Cedu Documentary – Crime, Punishment and Fulltimes

Students confess their sins and detail their punishments at the Cedu Schools, and explain the “fulltime,” Cedu’s special form of public public isolation punishment, used to ‘help’ students back to the straight and narrow.


Ex-students: What was your Cedu sin? What was your fulltime assignment? How many did you do? Did it break your will? Or just your will to disobey their rules? Did it make you more honest? Or more guarded? Did you become a better person? Or a better policeman?

Did you attend another school – Mt. Bachelor, Northwest Academy, Cascade, Amity, Elan, or another – that used ‘fulltimes’ as punishment?

If you’ve been through it, tell us about it.


About Liam Scheff

"Author, Artist, Film, Permaculture." Liam Scheff is a writer, artist and stand-up lecturer on issues that people usually don't make comic books about. (Visit liamscheff.com). Liam's highly-praised book "Official Stories" reveals the complex details behind the myths of our times.

Posted on February 27, 2009, in Surviving Cedu. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Jonny Possibly

    Caveat lector when asking me to tell a story. I’ll try to keep it at a million words or less.

    My full-time was in 87 when I was in Voyageurs, about three months in to the program. The crime: self-harm. (cutting) The “diagnosis” from staff was attention. I think that was certainly a part of it, yes. Attention needed as a result of feeling completely alienated from everything and everyone. Possibly if I harmed myself someone would show me some compassion. My gesture also spawned from anger, frustration, ennui, and possibly even simply looking for a change of pace, as the structure was mind-numbing.

    But there was one thing which played a major part in my decision to stir the pot, and that was the upcoming parent visit weekend. It would be the first time I had seen my mother and father since I had been tricked into Idaho in July. It was also rare that I ever visited with them together. With the exception of that surreal summer day my sneakers first hit the dirt of the cow creek campus, the last time I had ever truly been with the both of them in one room for any length of time was before the divorce eight years prior. It was ugly, and their subsequent relationship has been strained at best, often with my sister and I being pulled from both ends.

    That was something that bothered me more than I cared to admit, and I only allowed it to flit in and out of the back of my mind quietly during the week leading up to our reunion.

    I cut myself two days before visits were to happen, which was also a week after my 17th birthday. I made plans the week prior, ensuring that the needed items were accessible. I had done the deed during lunch hour, and fessed up to an older student I trusted that night, complete with drama and tears that were part real and part crocodilian. I could have easily kept those cuts secret until they healed and nobody would have been the wiser. This is especially true since they weren’t deep. The haphazard, vertical trails of encrusted blood that the razor from my dissected pencil sharpener had left along my forearm, wrist to inner elbow, demonstrated sinister intent, and bore the earmarks of hesitation cuts. Had I possessed the guts, the results could have been dire. Fortunately, I did not. I was never in any danger of even getting a scar.

    I chose not to keep quiet. The whole point was for someone to notice… anyone. Just so I could get out of seeing my parents, especially my parents together, and just so maybe someone would take notice of how miserable and angry I was, and hopefully care enough to recognize that I did not want to be in Idaho any more.

    My parents are part of the “silent generation”; the no man’s land that existed between the greatest generation and the baby boomers, both generations of fighters. Theirs was the quiet between the storms. Often reluctant to stir the pot, and frequently possessing conflicting opinions, they will often defer to those who give the illusion of being an expert. In addition, having a son who was loud in every way imaginable revealed a stark contrast to the memories of their own relatively quiet teen years, and seemed downright alien.

    As such, when Caroline headed my mom and dad off at the pass in Sandpoint to tell them they couldn’t see me because I was in trouble, they dutifully went back home, disappointed, and with little insistence to see me despite the rules to the contrary. Hopefully, this Caroline knows what’s best for him, because we have absolutely no idea, and the parent workshop we just went through was more than just a little bit confusing.

    I don’t think my reluctance to see my parents was ever addressed at length in raps on my full-time. I believe it was brought up in the first rap only, and merely as a reason to feel ashamed of the fact that I had disappointed them. The issues presented to me were always esoteric, specifically within the framework of I and Me, which was the template for all behavior modification at CEDU. This, despite the fact that CEDU staff had their own concepts of sabotage that could have easily applied to my situation, since I did, deliberately, albeit not consciously, sabotage my opportunity to see my folks. For a school that billed itself on working with family issues, mine was brought up rarely during my tenure riding the pine at a dining room booth.

