Valleyhead, a school for girls, closes

Valleyhead, a school for girls, closes

There are 283 comments on the Berkshire Eagle story from Feb 26, 2009, titled Valleyhead, a school for girls, closes. In it, Berkshire Eagle reports that:

After 40 years of serving young women with emotional issues, the Valleyhead school has closed.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Berkshire Eagle.

rebecca

Durham, CT

#125 Oct 23, 2011
You dont know me wrote:
<quoted text>
I never did, but will be the first to say that the Merritt boys were VERY handsome boys! IF, and that is a VERY big IF, the Merritt boys gave some of the girls there that I knew attention in that manner, the girls that I knew would have welcomed it. If you did "boff" them as you put it, you welcomed the attention and you KNOW it, probably even provoked it. Within the first 2 days that I went there the only things that horrified me were the students, and where they came from and why they were there! 13 yr old hookers, drug abusers, alcoholics???? Come on girls, parenting starts in the home and it's unfortunate that you ended up there for the reason that you did. Stop blaming the Merritt's for trying to give you a chance in life. Take a look at where and who you came from and start there. Enough said.
#1: The Merritt boys are, and were custodians to minor children. The law states that sleeping or engaging in sex is statutory rape. NOT ALLOWED under ANY circumstance. The family was never "out to give the girls a chance". Laughable, if it weren't so sad!#2: I know who I am. Good family, just there cause no one knew what to do with a teenager with PTSD.(not family induced). Not an abuser of drugs, or anything else, nor a hooker! The Merritts are not "saviors". They are blood sucking leeches of the lowest kind. Parenting starts at home. The Merritts were not "family". They were money-grubbing mercenary pieces of shit. And medicine WAS initiated there. Prove otherwise, and you win, but you can't. Point made.
You dont know me

Canton, MI

#126 Oct 24, 2011
rebecca wrote:
<quoted text> #1: The Merritt boys are, and were custodians to minor children. The law states that sleeping or engaging in sex is statutory rape. NOT ALLOWED under ANY circumstance. The family was never "out to give the girls a chance". Laughable, if it weren't so sad!#2: I know who I am. Good family, just there cause no one knew what to do with a teenager with PTSD.(not family induced). Not an abuser of drugs, or anything else, nor a hooker! The Merritts are not "saviors". They are blood sucking leeches of the lowest kind. Parenting starts at home. The Merritts were not "family". They were money-grubbing mercenary pieces of shit. And medicine WAS initiated there. Prove otherwise, and you win, but you can't. Point made.
I don't have to "prove anything", I lived there, was not on any medications, and could observe everything with a clear mind. However, if you have a drug induced mind, you might very well see things differently. You're right that the Merritts were not family, and also right that parenting starts in the home. That was not my home, or yours, therefore, if we started with good parenting in the home, we never would have been there now would we? Point made, stop living in the past.
JaneyDoe

Lenox, MA

#128 Jul 1, 2012
Not sure if this thread is still active, but I wanted to let those of you who are looking for your records from Valleyhead know that all of your records (including incident reports, your dates of birth, social security numbers, etc.) are still here on the campus, in the basement of the Merritt's house at the top of the hill. I saw them there. I cannot disclose why I had access to them, but you have a right to have those records destroyed or stored securely, and currently they're not. I would recommend pursuing legal action to get your records.
Lori

Virginia Beach, VA

#129 Jul 2, 2012
Oct 5-8 Some will walk to the grounds to "face their Ghosts." I wish them well,though due to financial limitations and physical limitations,I cannot be there.Hopefully now you'll be able to "leave whatever happened there,back there." Institutions are or should be a thing of the past,anyway.
Perla

