September 16, 2015
Students who sit quietly and refuse to leave the classroom when they are told to "take space" are forcibly restrained and carried to isolation rooms. I was kept in an isolation room the entire school day for two days in a row because I refused to take my novels out of my hoodie pocket. No accommodations were made in the rules, and academics weren't even a second priority. Later, at a different school, my therapist commented scornfully that she had never seen an IEP so full of buzzwords as the one written there. I didn't know, because policy was that I wasn't allowed in the meeting and was never shown the IEP. While at Manville I felt had no more dignity and no more control over my life than a dog in a shelter.
At the time one of my problems was that sometimes I would get a "thing" about a person, where being close to to them caused me psychological agony. There was a certain staff member, the head of the Upper School. I got that way about him, very badly. When he was nearby, I was visibly in distress. I had a lot of nightmares, and dreaded going to school. I jumped when the classroom door opened. I wondered why I saw him so much, why he was always nearby, but dismissed it as paranoia.
Long story short, he admitted to my parents and team he had been following me around while I reacted that way. He claimed he had been trying to get me accustomed to him. I was visibly getting worse, and he didn't quit. And he didn't tell anyone. No one on my team, none of the other teachers. He kept it a secret. Once this was out in the open, he came in for no censure, and the last I heard he'd been promoted.
Thank G-d, I got out. I left after that one year, and in the six years since I've recovered a lot. With the help of therapists and the better environment at a different school, I fought my way back to the level of health I had been at before going to Manville, and then fought more until I had conquered most of my issues. I eventually got back to public school, and I’m now at university, majoring in psychology. Ironically, this has only highlighted the abuses at Manville, because now I know how far from “best practices” their policies are. As I write this, my heart is pounding and I’m shaking. Even now I haven’t forgiven that man, and I’m furious still at the people who stood by and said nothing and did nothing.
- submitted by a community member