    Said booth was assigned to me the next morning, and a red, three subject spiral notebook rested on its table. My family head Richard had scrawled the rules of my full-time on the inside cover, as I read them, and the corresponding writing assignments on the first page, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake.

    Full time agreements:
    1. Restricted to table. You must ask faculty permission to leave for any reason. (cigarette/bathroom)
    2. There are no privileges
    3. Bans – Voyageurs, Discovery, Quest
    4. No smiling, laughing, singing or hugging
    5. No talking to people from your table
    6. Ask questions about all assignments before you start them (work, reading and writing)
    7. Come prepared to work every day (boots, gloves, jacket, rain gear, etc.)
    Work hours:
    M-F 8:00-11:45 1:00-4:45
    Sat. 9:00-11:45 1:00-4:45
    Sun. 9:00-10:45 12:30-3:45
    8. Dorm head or dorm support will walk you up and down from your dorm.
    9. *Total* involvement in raps
    10. Limited to four cigarettes per day
    11. Keep a daily journal of your thoughts and feelings for each day. Include raps, work, booth restriction, or whatever comes up that needs expressing.

    Writing assignments:
    1. Dirt list
    2. Lies I told at RMA
    3. Things I feel badly about (what I’m ashamed to share with anyone)
    4. What I hate about myself
    5. What I’m angry about
    6. How I push people away.
    7. (Reading assignment, Old Man and the Sea) How am I like the old man?
    8. What qualities do I admire in him?
    9. How I create pain in my life.
    10. My flags
    11. What do I want? How am I going to get it?
    12. What’s *real* about me?
    13. What I can give to myself and others.

    It was a list full of lists yet to be made. My entire time spent there, as it pertained to my “emotional growth program” felt like one long, list, made up of many lists, which said the same thing, in hundreds of different ways. My full-time was my introduction to this method of organizing shame; be it real, imagined or imposed.

    There was a large retaining wall that went along the main driveway, from the parking lot up to the main house. My work assignment was to rebuild that wall, rock by rock. I had, at my disposal, a wheelbarrow, a shovel, and a tamping iron, and actually, that was pretty much all that was needed, since the mortar was only Idaho dirt and clay. I would chip through the October frost that collected over that sweet-smelling dirt each morning. Every so often I will catch a whiff of something that smells similar, and I am back on that wall, and seventeen again.

    That Saturday marked on-campus parent visits. The younger students, who would be seeing their parents for the first time since incarceration, congregated eagerly on the outside balcony of the house, watching the parking lot for any visible signs of their parents emerging from an unrecognizable rental car. Once spotted, a kid would run downstairs, out the door, and down the driveway, as their parents, jogging from the other direction, met them in an embrace somewhere in the middle of the thoroughfare, which also happened to be in the middle of my work detail.

    All saturday morning, I witnessed every single younger student reunite with their parents, just feet away, as I quietly worked on digging out old rocks and tamping in new ones. Most of the parents would say hello to me, and all I was allowed to give in return was a smile-less silence. The confusion I could see in their reaction was crushing, and mirrored the confusion I imagined must have passed over my mother and father’s faces when they were told that they would not be making a similar stroll down the driveway to see me.

    Despite the fact that my decision to not see my parents was not addressed extensively in raps during my full-time, the way it was addressed via my work detail was beautifully passive-aggressive.

    I soon learned to pay little attention to what went up and down the driveway while I was working; vans returning from doctors appointments, voyageurs going to work at the wood corral, the mule cart bringing that days stock of birchwood to the storage bin under the house. It was routine and unremarkable, and my only reaction was to pretend to work harder. I paused in my work, however, sometime that next week, when I noticed a jaguar pass by and pull to a stop in front of the house. Out of it emerged a corpulent, mustached man, who was greeted excitedly by several staff who were waiting for his arrival. At the same time, a woman in furs surfaces from the passenger side. At this point, I lost interest and resumed my rock-moving.

    A few minutes later, I look to my left and see that the furry woman is walking towards me. She comes up, arms outstretched in a hug. I immediately shrink away and move back, startled. Was she trying to get me into trouble? She says “Don’t worry. It’s ok to hug me.” So I do. It was the first physical contact I had encountered with anyone for about a week, and as such, it was welcome, despite the fact that I had no idea who she was. She says to me “I’m Brigette. I’m Mel Wasserman’s wife.” She talks to me for a few minutes more before returning to Mel. I have no memory of what was said. I do remember that the encounter unnerved me, despite her being friendly and warm.