Cambridge, MA

#130 Jul 26, 2012
T from NH wrote:
I am one who says finally too. This place that was suposed to help you turn ur life around and give u an education and self esteem, only made everyone's life a living HELL. people who went there probly thought it was a way to get out of theyer already abusive situations. However it was more abusive and emotionally tortureing than the average person would ever in thier wildest nightmares be able to fathom. pubic hair in ur milk, watching rape across the room, when ur only told if u tell theyll never believe you, after all ur emotionally unstable, no one will listen to you. cleaning up the blood in a so called quite room of a resident that didnt make it through there so called restraint, as punishment for running away, only to be returned to your nightmare. being put on the quite bench for 24 hours as punishment for allowing a friend to borrow ur electric razor which she dicided to hang herself with in the bathroom. as I said be punished for your friends suicide, not go through grieving and learn that emotions are ok and to work through your feelings instead being taught stuff ur feelings. surrouned by self abusing children and teens, only to start taking on the same actions yourself due to not being taught to express your feelings about anything. having the opportunity for surgery taken away from you when your in need because they are more scared that you have ran away in the past and thinking your dumb enough to run from the hospital. trying to run away for help not fun and bringing a girl to the lenox police station to let them see that this so-called place allows the girls to self abuse so severly that they are walking around with glass and staples and anthing metal embedded in their skin all over thier body, yet we werent allowed to go to the hospital if we had a run risk. the use of medication not to help but to dope you up so much so that u cant put up a fight during restraints just about all the girls were on a cocktail of meds when i was there. never been medicated before i went there. but when i was i saw things heard things and felt things that werent there than had a complete nervouse break down and went to jones 2 only to be sent back and still needed to see Dr Pumphry.Since not being on meds i am fine and was told never needed them. so for a place that was suposed to take you out of a abusive situation and help the emotions of children and teens. Boy did we get to see alot. and for all you staff out there I hope you can live with all the shit you said to us did to us and allowed to happen to us right infront of ur eyes. Cause we have to live with it for the rest of our lives. the sounds of ur words when putting us down may have gone away but the emotional scaring will Never deminish. what i got from you is distrust, fear and dilusions of how things should be.Most girls who left there grew up to be sexually confused, depressed, distrustful, and fearful of themselves and the world around them. I am so thankful that the nightmare can not go on. Whoever helped put a stop to this Thank You.
I was the only succesful one to run AWAY thats Because I had a ride and before i left i was tormented by some blonde lady and another lady constintly taunting !!like hello help me i need help no one would listen no one!
lisa thibault

Liverpool, NY

#131 Aug 14, 2012
Jodi wrote:
I can't believe it took 40 years for the FBI and DYS to finally shut these sickos down! I personally never saw any sexual abuse, but I don't doubt it existed at all. T from NH couldn't have said it any better as to a lot of the sh-- that went on there. It was the worst experience of my childhood and who knows how much different I might've been for the better had I not been there the two years I was there? The few good staff that were there were totally overridden and overpowered by the dozens of bad ones that made the kids feel like murderers and prisoners instead of victims of abuse in a place that was supposed to be a school filled with an extra dose of caring.
Just like T got punished for loaning her dryer to the girl that hung herself with it, I was punished for trying to kill myself by jumping out a second-story window to escape the verbal and emotional abuse I was getting there, as well as some physical threats. After I jumped, instead of being offered the support I needed, I was only made to feel sorry I didn’t succeed in killing myself, although I did not jump with any set goal intended. I simply panicked, I wanted out, and well, I went out, alright! They sure decided, however, that I only threw myself out the window for attention, failing to keep in mind that throwing yourself out a second-story window is a rather risky way to get attention.
I too, was turned into a walking pharmacy. I became very addicted to one of the drugs they used to control me with (Navane) and ended up with permanent side effects as well.(tardivedyskenesia)
I went into Valleyhead at 85 pounds, starved by one of my former foster mothers. I was picked on by Margaret, one of the meanest staffers there, for being so skinny. Part of the side effects to all the drugs they had me on was weight-gain. I climbed over 130 pounds, a lot for a 5-footer. Did Barbara, who was even meaner, think that by telling me I “had all that fat to keep me warm” really think she was helping me in any way?
I also believe the owners were stealing the girls’ money. Whenever my folks would leave me money it either disappeared or I was told it was much less than what they said they left me.
Most of the mean, cold-hearted control freaks that ran the place had worse emotional issues than the “students” had! It has been 25 years since I was there yet I still have nightmares about being stuck back there, dominated and ridiculed by Donna, her sister Margaret, and Barbara. I don’t think to this day they have any conscious or remorse for the things they said and did to what was mostly very fragile and abused children. May God somehow see to it that they are punished for the hell they inflicted upon some of us!
hi jody i was at vally head with you i dont no if you rember me but i rember you i always wondered what happen to you i want to tell you that you were not the only one that was abused one day when i was put out of porgam mr jayco that was a staff member there rember him he used to make me tutch his dick i was a lone with him on the 3 floor out of progam please e mail at [email protected] i wood like to tell you a bout my life after i left vally head ps will you save me last ring a bell your friend lisa thibault ps i will never for get you when you jumped out the windo at vally head i blamed the staff and the
merits for what happen to you i have a resentment on vally head i will never let go of
lisa thibault

Liverpool, NY

#132 Aug 14, 2012
BIG Brother wrote:
<quoted text>
Remember, He also owns the Bennington School. There are still kids there that can be hurt by his ways.
hi bryen do you rember me lisathibault i went to vally head i no that a bues went on please e mail me [email protected]
lisa thibault

