properly. I even saw kids in my dorm restrain a kid for trying to go after another kid when staff weren't present...fun times...definitely sucked being there but there are some people i met there I wish I could talk to today.
no name

New Castle, DE

#230 Dec 7, 2014
Renew420 wrote:
northwestern is great tonyas a hottie nd metzgers the man only thing I learned their tho
Hahaha Metzger still there? What year were u there? He'd give me cigs when we went out in the community
no name

New Castle, DE

#231 Dec 7, 2014
NWA Grad wrote:
I went to Northwestern Academy a while back as a juvenile. I was sentenced to 4 months but ended up being incarcerated for a total of 2 years. First, let me say that the experience overall changed my life in such a profound way that I haven't gotten into trouble since and have completely steered clear of any trouble since. Secondly lets address some of the questions I read above which were posted out of concern from parents and the like. From first hand experience, let me tell you that the facility(s) is set up and run almost identically to a modern take on army or any military training environment during "hell week". There are 3 "barracks" on the top of the hill which ARE the detention facility. There is a maximum security building also on top of the hill and a minimum security unit at the bottom. The max secure as its called, though set up to be more regimented and "locked down" is no where near as bad as the actual boot camp.
The Max secure is a place where the kids are locked down for most of the day in clean rooms and given adequate food and they basically watch movies most the time and the other time they are involved in inadequate schooling and cell lock down with a bunk-mate; in a word, jail. The boot camp is split into 3 barracks which are called red, white, and blue. Each barracks has a commander or "Captain" and under him are various underlings which have ranks such as drill sergeant, senior drill sergeant, staff sergeant, etc. Most of the staff are in fact military and all treat the cadets as if there were enlisted in the military. This can be bad or good and pretty much depends on how much they dislike you. For example, I was singled out by a few drill sergeants who labeled me "sweets" and made me do things like strip down to nothing in front of the entire barracks and "p.t." (physically train) until I would regurgitate then make me clean it up and start exercising again; repeating the process. The cadets are able to gain rank over time. I wouldn't count on getting anything along the lines of information about abuse or tips from the children or staff as the staff all know the deal and the children are constantly watched and warned often of what would happen if they said anything. Often a cadet would be pulled out of a bunk in the middle of the night and led into the showers to receive a beating. There were 3 children there who were at least seriously injured when I attended. Two of them were escapees who ran for most of the night before being caught. Early in the morning we all were out front saluting the flag (all three barracks) as we watched staff lead them back bloodied and unable to walk under their own power; basically being dragged in a bloody heap. Also a cadet came into the barracks one day and refused to take the strut out of his step. This of course wasn't taken to kindly by a drill sergeant who grabbed him by the buttocks and back of the neck and dragged his face across a carpet giving him a rug burn on his face which permanently changed the color of half of his face. Now most of the things about this place, as
Well I was in max secure from 2008 to 2009 and we weren't on "lockdown" only time we were "locked" behind our doors was after 9pm until 7am for sleep...now the building was all locked every single door and to get to the outside there was like 4 doors you'd have to go thru. There was 20 foot fence with barbed wire and barbed wire around the roof...and ya we basically ate, sat in fake school for 6 hours cleaned the dorm and watched the TV...food was banging tho I'd eat that shit today and roger the server was the shit..always giving out more when u asked haha..not a place id ever want to go back to or my kids go to tho..you feel helpless in max secure and so isolated from the world
no name

New Castle, DE

#232 Dec 7, 2014
Tyler Durden wrote:
Ive been reading this off and on for awhile now. Let me start by saying there is nobody who is innocent at this dump. The kids are terrible for the most part, the staff are either the unemployed needing a paycheck or entry level college students or recent graduates looking to add something to their resume.
People complain about staff sticking together against the kids. What would you expect? Most dorms have 3 staff to 16 kids. You need to watch each others backs, sorry. Now then you also have alot of shady garbage going on at this place. I was personally involved in a case involving another staff and child abuse. I did the right thing and told the truth and was subsequently terminated for it.
Now with the kids. Many of them are simply monsters and should be locked up, some should have never been there. Or should have been there for a much shorter time due to the staff who have all the power to keep these kids there with logging fictitious actions and resttraining kids for no reason and it happens more than you know. But then there is the problem is most of you parents have no clue what your kids have done, they confide in those of us who did care. I cant count how many times I had a kid tell me he masturbated to his little sister or his mother, would hint at being sexually assaulted, abused by the sick disgusting parents who show up every week or call every visit. So many of these kids have animal fetishes. Kids who cry out by cutting themselves. You simply dont know what your own children are capable of or what they have done.
So it is what it is. The staff and management is crooked. The kids are monsters and scattered in there you have some awesome staff who care and some amazing kids. Im glad to have met some of these chidren and hopefully
made a positive influence in their lives.
May I ask what dorm you worked in?

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