    The only rap from my full-time I have any memory of is my first, which, aside from the ninth-circle-of-hell that were peer group raps, was probably the worst rap I was ever in, even though specifics in regards to my memory are dusty and vague. Bob Sulfies ran it and I was screamed at by everyone. I was forced to glare at my scratched arm most of the time, and received the frustrating command: “sit with it. let’s move on” at the end of my indictment, without even given a chance to speak. I went into my full-time scared. I came out of the first rap terrified and shell-shocked.

    The raps were grueling, and the work details exhausted me, but the worst thing about my full-time, aside from the huge stretches of boredom, was the isolation. My notebook even makes mention of the fact that the term for being on a full-time was “out of program.” I was out of everything. In the same way that a person in the wilderness realizes how much he had taken indoor plumbing for granted, so had I learned how much I had taken for granted the ability to give someone a hug, speak to people regardless of what family they were in, laugh at a joke, or simply sit and play a game of cards. I write in my notebook how my trips to the bathroom, which brought me through part of the living room, where people were “smooshing” and being social, were agonizing.

    Fourteen days of navel gazing may not seem like much, but in that period of time the bark had pretty much been stripped from my trunk. While there were parts of me which had begun to embrace some aspects of RMA prior to my full-time, I emerged different. The loneliness from living at a booth, with every human interaction feeling like a visitation at a correctional facility, caused me to run back “into the program” with outstretched arms. How could I have been so blind as to not appreciate how beautiful this place can make me feel?

    What truly breaks a person, regardless of context, is isolation.

  2. JP – wonderful; thank you for telling this real life tale…

  3. JP-
    Isolation (irrespective of the context/ self-imposed or not) truly does break a person.. How true!

    Metaphorically, Life has a way of raising its ugly head sometimes and we are caught unawares, and those are the times we are left asking, does one really need to undergo this?
    From a philosophical perspective, the answer is, this abusive experience often leaves us the power to shape our “new identity”, become our stronger selves, and may be script our own destiny.

    I did not go to CEDU. But my heart goes out to each soul that has had to endure this abusive experience. But, I do know for a fact that you are exceptionally fine individuals.

  4. I was on a full time for over 30 days because when I turned 18 I walked off campus, like they said I could. I ended up going back to CEDU because my mom made me feel so bad because my parents didn’t know where I was.

    I was on Bans from the entire school with the exception of the girl that ran our house, Ally. The only time I could talk to other people was during meals. Different upper classmen and staff could sit with me, but I had to tell them 100 Disclosures or things that I felt bad about. That was totally humiliating.

    My work assignment consisted of breaking up a concrete pipe that was about 3 feet in diameter with a 20lbs sledge hammer. (I’m 5’2″ and at that time probably weighed 130lbs.) The pipe was located at the far side of the “dust bowl” (which was basically a huge sand field). I had to break up the pipe and then take it across the dust bowl in a wheel barrow to the dumpster. All the wheel barrows had flat tires. Imagine pushing a wheel barrow full of concrete across a huge sand pit with a flat tire for 8 hours a day!

    The best part of the full time was at one point 2 of my friends were also on full times, all of us in the dining room. We would get totally out of agreement. It was the only way to blow off steam.

  5. Omg.. i just had a thought while reading AB’s posting.

    For ALL the work assignments over ALL the years how the HELL did a concrete pipe get in the dust bowl?!

    Did they secretly plant this stuff around campus for people to “clean up” during work assignments? There is NOWAY there was that much work do around that campus.

    Just a funny thought I had. Well it’s not that funny. :-/

  6. I spent 1yr of my life @2 different WWASP programs.I first arrived in jan/04 i attended Academy at ivy ridge in upstate NY for about 6mo then i was transffered to Tranquility Bay.I still havn’t brought myself to speak of some of the abuse i endured during my stay.I only now can start to call it what it really is”abuse”…I was deprived of food, constantly denied medical care for various conditions that couldve been taken care of before i left NY for Jamaica but instead were ignored.it was cheaper for wwasp that way.During my 1yr stay i never once saw a Dr.

    I never knew that these program have been around for yrs.i mean when this person was goin through this in 87 the yr i was born and i went through it 15,16yrs later. and now 5yrs after that its still happening!I have a 2yr little boy now.It scares me to think that he is going to grow into adolescence and this will still go on….i can promise him this though, he will never be put through it.My heart aches for these kids still in these places going through the hardest time of their lives all ALONE.

