Thank you Reddit. You helped shut down the Elan School. I'm deeply thankful to this entire community. If you want to know more about this place, AMA.
Thanks to Gzasmyhero and the rest of this board for helping bring this place down. Many of us will be able to gain some peace from this and no more kids will be hurt.
EDIT 3: Here's a link to a longer article. In this article, Sharon Terry the owner isn't being straight up, imo. For one, she wasn't involved in day to day operations at all, at least in regards to the students. She might have been at the Elan 1 office everyday, but definitely not involved in students day to day lives. In my two years, I saw her only a handful of times. Second, she is denying that many things that were normal parts of the program actually happened.
I once wrote an AMA about this place. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had to delete it. However, I saved the text and would like to share it again. This is the story I originally put in the AMA with a few minor edits for length:
"I posted the following comment about one of my experiences there on the most gruesome thing you've seen thread. After reading the comment, someone said I should do an AMA thread, so here it is. The original comment was, "Mine is less gruesome shocking than if you didn't understand what was going on, it would traumatize you. It in fact did traumatize my friend for reasons I will mention later. I was in a special and extremely controversial therapeutic school in the U.S for two years. Everyone was in there for different reasons. I was primarily there because of my tendency to fight back against authority figures combined with my parents massively overreacting and being naive. I say this because that had absolutely no idea what kind of shit this place pulled. That it had been investigated numerous times. That there had been allegations of students dying there due to their "treatment." It was way worse before I got there, but it was still bad at the time I got there. In fact, the "treatment" method I'm about to describe is no longer employed there as several states that sent kids there started pulling them out, or threatening to do so if the school didn't change it's methods [I would later find evidence that it was still employed, but at the time I wrote this had heard it was stopped].
Either way, the school was divided into three houses of about 55 kids a piece. They operated separately and you didn't really communicate with kids in the other houses. The only time you got together were for really good reasons, or really bad reasons. Now, to set the tone of this, my house was fucking whacked out. A month prior a former resident had just been caught after murdering his mother with a sledgehammer. He had left maybe three months before I got there, but most of the house knew him. We had a bunch of kids try unsuccessfully to run away, leaving our house in almost perpetual lock down. In this program, when a kid started acting out, they would be put in the corner. Basically, you sat in a chair all day and stared at a corner. One to two other residents watched you and if you tried to get up, or move in any way, or cause problems, you were put in restraints. I once saw a kid stay in the corner for like 40 days straight. Eventually, they had to start walking him around periodically, because the muscles in his legs were starting to become so weak from lack of use. Well, they had a special kind of punishment called "the ring" for people who became violent. At one point, two kids were acting out, one extremely violently. He would try to piss on people, throw shit on them, even sit there and try to jack off on them. Crazy ass shit. Same kid who's legs started to atrophy. He also started attacking other residents. So, they decided to throw him a ring. They also, against school policy, decided to throw the other kid in the ring as well. I say against school policy, because he hadn't become violent. They also decided it was going to be a three house ring, on New Year's eve 1997.
So, now I will describe the ring. Basically, someone who got a ring, would have to box another student put in against him. Each boxer was given headgear and gloves (women got chest protectors). It was called the ring, because the other students would make a circle of bodies to form "the Ring." During the match, they would also scream expletives and any other degrading thing we thought of at the person in the ring. The catch was that a new, fresh student would come in each round, until the person had the living shit kicked out of them. After the ring was done, we did what was called a general meeting. The person getting the general meeting, in this case, also the person who was put in the ring, would have a broomstick put in front of them. That would act as the line. Then the whole entire house would crowd up there and scream at the person anything they wanted. Usually it was expletive laced and demeaning. If it was a girl she would usually be called a cunt and a slut and whatever else. If it was a guy, people would be screaming about what a fucking pussy you were and what not. People would be basically spitting on you from yelling. You had to just stand there and wait until all 55 people were done.
So, now I will go to the 3 house ring on new year's eve. One guy, who was entering in my house had been brought to the school that day. He had absolutely no idea what was going on. He literally was taken in, given a delousing shower and given some clothes, just in time for us to march up to a three house ring. No one has explained what's going on to him yet. They send the first kid in, the one who really didn't deserve the ring. Not only did he not deserve it, but the school again broke policy and put him in with a guy 5" taller and probably about 50 lbs heavier, all muscle I might add, who just happened to do kickboxing or regular boxing or something prior to whatever got him thrown in. In the first 20 seconds, the guy shattered his nose. There was blood pouring everywhere and it had splattered all over the people who made up the ring. The dude's face and shirt were completely covered in blood. So, the ring ended, and we went to the general meeting portion. Someone had to come mop up the blood, so people didn't slip. Also, since it was a three house, the general meeting was three times as many people. So, like 155 people. Screaming at this kid, soaked in blood. The look in his eyes haunted me for a long time. The second ring was not so eventful. The worst part was the new guy had absolutely no idea what was going on. He was obviously terrified. Now, the most fucked up part in my mind is that the school was way worse in the 70's and 80's. They were fucking monsters back then."
Like I said, AMA.
EDIT 2: A person on this thread noted that one of the guy from the comedy show "Red Bar Radio" talked about his time at Elan on a marathon fundraising shows. Apparently, he talks about it for hours. I'm listening to it now and it's causing so many memories to flood back. You can get it on itunes. It's Red Bar Radio - "Mike Talks about Boarding School - Parts 1-4" . You can also find them here. He doesn't start into it for at least the first hour and 20 minutes or so of the first part. Actually, for the first part, he talks mostly about what got him there and the process of getting him to the school. By Part 2, he's actually talking about the school. Actually, as I'm listening, his experience was a lot like mine.
EDIT 4: I listened to the entire Red Bar Show. He nails that place dead on. I thought Mike David went there before me, but he said he was there from late '99 to '01 and I was actually there before him ('97-'99). Interesting show. He's right though. It would be awesome to get people together and do a documentary talking to people of many different generations that went there.
EDIT 5: Thank you everyone for all the questions and kind words. I'd just like to add a few more things. First, when you are in the program, all this stuff becomes normal. It becomes the way things are and thus seems less messed up while it is happening. While you do realize it's fucked up when it's going on, you have to rationalize it as normal in your head so as to not go crazy. Today, I am doing well and have been able to put this stuff in my past. The place definitely left a permanent mark on me, but I am pretty laid back and well-adjusted now. I have come to terms with my experience there. The one gift is has given me is that much of the bad stuff in life, just doesn't feel that bad. There are so many people out there that are in much worse situations than what I had to endure. There's so many people out there that need help just getting by from day to day. While I am happy that this place is gone, it still saddens me that there are so many people in our society that are suffering and so little is done to help them. Fortunately, there are many people out there (including lots of redditors) that are trying to make a difference and help these forgotten people. And I don't just mean kids that were in programs like me, but kids that are poor, veterans that come back from the war scarred, victims of abuse and violence, and countless others. To all of you that are trying to make a difference in the world, thank you.