Elan School

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Current status Closed
Detainees.gif Capacity 160
Checked March 14,2016
Open.gif Opened 1970
Close.gif Closed 2011

Elan School was a behavior modification facility with a postal address of Elan School, 1457 Maine Street, Poland, Maine 04274-0578 [1]

It was established in 1970 and it is owned by Sharron Terry.

It was a Co-educational program. According to their website, they could detain 160 teenagers.

The length of the program was between 24 and 30 Months

Program structure

Level system enforced by Job Hierarchy and "strength"/severe peer presure to conform to group/ Brainwashing / Cult

Living Conditions

Clean-By members of the cleaning crew who clean constantly oh and the Shotdowns!


No communication with parents, Letters were earned and screened anything negative was punished and did not go out. Parents were told not to believe anything bad that their child may say that they are trying to manipulate their way out of the Program. Do not believe abuse reports ect.


Accreditation or diploma mill - which mill.


  • Being placed in a boxing ring with new opponents until the detainee confesses [2]. A girl - Kim Freehill - was airliftet to a hospital after such a match [3]. According to witnesses she was bruised from the back of her knees to the top of her shoulders with open sores across her buttocks. According a a thread on a message board the after-effects from being beaten by several detainees could have resulted in a more severe outcome for one of the detainees [4]. Another boy died in 1982 shortly after being beaten in the ring [5]
  • Being "shot down". Being stripped of all privileges previously earned at the school. Survivors have stated: "You were put into shorts generally, and no shoes, and you were made to scrub floors all day long and clean out trash bins,"

In the news

The facility were mentioned in relationship with a murder trial [6]

  • In 1975, Illinois state officials pulled 11 children out of the Elan program, charging that they had been mistreated. [7]
  • In 1982 Philip Williams Jr. died attending the school. Local records show that he died of a brain aneurysm but recent information show that this information might be wrong. No proper investigation and autopsy was done. Shortly before his death he got a beating in the so-called therapeutic boxing ring [5].
  • In 1993 a 17 year old teenager died as she was killed during an attempt to escape the facility [8]
  • In 2002 during the trial of Michael Skakel witnesses testified that they were subject to beatings and public humiliation were parts of life at Elan during those years.[7]
  • In 2007 New York education officials raised questions about the mistreatment, alleging in a letter to the school and Maine education officials that Elan students are physically restraining their peers and being deprived of sleep. The allegations prompted the state of New York to threaten to withdraw tuition money for taxpayer-funded students. The school's lawyer said that virtually all of the New York allegations are false.[7]
  • November 2009 a new website was created to make it possible for survivors to met and tied loose ends up from their stay in the program [9]

Notable alumni

External links

Info pages

Survivor groups

Message board


  1. Position on Wikimapia
  2. Ex-students at Skakel trial describe Elan as 'horrific' - Elan School defends program, By DAVID GURLIACCI, Special to the Portland Press Herald, 2002 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc., May 31 2002 (Re-print from The Straights website)
  3. Bad Company - The Elan School, by Kevin Gray
  4. Hidden Elan School secrets, a thread on Fornits webforum
  5. 5,0 5,1 His family asks: What really happened to Phil at the Elan School?, by Kathryn Skelton and Lindsay Tice, Maine Sun Journal, March 12 - 2016
  6. Elan survivors remember place where prosecutors say Skakel confessed, Court TV, reprint on Community Alliance for the Fair and Ethical Treatment of Youth
  7. 7,0 7,1 7,2 New York seeks change at Elan School, By Kevin Wack, Portland Press Herald Maine Sunday Telegram, March 25 2007
  8. Trucker charged in death of teen from Elan School, Sun Journal - September 10, 1993
  9. Elan Survivors Group website