  7. I graduated CEDU (California) in June 1988.. It was nice to read posts from some people in my peer group and people whom I knew when I was there… Thanks to my peer group for all the support.. I couldn’t have made it through without all of you… Cory Cox –> you are not alone… I didn’t graduate with my high school dimploma either.. I think you and I were the youngest in our peer group.. I still had my senior year to complete when I graduated from CEDU… I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 18 years old (after CEDU) I remember my freshman year of High School (before CEDU) I was pulling almost straight A’s… I consider myself to have been a “normal” teen-ager experimenting with “normal” teen-ager stuff… Going back to my senior year of High School after CEDU was very difficult for me.. My freshman year of college was also extremely difficult. Because I didn’t have a “normal” high school education, I had to start at the lowest bone-head levels of English and Math.. I had to get a tudor to help me get through my class-work and up-to-speed with the rest of my college peers.. It sucked!! but I did made it through and I did get my BS degree…

    When I reflect upon my story.. I have to say that it wasn’t me who was Fucked-up… It was my Parents… They have the mental problems.. They needed CEDU.. Now, 20 years later.. the roles are interestingly reversing in my family where my parents are getting old I am having to start taking care of them.. I think I am the only one in my family who is sane with a level-head who thinks things through.. I’m convinced it is my parents who are mentally sick with serious problems. They put their shit all on me.. I question if this is the case for everyone who’s parents lied to their kids to send them to the CEDU school…

    When I saw the video clips on this website, read the posts, etc… my memories from 20 years ago became crystal clear in my mind just as if it were yesterday… I sat back in my chair and thought “it’s fucking amazing that I made-it-through CEDU at such a young age.” I guess I am considered a CEDU Survivor… I think the CEDU experience made me a stronger individual who has been able to endure some crazy-ass shit these past 20 years… Anyone who wants to say hello to me.. please send me an e-mail to trailstryder@yahoo.com

  8. Jonny Possibly

    More thoughts on using isolation as punishment, “therapy” or reform:

    Odd timing… I was watching that paranormal tv thing, and it was about eastern state penitentiary. For those unfamiliar, this place, established in 1829, employed the new tactic of using isolation to encourage prisoners to be penitent and learn to feel truly remorseful about their transgressions through uninterrupted introspection. (Hence the facility being referred to as a penitentiary) Prisoners were kept in cells 23 hours a day, with two 30 minute outdoor breaks in their own, private yard. While in their cells, they were not allowed to talk, and the architecture of the building also assisted in facilitating this loneliness, since the rows of cells radiated out in spokes. It was far more severe than solitary confinement is in modern prisons.

    Despite the initial good intentions of attempting to provide what was believed to be a form of incarceration which gave the chance for reform, many prisoners went insane.

    Charles Dickens visited the facility, and this was what he had to say about it:

    “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.”

  9. I was at Cedu from Feb. 92-Apr. 94 then onto RMA for 10 weeks. Reading all the above was good stuff. Especially Jonny;s account of his fulltime! That was fantastic, not in that it happened but just bringing back so many memories from the worst time in my life. It is so nice to know how many people are finally getting an opportunity to speak out un-adulterated on their FUCKED UP experiences @ CEDU and other places. I also agree with Beth L. that my parents too were the fucked up ones not me. I went to CEDU because I drank, smoked cigarettes, stole money here and there and had a passion for fireworks and setting them off in the woods. OOOOHHHH that makes me such a freakishly odd young man at the age of 15.

    Come on compared to the junk kids are doing today I think most of us CEDU survivors are pretty much the defintion of normal people. Just the other day I was watching the doctors that show on in the early morning. They were saying that kids are now doing beer bongs through their rectums and girls are putting feminine products doused with vodka you know where all to get drunk faster. WTF????????????????????? There’s some kids who need to go to CEDU right??

    Seriously though I have been out of “the program” for 16 years now and have always told myself till recently that it was all my fault I went there and to not hold a grudge against my parents. Not anymore, I am now coming to the understanding that it was indeed my parents faults for giving up on me. Not much I can do about it but it really has been irking me lately thinking about it. Like someone said earlier on in a post we who survived CEDU should all be iron clad individuals after having gone through that experience. Sorry for all the ranting…

    To hear that Mt. Bachelor is currently operational is utterly sickening and I for one would be 1st in line to do whatever is needed (legally of course) to shut that fuckhole down. Sick, that kids are still being subjected to this mind-diarrhea!! After all these years and various other places being shut down/investigated etc. it boggles my mind how this type of insanity is allowed to continue.. Is it the isolation of the actual campuses, non-transparency in the programs? Crazy I tell you….

