Department Of Social Services Investigating Dozens Of Complaints At Whitmore Christian School

Knowing just what’s going on at a Christian boarding school in the Whitmore area sort of depends on who you ask. The State Department of Social Services has gotten dozens of complaints that the River View Christian Academy uses harsh abusive tactics in its attempts to instill what it considers Christian values. The private school has about 50 students between the ages of 12 and 18 who are sent to the facility by parents who believe the troubled teens can be set straight by the strict code of conduct enforced by the staff. Accusations detailed by the website “Buzzfeed” say students have their communication restricted, have their antidepressant medications taken away, and are sometimes prohibited from having any contact with each other or anyone else for weeks at a time. They’re also accused of practicing gay conversion therapy on juveniles, which is illegal in California. In January the school got a visit from a team of 16 CHP Officers and 17 social workers. They were looking for guns and signs of abuse. No weapons were found, but they heard plenty of stories from students. The state determined that the facility is more than a private school and needs a special “Community Care Facility” license because of their behavior modification practices. They’ve refused to get such a license and as a result have been tallying fines of $200 per day since April. School administrators insist that the community care designation would require them to relinquish their Christian values. They’re being legally represented by the conservative “Pacific Justice Institute”. Critics of the school, including former students and employees, say staff can do whatever they want because of the lack of oversight. The school was formerly known as the Julian Youth Academy. It made news in 2011 when a counselor gave birth, then smothered her baby to death and hid the body in a laundry closet until it was discovered.

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