Southeastern Military Academy

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Information
Current status Open
Checked January 1, 2014
Open.gif Opened 1984

Southeastern Military Academy (SMA), formerly known as Victory Forge Military Academy is a boot camp styled behavior modification program located near Port St. Lucie Florida [1].

It is claimed to have been founded in 1984.

Program structure

The program is boot camp styled and claimed to honor 7 values named: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Self Sacrifice, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

They have two programs:

Normal residential program

They use a level system with 3 levels while at the facility and an aftercare phase, when the detained teenager is released to the home.

Level 1: RED PHASE

  • Lasting: MONTH 1-3
  • Method: Toughening, Phase of PT, Physical Readiness Test
  • Establish Goals & Treatment Plan

A typical day during the red phase can according the program homepage look like this: [2]

05:45- wakeup
06:45- breakfast
08:00-school
12:45-lunch
13:30-work/drill/MI
15:00- work/ drill
16:45- dinner

17:30- PT
19:20- showers
19:20-20:40- personal time
20:40- devotions
21:15- personal reflections
21:30- lights out

The level of the PT forced on the teenagers are made for adults. Quote from the program homepage:

The Preparatory Phase of PRT is designed by The US Army for people of any physical ability. Slowly increasing the difficulty of the exercises will help your son's body to respond without injury. Your son's health and development will be monitored very closely to further insure that it will be a safe as possible for him.

Level 2: WHITE PHASE

  • Lasting: MONTHS 4-6
  • Conditioning Phase of PT
  • Youth will be recognizing issues that brought them here.

Level 3: BLUE PHASE

  • Lasting: MONTHS 7-12
  • Maintenance Phase of PT
  • Youth will be actively working on issues.
  • Youth will begin owning responsibility for issues.
  • Youth will be able to qualify for increased visitation.

AFTERCARE

  • Youth will be reunited with family.
  • Family will be enrolled in 3 month aftercare program.

Camp Victory Wilderness Challenge

They also offer a short 4 weeks wilderness challenge for boys aged betwen 7-12 [3].

On youtube there are posted a video with still photo showing the amount of torment the relative young children are forced through [4].

Communication

The first phonecall are allowed about 14 days into the program. Parents are warned that the detained teenager might try to manipulate them. All phone calls are monitored by SMA personnel, and if cadets say something that they are not supposed to, they are abused and their privileges are taken away.

The first visit by the parents can be made 4 weeks into the program. Again the parents are warned against possible manipulation. Visitation at home later in the program, but if the detained teenager do not follow the program, visits will be conducted on the grounds of the facility.

Consequences

According to statements made by the director, teenagers at-risk of running away from the facility are made to wear shackles.

Other consequences are extra PT.

According to former students, at-risk cadets are physically beaten, scared, and threatned with further abuse.

In the news

  • On April 25 2008 the police found a boy who was shackled in the neighborhood. According to the director "colonel" Alan Weierman, the facility uses shackles to restrain runaways and that an investigation was launched when a Port St. Lucie police officer saw a 16-year-old runaway being restrained [5].

The DCF started an investigation [6].

  • On May 2 2008 it was reported that the last of the 16 detained teenagers left for their families due to an investigation. The parents were told by The Department of Children and Families to get their children [7].
  • June 9, DCF expressed "serious concern" about the safety and welfare of the teenagers detained at the facility [8]
  • June 11 DCF concluded their investigation and concluded that they could not raise charges because the discipline was within bounds of the facility's policy [9]
  • June 13 the police published their findings. They found:
    • That the staff's use of corporal punishment may be seen as excessive, however, the staff has remained within their rights to physically handle its students without causing bodily harm and/or permanent disfigurement.
    • That the facility's records show the boy had been wearing leg shackles for 12 consecutive days.
    • That at night, staff would put hand restraints on him.
    • That the teen had been "thrown around a little bit" and once was "grabbed by staff".
    • That teen was called racial slurs, but said that all teenagers openly called each other names like "carpet head" and "camel rider" based on skin-color etc.

However all these finding was NOT abuse because the parents had paid for this specific treatment of their teens instead of doing it themselves [10].

  • July 2008 the facility stated that the number of children in the 4 weeks wilderness style military training camp has doubled to 28, which indicate that parents agree with the methods used [11]
  • January 2013 the Department of Children and Families asked a judge Friday to shut down the facility which for years has been allowed to operate despite evidence it has hurt kids in its care [12]

See also

About the program on Wikipedia

External Links

Info pages

Message boards

References

  1. The facility on Flash Earth
  2. What You Can Expect, Program homepage
  3. Camp Victory Wilderness Challenge, Program homepage
  4. Victory Forge commercial video, Youtube
  5. Police found teenage boy in shackles, By ANA X. CERON and TERESA LANE, Palm Beach Post Staff Writers, Friday, April 25, 2008 (Reprint on Federal Jack)
  6. Abuse allegations at TC military academy, by: Carolyn Scofield, wptv.com, April 26 2008
  7. Abuse allegations leave Victory Forge Military Academy without students, By Jeremy Ashton, TCpalm, may 2 2008
  8. DCF has 'serious concerns' about Victory Forge Military Academy, By Keona Gardner, TCpalm, June 9 2008
  9. No Charges In Student Shackling, The Ledger, June 11 2008
  10. Cops: No abuse at Victory Forge Military Academy, By ANA X. CERON, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, June 13 2008
  11. Victory Forge moving forward following DCF report, By Will Greenlee, TCpalm, July 2 2008
  12. State asks judge to shut down unlicensed military school with a history of mistreating kids, By Alexandra Zayas, Tampa Bat Times Staff Writer, January 5, 2013