    Liam, just watched the “Runaway” part 1. of the documentary. Loved it brother. Seeing the pit brought back an insane rush of memories and made me feel so flippin happy I do not have to sit there ever again! Well night folks, bless you all.. Till next time….

  10. Jonny Possibly

    Normal is relative, bro. hehe.
    As posted by a very insightful psychologist on Maia Szalavitz’s site, the current generation of teens always seems horrifying and alien to the previous generation, and as well it should, since teenage behavior is, by its very nature, a pathology. :)~ That is the time to try crazy things, while feeling invincible, since the frontal lobe isn’t even “online” yet to tell the youngun’s that doing anal beer bongs is probably not the smartest thing in the world. (Is it any accident that the average military age is 19? Old enough to handle yourself, but young enough to still take serious risks.)

    Because of a teen’s common desire to rebel against their parents/elders, their behavior will most likely be more extreme than ours was at that age. (current teens are the product of late baby boomers and generation Jones/Gen Xers. Both of which were a bit on the rowdy side compared to their silent gen parents.) My grandparents actually probably had more understanding for my uppityness than my folks, since their salad days took place during the roaring 20s, although they were also worried. (Mostly about my depression. And my grandmother on my father’s side actually had suspicions about my gender issues, while my parents had no clue.)

    This does not excuse criminal and deviant behavior, rather, it explains it, and puts it in perspective. The closest I can liken it to is a Clockwork Orange. Alex (a teen) was *truly* a horrible person who did horrible things. A rapist, thug, and all-around brute, I couldn’t even get through the book, and had to find out what happened through the film, which, by comparison, was much tamer, in my opinion. Despite his pathology, he was no different than his equally distasteful peers/droogs.

    However awful he was, what they did to him was downright chilling. No matter how horrible a teen can be, they still have basic human rights, and should not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Just like the prisoners at Eastern State Penitentiary, and just like children who have been placed in programs.

    The common lament of the powers that be is “What would *you* suggest, huh?”

    I have no answer. But I can give some suggestions on what *not* to do. There is no excuse to go with a horrible choice simply because no visible alternative seems to exist. I’m terribly sorry that kids don’t come with a warning label, (I know I probably should have :P) but the fact of the matter is, unless you have been living in a volcano on Venus your whole life, you should know that teens are, for the most part, horrible aliens that nobody knows what to do with. Maybe you should have prepared yourself accordingly.

    Children, by their very nature, carry a certain degree of karma with them when they come into this world.

    Which is *precisely* why I am *never* going to have children. 😉

  11. Jonny Possibly

    btw.. I mean “you” in the general sense, not “you” specifically.

  12. Jonny Possibly

    Sorry for the triple post, but I feel compelled to elaborate that my comment about “preparing yourself accordingly” was tongue in cheek for the most part. Nobody can *fully* prepare themselves for parenthood. That’s downright impossible.

    But one shouldn’t be so quick to outsource their responsibility just because your kid is a pain in the kidneys.

  13. I did a fulltime for just over 2 months. I had the very first table, right at the end of the hot table. I had been at Cedu for only like 2 months. I had broken the Non Violence in a rap with either Rudy or Jon Prins I think. I was heading off Campus (the one time I almost split) and Karl Kent came up to me. Karl was a soft guy (prob cause his Vietnam time) and had it been anybody else they probably would have gotten hurt.

    So I sat at my table and fought it the whole time. I got nothing done. My last rap on the FT they tried to attack me and I fought back using every insult and racial slur in the book and some of my tourette’s driven new ones, I was released form my FT after that rap. They caved to me and thats when I realized Cedu can be broken. I never stopped fighting. I Felt FT’s and and other restriction we some of the most inhumane things. Basic Human rights were stripped. Even the Jews under Nazi control still could smile and touch (to the best of my knowledge)

  14. woops i slipped and fell into a big ol' pile of RMA

    i had to do a 2 month full time.

    the whole time on it i was grilled with making “nunchucks” (some japanese ninja weapon or something).. and hiding them in a fort or something in the hay barn .
    turns out it was doug the headmaster’s son that made the fort and the nunchucks.

    i got no apologies.

    and REMAINED on bans from some friends because of it. AFTER i was let off it.
    john arron and niels were the ones persecuting me for this.

    while i was on it.. I wondered if it was some insane psychology research program to torture people while accusing them of something that they didn’t do.
    .. to see if they’d actually admit to something they didn’t do.

    because i obviously didn’t do it.. and never “cracked” and never “admited” (lying) to say i did it, just to get out off of the punishment..

