|CEDU Educational Services Inc|
"See Yourself As You Are and Do Something About It"
|Type||Private therapeutic boarding schools|
CEDU Educational Services, Inc., known simply as CEDU (pronounced see-doo), was founded in 1967 by Mel Wasserman and his wife Brigitta. The company owned and operated several therapeutic boarding schools and behavior modification programs in California and Idaho.
CEDU origins go back to Synanon, a cult founded in Santa Monica, California in 1958 by Charles Dederich. According to Paul Morantz, JD, Synanon ..."went from the first ever no doctor involved self help drug rehab (Synanon I), to a building of a new society in Synanon cities to lead the world into the 21st Century (Synanon II), to becoming a self-claimed religion (Synanon III)."
Original CEDU period (1967–1985)
The average time a student spent at a CEDU school was 2½ years. The school year was year-round. The original CEDU program did not believe in use of medicine. Three times a week for four hours students would attend Raps, pseudo-psychology group sessions led by untrained staff. Students and staff were incentived to "indict" students for minor rule infractions in the name of emotional growth. Yelling was appropriate and expected.
In 1982, a small group of students and staff, including founding headmaster Dan Earle, left the Running Springs campus for Bonners Ferry, Idaho to open Rocky Mountain Academy (RMA). RMA's curriculum and philosophy were identical to the original school, CEDU Running Springs. On rare occasions staff and students were transferred between schools. The staff generally transferred campuses for promotions, students were transferred because the staff felt a "fresh start" was the best (and usually last) option for the student. Rocky Mountain Academy was one of the largest employers in Boundary County during the period, diversifying its timber and agriculture economy.
Around 1990 the facilities began to accept that some of the teenagers could need medications.
CEDU Education - Brown Schools (1998–2005)
CEDU Education was sold to Brown Schools while it was at its peak in the market; all the schools were full and everything was going well. Two years into its ownership by Brown Schools, the staff turnover was extremely high, no one with any time or stability in the company was left, and CEDU Education went backwards. Former employees watched helplessly as the Brown Schools made management decision after management decision inconsistent with the CEDU philosophy of education and inconsistent with what was effective in helping struggling teens.
|1967||CEDU High School||Running Springs, California||2005||Campus sold to Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles|
|1982||Rocky Mountain Academy||Bonner's Ferry, Idaho||2005||Property purchased by Universal Health Services|
|1992||CEDU Middle School||Running Springs, California||2005||Campus sold to Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles|
|1993||Boulder Creek Academy||Bonner's Ferry, Idaho||2005||Re-opened by Universal Health Services|
|1994||Northwest Academy||Naples, Idaho||2005||Re-opened by Universal Health Services|
|1994||Ascent Wilderness Program||Naples, Idaho||2005||Re-opened by Universal Health Services|
|Milestones Transitional Program||2005||property in litigation|
Brown Schools operated 11 boarding schools and educational facilities in California, Idaho, Texas, Vermont, and Florida. Facilities in Austin, Texas and San Marcos, Texas were sold to Psychiatric Solutions Inc. in 2003. CEDU closed in early 2005 due to financial problems. Several CEDU employees reported to Lake Arrowhead Mountain News, however, that pending litigation against CEDU for abuse and violation of rights as well as citations against the schools contributed to the downfall. In March, 2005 Brown Schools declared bankruptcy, in part because of legal costs related to lawsuits filed by the families of several former students. The same year, Universal Health Services bid $13.5 million for the Brown School properties in bankruptcy.
Idaho Educational Services
Universal Health Services Inc., a public company focused on hospitals and behavioral health centers, subsequently reopened three of the former CEDU facilities: Ascent, Boulder Creek (located on the former Rocky Mountain Academy property) and Northwest Academy. These operate under the new name of Idaho Educational Services. Each program is overseen by individual directors.
The history of CEDU is largely the history of the development of parent-choice, private-pay residential programs. A significant number of the schools in the Emotional Growth/Therapeutic schools industry were developed or strongly influenced by people who were originally inspired by their CEDU experience.
A number of behavior modification facilities/CEDU offshoots were opened by former CEDU staff and students, including
- Mount Bachelor Academy
- Monarch School, founded by Patrick McKenna, the first Rocky Mountain Academy Alumni and Daniel Earle's son, Timothy Earle
Celebrity and CEDU
The first facility was located in California — not far from Hollywood. The busy life of the persons in the entertainment industry meant that some of the known celebrities had less time for their children and outsourced the upbringing to CEDU. In relationship with the closure of the facility as local newspapers stated:
Tuition at CEDU schools was about $5,700 a month. Actress Roseanne Barr and broadcaster Barbara Walters are among the rich and famous who have sent their children to the academies, according to a Spokesman-Review report in 1998.
In the news
1993: A 17-year-old boy disappeared from the Campus. He was never found.
1994: A 14-year-old boy disappeared from the Campus. The family believes that he was abducted. He has not been found.
July 1994 - Jon A. committed suicide in one of the dormitories of lower Camelot at Rocky Mountain Academy.
1997 - Five persons were injured in a riot at Northwest Academy.
2002 - CEDU Educational Services, Inc. pays settlement to former client on charges of abuse.
2004 - Parents search for their son who ran away from CEDU Running Springs.
2009 - A police investigation is conducted into the unsupervised presence of the convicted killer James Lee Crummel on the CEDU Running Springs Campus in connection with the two disappearances in 1990s.
2012 - The first book about CEDU is published by Waxlight Press. The Discarded Ones:A Novel Based on a True Story by James Tipper marks the first detailed account of life at the school in literature.
Notes and references
- "The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "Synanon -CEDU - Brown Schools Medical Whistleblower". medicalwhistleblowernetwork.jigsy.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "The History of Synanon and Charles Dederich". www.paulmorantz.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- Gelder, Lawrence Van (1997-03-04). "Charles Dederich, 83, Synanon Founder, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "IDSOS Search Results; ( R.M.A., INC. ... ROCKY MOUNTAIN ACADEMY, INC. )". Idaho Secretary of State. Idaho Secretary of State. March 14, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Ditz, Liz. CEDU timeline, I Speak of Dreams blog
- CEDU Closing
- CEDU Education Announces Closure of Rocky Mountain Academy, Press Release brought on strugglingteens.com, the homepage of the industry marketing firm
- CEDU School Declares Bankruptcy, Lake Arrowhead Mountain News, 31 March 2005.
- "Ever unconventional, long controversial". The Bulletin. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- Hansen, Dan and Drumheller, Susan. CEDU shutting down, Spokesman Review, 25 March 2005.
- John Christopher Inman at The Charley Project
- Blake Wade Pursley at The Charley Project
- Spokesman-Review excerpt
- CEDU Sued for Abuse and Fraud, International Survivors Action Committee
- Father endures 2-month search for missing son, International Survivors Action Committee
- Wyatt, Chuck. "Death Row Serial Molester Connected to CEDU", Apenhorn News, 13 November 2009.
- Publisher's product description excerpt
- "Dead, Insane or in Jail : A CEDU Memoir This is the right place for you, you are special!". www.deadinsaneorinjail.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.