64 reads
Leave a comment

Pennsylvania is closing the Glen Mills Schools, the oldest existing U.S. reform school, amid an investigation into child abuse and cover-ups at the Delaware County campus.

The state Department of Human Services (DHS) announced Monday that it was revoking Glen Mills’ license, having found evidence that its employees beat juveniles sent to the all-boys school and attempted to coerce them into silence.

In a letter to Glen Mills assistant executive director Christopher Spriggs, DHS Deputy Secretary Cathy Utz cited “gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct in operating the facilities,” and “mistreatment and abuse of children in care.”

“Institutions charged with caring for children have a responsibility to keep them safe. The Glen Mills Schools failed in this duty,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said in a statement. “We now know that children living at Glen Mills were subjected to abuse and intimidation. My department is taking this action so no more children will be subjected to the culture of abuse, coercion, and silence that ran deep at the school, and so staff responsible may be held accountable.”

The state could have taken a smaller step, such as offering Glen Mills a provisional license or requesting a corrective action plan, as it has in the past. But Utz told The Inquirer that revocation was necessary because of the systemic nature of the abuse, and because of Glen Mills’ failure to fix problems DHS had cited in the past.

“Children who are entrusted in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system have a right to be safe in their placements,” Utz said.


comments – add yours