    because what i was thinking was… if i DID lie about it.. and say yeah i made the fort and the nunchuk things.. to just get out of the work slavery..
    then i thought they’d be like SEE we KNOW you didn’t make them and you’re LYING about making them!

    it was such a mindfuck within a mindfuck… i mean weeks and weeks pondering what the hell i was here for and why this was happening to me..

    but at least i made a fancy um.. bench or something during work detail…

    oh no i remember.. my main work detail was to install a complete irrigation system in the acres by acres vegetable and corn crop garden…

    man.. a job that would have probably made at least 7-8 grand in the real world.

    that place was a freaking cash cow.

    tuition comparable to Yale…

    that place RAPED my trust fund.

    that place was like.. Hard Knox for the Fundie Kids.

  15. Ah My old friend fulltime. I surrived 6 or more my longest 89 days. I was about to just leave when I was let off, I was in Source for that one. I could not talk with anyone, no students were allowed to talk with me and only a few teachers. Smoking in the dining room was allowed at that time except for meal times. We had to run in place while doing dishes and running trash down the hill. My earlier fulltimes were from running away, breaking bans, self mutilation and i forget the rest. I actually went through a profeet with Michael Allgood and was allowed to give hugs then had o go back to my fulltime. I am the true King of Fulltime. Ah yes, I was placed on fulltime for a “discussion” I had with John Padgett, a conversation that could be heard from Genesis family room to down on the farm. I was able to yell as loud as he could and would not let him over power me so off I went to fulltime.

  16. Johnny Propheet

    I was set to inherit a nice chunk of money when I was 18.

    My father was able to challenge the WILLl based on the notion that I would never get to 18 if I didn’t go to Cedu.

    (which is complete bullshit)

    So….I paid to be tortured and mind f%&ked.

    It kills me to know my inheritance paid for cedu…

  17. Good points Jonny Possibly. It does indeed seem as if each generation of teens gets to be more and more brazen in their odd and usually disturbing behaviors. I am sure some of the shit I did when I was younger would probably have spun my grand parents heads. Hence all is relative indeed. Just had another Cedu nightmare the other night. Usually I am my current age of 32 in the nightmares but this last one I was 15 or so again. Sometimes they are mild nightmares other times like a few days ago they are so flippin real it is truly scary to say the least.

    I remember being in the dining room on the lower level a few times, watching fire creep up the hill when there were occasional brush fires. I always wished they would incinerate CEDU. Too bad so sad. Never happened..

    Does anybody know what happened to the CEDU campus. Is it a private home/complex now or what. If it is I bet you the owners can still hear the screams of the kids who went there to this day. I would love to spend a night there all alone in the dark just to see if I saw or heard any type of past energy that was once there. Sounds crazy but I am very curious.. I would of course have to have my 2 best friends with me, “Smith” & “Wesson” just in case, ha ha….

    Johnny Propheet, I feel for ya man. That sucks. I know my dad to this day still thinks CEDU was revolutionary in some way. Oh, why bother “they” will never get it…
    Till next time….

  18. Johnny Propheet

    Ian…the campus is still somewhat intact and is a Jewish Summer camp. Some of the footage from Liam clips takes place just last year.

    Emerson is now the head Rabbi’s quarters so we could not get in there.

    In fact my interview is on “stone couch”

    Dorms and main lodge are almost identical to how I remember them from the late 80’s.

    BTW – I still have dreams about that place.


  19. I was at Rma 97-99 I got a fulltime that my team leader took me off of after one day. I got permission to get my haircut faded and the barber cut it to short. So the staff thought I shaved my head as a protest or something silly like that. They put me on house down bans and made me cut wood the next day till Nicole Rowell my teamleader got to campus. She took me off bans and apologized she was a good person that cared about the kids. I do not agree with almost any of the tactics used by the unqualified staff but all of us kids that went there kept one another sane. I truly feel that the only lessons learned at that place where lessons that we taught each other. Take care………

  20. fulltime = work projects or dishes or maybe both?? either way I did them all…
    -max time all slots dishes for months
    -“mucked the pond”(rain coat and boots waist deep in stagnant shit infested waters scooping out the sludge on the bottom, bagging it, and then hauling in up hill) for what seemed like months but looking back I think was 2 or 3 weeks during which I wasnt even allowed to go to class
    – all school bans except for my big sister and counselor
    -lost all dorm, mail, and phone privs.
    – I ate alone, walked to class alone and sat tabled alone
    and what for you ask?? cigarettes that someone else snuck in form their home visit and I smoked and holding “dirt” for other students…luckily the school was desperate for money or im sure I wouldve been sent to wilderness in a heartbeat

    (when I say walked to class alone im referring to the time following the end of my work projects but while still on all school bans)

    oh and during this time the counselors accused me of being the reason my friend was cutting herself and subsequently sent to lock down…it was awful. they took her out in the middle of a forum and then attacked and blamed me for her misery. I had nothing to do with her issues, I was an easy scape goat and example for other students on why counselors are always right and if you hold dirt you are “killing” your friends even though I was the one who told a counselor about her cutting. such hypocrisy.

