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The Stetson School is a residential school in Barre that is part of the Seven Hills Foundation and serves high risk kids with a variety of issues. From their website:
Stetson School’s integrated model includes psycho-education, cognitive-behavioral therapy, insight-oriented and relationship-based psychodynamic therapy, and behaviorally-oriented treatment, as well as psychopharmacology. Treatment interventions are geared toward the age, needs, and cognitive capacities of youth, including a clear recognition of the needs and capacities of our younger preadolescent youth and youth with intellectual disabilities.
It’s all fine and dandy and all, but the school isn’t very good at keeping track of the kids, nor are they good at keeping them from accessing dangerous weapons. The other day the Barre PD posted this:
Oh good, an armed and dangerous, mentally unbalanced kid is walking around Barre with an axe. Perfectly normal. Thirty-five minutes later the story was updated.
Now it’s completely gone from their page. This happens a lot:
Like it did on June 7.
Again on June 14.
And in January a former employee had her car stolen:
The SUV owner, Katie Berthiaume, who lives about a quarter-mile from the school, said she worked at Stetson School for nearly 10 years as a special education teacher and special education director. She said she left the institution because she felt that its students were increasingly dangerous and violent.
“It put her in a difficult spot,” Ms. Berthiaume said. “We did get the vehicle back, but to the tune of a few hundred dollars to pay towing fees and deal with the insurance company and all that. My husband took a day off from work unpaid (Thursday) to help me take care of all this stuff. It’s pretty upsetting.”
“We’ve had helicopters over our house looking for students. We’ve had police dogs on our property looking for students.”
This is insane. The people of Barre basically have to live in constant fear because the Stetson School can’t do the one thing they’re supposed to do above all else – keep the kids in the school.
But wait, according to the Stetson School’s website they already have that covered.
Our residential treatment program is a place for treatment rather than simply a placement for youth. The caring environment provides around-the-clock structure and supervision while members of the interdisciplinary treatment team provide an environment that supports behavioral and emotional safety.
I don’t think they understand what supervision means.
My question is, why is the police department deleting all of these posts? Because they take them all down after they find these kids in someone’s backyard. It’s almost as if the Stetson School doesn’t like the bad publicity, but also uses taxpayer funded resources to clean up a mess that was really their fault to begin with.
Then again, this is the same town that fired their police chief three years ago because he was “too nice.”
Why is the town acting as the full time bounty hunter for this organization? Why does Seven Hills not provide them with security? This is a dangerous population of boys they’re dealing with, and clearly what they’re doing right now isn’t cutting it. Are they waiting for someone to get seriously injured or die? Because that can happen when dangerous young men are carrying around weapons and stealing cars. It’s not like the Seven Hills Foundation can’t afford an investment. Their President, Dr. David Jordan, collected a salary of $315,861 according to their 2013 tax return.
The town has tried to work with the school, but has not been met halfway:
During its Sept. 3 meeting, the board said Stetson officials have been unwilling to participate in a public board meeting. Instead, it wants to meet on its own terms at the school. On Aug. 29, the school’s lawyer wrote a letter to town counsel stating that the board gave the impression selectmen “view the students as prisoners who must be kept inside the property boundaries at all costs.”
So they wouldn’t meet with the town whose resources they use to profit because the town views the students as prisoners who must be kept inside at all costs? Well, yea. That’s what it is. If the kids were allowed to leave then this wouldn’t be an issue. But they’re not. Because it’s a residential school for dangerous boys. From their website:
In March of 2013 Stetson School became an affiliate of the Seven Hills Foundation of Worcester, Mass. The school has since undergone a welcomed change in managerial staff and overcome many of its past problems. They have since shifted their custodial model from providing care for male children with sexual behavior problems to attachment-oriented, trauma-informed, and developmentally sensitive treatment.”
Seven Hills Foundation brings in over $60 million a year in revenue and pays out more than $42 million in staff salaries.
You hire full time private security, or you pay the town for a detail cop. Or you build a wall. Something. All I know is using the police in the manner they are now is unacceptable. Especially since the police are literally starting a GoFundMe for a K-9 to track these kids down.
A police department doing a GFM to keep the town safe. That’s just embarrassing.
Either way, the town should probably tell the Stetson School to get their shit together or move to Webster. Don’t wanna come to the board of selectman meeting to discuss a town issue? No problem. Have fun in Webster.
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