Liverpool, NY

#133 Aug 14, 2012
vally head school sucks
Crystal Lansing

Hudson, MA

#134 Aug 18, 2012
I went to Valley Head when I was 10yrs old . One night I was just sitting in my room and a girl had came and threw something in my room . It was a condom I didnt know what it was I had never seen one so I told the staff and they talk to the girl but right after I went back to my room the girl followed me and beat me till I was bleeding on the floor I heard the staff close by but no one stopped her till I was chocking . Ive watched a girl and a very old man who was supposed to be a staff member haveing sexual realaions esspeacilly when we went on outtings like camping . Ive been placed in the padded rooms . They were horrible rooms One was just a square room with a tiny window on the door .The other room was rectangle and had plastic windows on one wall t. It was horrible torcher being in the rooms and if it was meal time and they didnt feel like feeding you you went without food no matter how hungry you were . I was beaten almost everyday by the older girls . I watched a girl slit her wrist ( thankfully she didnt die ) I remember watching one of the male staff rape the girl in the room across from me . I remember some of the staff members were good people but alot were bad . Sometimes I still have nightmares an hear girls screaming for help . Im very happy the torcher has come to an end . I saw many disturbing things that still mess with me today.Thank God they closed that horrible place down finally no one deserves that EVER .
Crystal Lansing

Hudson, MA

#135 Aug 18, 2012
I was there in the 90s. I was 10years old .Ive watched girls being raped , beatin and scared . I watched a girl try to jump out of a window . I tried to do it myself as well . I was beatin for no reason alot . I was thrown in the padded rooms . And if it was meal time and they didnt feel you should eat you didnt get food even if you screamed and begged for hours they wouldnt give you anything . I was once in the room for 2days straight with no food just a small cone cup of water when they felt like giving me one . I used to watch a girl and a very old man who was supposed to be a staff member haveing sexual realaions . They were a couple staff members who were good people . I still have nightmares of all the tourcher I wake up screaming at night sometimes because I dream of the girls I watched be tourchered and raped and beaten . Im so glad this place is finally shut down . If any of you remember me I was the youngest girl to ever be at Vally Head I was 10 yrs ld when I went feel free to add me on facebook Crystal Marie Lansing . None of us deserved what we went thru .
Tammie

Claremont, NH

#137 Aug 20, 2012
We don't need nasty comments about other students on here. I don't know Nihy, but it seems to me that she is diong something gteat that will help alot of people heal and connect and reconnect with others. So lets all show some kind of maturity. After all we are all grown up now.
TLA

Cromwell, CT

#138 Aug 22, 2012
KJWW,
I'm in Waterbury right now. I've lived here since the late 80s to early 90s.
dja

Seymour, CT

#139 Aug 28, 2012
Perla wrote:
<quoted text>
I was the only succesful one to run AWAY thats Because I had a ride and before i left i was tormented by some blonde lady and another lady constintly taunting !!like hello help me i need help no one would listen no one!
I was also a sucessfull runaway quite a few times I jumpped from the second floor window and took off I hid for a few hours and then started walking I also ran from the mall...
Lynda

Pine Bush, NY

#140 Oct 9, 2012
KJww wrote:
I'm one of the girls who passed through Valleyhead's walls and I never be the same. I was sent there because behaivor and learning problems. I didn't learn any except what it is like to have the head masters sons climb in your bed night after night.. There was no lock on door between the hallwalls of the dorm and faimly. We were the sons play ground. the older sister could be very mean when in charge. there was a coulple of good teachers but they can't make up for all the crap and pain that the Merrits put me through. KJ
Are you mad? Headmaster? What "door between halls walls of the dorm and family"? We never even saw any of the Merrit family with the exception of Eileen (Ellen?) at admission and discharge time. They didn't live with us for heavens sake! Four houses for the girls and not one that anyone in the Merrit family ever spent the night in. Either a whole lot changed after I left or after you did because what you just described didn't exist.
Linda

Mount Clemens, MI

#141 Oct 23, 2012
Lynda wrote:
<quoted text>
Are you mad? Headmaster? What "door between halls walls of the dorm and family"? We never even saw any of the Merrit family with the exception of Eileen (Ellen?) at admission and discharge time. They didn't live with us for heavens sake! Four houses for the girls and not one that anyone in the Merrit family ever spent the night in. Either a whole lot changed after I left or after you did because what you just described didn't exist.
I agree with you Lynda. I was there in the early 80's for 2yrs and I was never medicated, but the girls who were are imagining things. Some were bi-polar and schizophrenic. The girls were what scared me the most! I loved it there for the most part, I played all the sports they offered and just tried to be a good student. Wasn't that hard.
samantha b