  21. I did 2 full times, a table, a green table, a couple of couches and a trip to Ascent AFTER the Summit. I wonder how much school I missed, I wonder how many hours of physical labor I did, I wonder just how long I did not smile or speak. There was no purpose, and I never gained anything from any of it except fear and I got to see some beautiful Idaho wilderness. I still have every journal from all of my various experiences at CEDU, full times, wilderness trips, Ascent, ect. I will try and dig them up and re-read them. I am pretty sure my longest full time was 17 days, and the other 15. I know my table was about 10 days, and six weeks at Ascent.

    I remember I broke my finger digging out a stump while on my full time and a nurse or something at the hospital touched me on my shoulders. It was more of a rubbing my back because I was in pain and I clearly remember jumping with fear because I was touched, and I had not been touched in weeks. I was already weary to certain things a full time eventually made you feel. It could very easily be compared to solitary confinement in prison. You eventually go a little crazy over time.

  22. An interesting comparison between solitary confinement versus being alone in a crowd of your friends and peers.

    Which would be worse? In solitary, you can’t really talk to anyone or smile at anyone, because nobody is there. But on a full time, as one person described in the Documentary, everyone is right there. They walk by you, ignoring you, like you are invisible, yet you aren’t. You are clearly right there. Despite all the talk about love, friendship, physical contact being a good and positive thing, here you are being denied everything related to those things. And for how long? Fourteen days minimum, to as long as two months?

    If you put this in to a different perspective, like if you had never gone to CEDU or RMA or any program and were at your old High School and one day all your friends stopped interacting with you, stopped making eye contact, conversation and treated you like you were a pariah, and so did everyone else including the school staff and teachers, how long could you take that? What would it do to you emotionally and psychologically? And why would it be any different when done at RMA or CEDU? Or if it was at home and your family treated you that way for a month or two?

    We have laws in this country regarding cruel and unusual punishment. And I am pretty sure those would apply to normal schools, even private ones. In some ways I think the State of Oregon shut down of Mount Bachelor may be akin to a statement that some of the stuff done there was abusive and cruel, but I don’t think the investigation focused at all on the punishments inflicted. I could be wrong though.

    It just seems that such over-the-top punishments had to have taken a serious toll on us emotionally and mentally, not to mention physically as the labor was generally much harder than the normal work fare. And often that labor was intended to break the spirit. Just as digging holes and refilling them, clearly meaningless, is intended.

    I remember when my full time ended, I had a period where I felt I didn’t quite fit in. That I wasn’t fully a part of the school for a while. A sort of shell shocked experience where I still felt paranoia and fear that everything I did was being closely scrutinized and that even my closest friends might turn me in.

    Yeah, I can see where insanity might come in to play.

  23. I think you guys are really getting to it. We all were rendered more or less out-of-our-minds, to some real degree, with all that pressure.

    I think that’s something many of those (us) who went through it don’t really want to get into. But we were freaking bonkers at points. Or, we were dishonest, and hiding our true feelings to protect ourselves from further punishment, until the clock finally turned, and we could somehow leave. But, I think the reality was something in an in-between place.

    We hid our true feelings, even from ourselves, in order to survive. And that, is brainwashing. That is mind control.

    I remember in one of the last ‘experiences,’ the “I and Me,” we were (again) laying on the ground, getting up very very slowly, as per commands. Our eyes were shut, they were playing some horrorshow song, “The Rose,” by Bette Midler, over and bloody over. And we were supposed to see ourselves as this “perfect rose.”

    And I had absolutely hated the whole prior 3-day experience. I hadn’t cried, as I was supposed to. I had to fake it, force it, all of that. And I really really really didn’t have any bloody idea what they meant by this skull-cracking idea that somehow, some things I “thought” were supposed to be “evil thinking,” and some things were “good feeling.”