United States

#142 Dec 7, 2012
Jodi wrote:
I can't believe it took 40 years for the FBI and DYS to finally shut these sickos down! I personally never saw any sexual abuse, but I don't doubt it existed at all. T from NH couldn't have said it any better as to a lot of the sh-- that went on there. It was the worst experience of my childhood and who knows how much different I might've been for the better had I not been there the two years I was there? The few good staff that were there were totally overridden and overpowered by the dozens of bad ones that made the kids feel like murderers and prisoners instead of victims of abuse in a place that was supposed to be a school filled with an extra dose of caring.
Just like T got punished for loaning her dryer to the girl that hung herself with it, I was punished for trying to kill myself by jumping out a second-story window to escape the verbal and emotional abuse I was getting there, as well as some physical threats. After I jumped, instead of being offered the support I needed, I was only made to feel sorry I didn’t succeed in killing myself, although I did not jump with any set goal intended. I simply panicked, I wanted out, and well, I went out, alright! They sure decided, however, that I only threw myself out the window for attention, failing to keep in mind that throwing yourself out a second-story window is a rather risky way to get attention.
I too, was turned into a walking pharmacy. I became very addicted to one of the drugs they used to control me with (Navane) and ended up with permanent side effects as well.(tardivedyskenesia)
I went into Valleyhead at 85 pounds, starved by one of my former foster mothers. I was picked on by Margaret, one of the meanest staffers there, for being so skinny. Part of the side effects to all the drugs they had me on was weight-gain. I climbed over 130 pounds, a lot for a 5-footer. Did Barbara, who was even meaner, think that by telling me I “had all that fat to keep me warm” really think she was helping me in any way?
I also believe the owners were stealing the girls’ money. Whenever my folks would leave me money it either disappeared or I was told it was much less i am glad they shut down i was there back when male staff was having sex with females funny i how so many people say it helps i was no more then 12 or 13 when i left there and i thanked god for it a lot.of the stawhat they said they left me.
Most of the mean, cold-hearted control freaks that ran the place had worse emotional issues than the “students” had! It has been 25 years since I was there yet I still have nightmares about being stuck back there, dominated and ridiculed by Donna, her sister Margaret, and Barbara. I don’t think to this day they have any conscious or remorse for the things they said and did to what was mostly very fragile and abused children. May God somehow see to it that they are punished for the hell they inflicted upon some of us!
i am glad they shut down i was there back when male staff was having sex with females funny i how so many people say it helps i was no more then 12 or 13 when i left there and i thanked god for it a lot.of the staff are ashemed. and can't step up for the girls that was therr i was thete from 1995 or so to almost 99 2000 and.it was hell geting abuse by staff and the head peole eat bateries just to go to the er and when u get back u get hurt samantha b i am now 27 and.wish dcf cared more back then as well alit of staff was good and they did care but some loved it when they can do what ever u want i remember sitting in the dinner place where swift house was and.a female jumped out the window and.then one female ran and jumped in the pool some i still talk to and some i never heard from again
samantha b

United States

#143 Dec 7, 2012
i am glad they shut down i was there back when male staff was having sex with females funny i how so many people say it helps i was no more then 12 or 13 when i left there and i thanked god for it a lot.of the staff are ashemed. and can't step up for the girls that was therr i was thete from 1995 or so to almost 99 2000 and.it was hell geting abuse by staff and the head peole eat bateries just to go to the er and when u get back u get hurt samantha b i am now 27 and.wish dcf cared more back then as well alit of staff was good and they did care but some loved it when they can do what ever u want i remember sitting in the dinner place where swift house was and.a female jumped out the window and.then one female ran and jumped in the pool some i still talk to and some i never heard from again some of the staff.i still talk to.some live.right in north adams pittsfield adams
Crystal O

Wilbraham, MA

#145 Jan 11, 2013
I also was a client/student there I learned nothing they were mean always restrained the kids. i was very troubled as a child and they did nothing to help me. I have to also say it's about time because when i was there i was treated like crap i would never wish what i went through on my worst enemy.
erica

Philadelphia, PA

#146 Jan 18, 2013
I was in valley head for five months in 2001
Mr oleary tried to rape mein the bathroom and I stabbed him with the toilet seat I broke.They put me in strict staff which is an empty room and they had this African guy watch me he told me to call him daddy I was there for four weeks I didn't eat or sleep. That place was horrible I'm glad they closed it down. There was only two decent staff Mr Goff and this lady named shosandra
lynn j

Enfield, CT

#147 Jan 27, 2013
I went there in 1979 to 1982 made a few friends. Hate that school.

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