    I mean, Christ, it all came from the SAME PLACE. I mean, ‘thinking’ / ‘feeling.’ But it was all just bloody mind control, just a massive head-fuck to get us to, well, fall apart on command, and to believe, with a simple command word prompt, that we were either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (thinking or feeling, evil critical mind or sainted inner child, Satan or Jesus, Demon or Angel, Devil or Godliness).

    But, it was just stuck in my craw, and I was, dutifully, trying to swallow it down and be a ‘good young man.’

    Anyway, we’re lying on the ground, and they’re playing this auditory diarrhea, and we’re supposed to be feeling like ‘perfect roses…’

    And I had this barely verbalized feeling, coming out of deep suppression, that said: “I am not a goddamned ROSE, you assholes. I am an 18 year old TEENAGER. I want to… have normal relationships with GIRLS, no more of this bullshit smushing/but sexual-thoughts-are-a-crime garbage. I want to be in the actual real WORLD. I want to DO the things that I WANT TO DO, that I am INTERESTED in.”

    But, I mean, you couldn’t upset the feeling in the room, I mean…you wouldn’t dare offend that ‘sacred good feeling’ at that point. Or, well. You’d be dropped back six whole bloody months in the program. For ‘not getting it.’

    So, you leave the room, with everybody else, and you jump up and down, and you dance like a jackass, and tell everyone what “Me knows.”

    I have never, ever, ever in my life, felt like such a phony as I did after that event. And I never wanted to ever ever ever feel that way again, or do something so against character.

    And I still had about 6, no-escape, relentless months to go, at that point.

    You know what? Communist assholes. That’s what they were.

    You want to see this kind of programming, you have to look at the books on thought reform in Communist/Maoist China.

    What does that tell you?

  24. 3 fulltimes, 2 booths ( I think that was what the lesser than fulltime punishment was called) and several “pits”. The pit was about being confined to the sitting area by the large fireplace. I did countless work details. I am pretty sure I had more “booths ” and other lesser punishments but I can’t remember how many. I can’t even recall what all the crimes were that I had committed. It was all so long ago and I have tried to remember the things that were helpful and positive.
    What did I do…. I had a drink and a few hits from a joint on my second home visit. Another one was for having sex with another student. Obviously those things were out of agreement. I remember just wanting so desperately to go home and be a normal teenager. I was out of control before going to RMA. I don’t blame my mother for resorting to sending me away. A small part of me still wishes I could of had a normal high school experience. As for the punishments, I didn’t mind the work details. To this day I still enjoy getting outside and doing some hard labor. It was the being isolated even with people all around me that was heartbreaking. It amplified the depression and loneliness that I already felt. Somewhere deep in a storage box I have a rather tall stack of notebooks from all the writing assignments I did during my 2.5 years. On my last fulltime I recall being given just a few writing assignments that were of a positive note. Most of the assignments were geared to drive me deeper into the *#it. At one time I was only allowed to talk to about 8 people and only 2 of those people actually came to sit with me during a period of about 3 weeks. I was one of those children who had more than my share of punishments. My spirit was difficult to subdue and I tested and pushed all the limits. I am still not sure what I was supposed to learn from my confinements other than not to break that agreement again.
    The other posts and comments capture how it felt. So, I guess all I have to add is that the punishments just fueled the feeling of being different and lonely.

  25. An interesting point of dishes and Full time, If you think back, was there anyone actually employed to do these jobs anyways? What would have happened if for some reason everyone was doing “well” and no one was on Dishes or Full-time? So really it was an important factor in their business plan that we were doing this work. The first students at Cascade cleaned up the whole property after years of neglect, literary creating the atmosphere that they then built upon by proper construction and landscaping.
    That being said, I was later at other more traditional boarding schools, and we were given “work” so to speak, we were assigned days in the kitchen and also cleaning up the dinning room, but nothing like having to run and not being allowed to speak. It wasn’t disciplinary, just part of the boarding experience.

  26. Ill never forget my parents told me we were going on vacation. After driving up and up the mountain we finally reached the top where they told me that I would be staying at this school, CEDU. Everything was taken from me and I too was searched. I barely remembered a thing untill today when I read other peoples stories and it all came flooding back. The raps, the smooshing, bands, the nightmares! I too ran away in the middle of the night out the front. Hitch hicked down the mountain and made it to Paris CA. A few hours later a PI came and found me, and back to CEDU I went. The next morning I was escorted to the Asecnt program in Idaho. That actually was better than being at CEDU. It had more freedom to be yourself. Im not sure why Im writing, this all happened in 1993. I guess its nice to feel like I wasn’t crazy all these years. I’m glad to hear it shut down and no one else has to go through that.

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