(a.k.a. Elk River RTC)
(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)
We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at the The Pinnacle Schools. For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm. If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at The Pinnacle Schools, you have the right to take action.
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by The Pinnacle Schools, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you remember the long-term employees and from which years. This will help! Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.
HEAL is currently investigating The Pinnacle Schools.
|Karen Lee||Founder/CEO/President||So "good" with kids she couldn't handle her own and placed her son in a wilderness program.|
|Charles Lee||Anesthesiologist||Bit of a gun enthusiast.|
|Mark Petroff||Director||Degrees in business. No expertise in adolescent mental health.|
|Wayne Wilson||Psychologist||Also acts as behavior modification consultant.|
|Mason Robertson||Wilderness Physician||Also, an anesthesiologist.|
|Bonnie Robertson||Medical Staff Director|
|Zachary Turner||Family Services Liaison||Currently at Pinnacle location and reportedly no longer at Elk River location.|
|Bo Wolfe||Senior Group Leader/Facility Mgr|
|Matt McFerrin||Senior Group Leader|
|Phil Dean||Pharmacist||Civil war enthusiast.|
|Travis Badger||Group Leader||"Master of Theology"|
|Kim Lowery||Nurse||Volunteers with "Teens Path to Success Foundation"|
|Amy Goodson Shaw||Academics Director|
|Norman Sharp||Academic Admin.||Elk River Campus. NASCAR enthusiast.|
|Bobbi Bell||English Teacher|
|Amanda Burden||Math Teacher|
|Andrea Clayton||Science Teacher|
|Duane Hellebrand||Human Resources Dir.|
|Ann Corley||Marketing Department|
|Selina Mason||Public Relations|
|Nan Futch||Office Manager|
|Penny Bakker (Bakke)||Supervisor/Director?|
|Bernard (Last?)||Staff||Reportedly no longer works for the program.|
|*(The Pinnacles Schools, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices. Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience. Thank you for your help.)|
REPORTING GUIDE FOR VICTIMS, SURVIVORS, AND WHISTLEBLOWERS:
Teen claims security officer beat him at Pinnacle SchoolsPosted: Oct 17, 2012 5:22 PM PDT Updated: Oct 17, 2012 5:22 PM PDT
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
A Huntsville teen claims a security officer beat him while he was at school last Wednesday.
Pinnacle Schools confirmed they have launched an investigation into the claims. The private alternative school has placed the security officer on paid leave as the school system looks into the allegation.
The victim's family filed a police report with Huntsville Police last week. Huntsville Police confirmed they're also investigating.
According to that report, the 13-year-old victim said he was talking during class when the security guard pulled him out for talking. He told police the security guard made him go into a plank position and whenever he rested the security guard hit him on sides with an open hand.
The victim's family said they took the teen to the hospital that night, and police took pictures of the victim's side.
"One, I want [the security officer] fired. Two, I want [the security officer] in jail," said the victim's grandfather, Harold Wesley.
The victim's family said the teen has transferred to another school since the alleged beating.
Pinnacle Schools released this statement late Wednesday afternoon:
"This incident arose when one of our staff discovered marks on a student. Per our policy, we informed the parents, contacted DHR, and put a staff member on leave. The Pinnacle Schools is presently investigating this matter."
|Externla Link: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/10/additional_complaints_made_aga.html|
"Karen Lee and Charles Lee, the owners of these 2 facilities, cannot fix their own kids. How could they fix yours? Their 2 sons were arrested after a sting with 24 lbs of pot $37000 cash and arsenal of arms both out on $1million bond the youngest son went back to work at Elk River while he was out on bail according to his facebook page he was made a supervisor....the other son Charles was arrested 3 times for drugs and spent 1 year in jail the last time being released in
Source: E-mail Message received by HEAL on April 5th, 2016
|7/17/20: CONVERSION PROGRAM PROGRESS REPORT: THE PINNACLE SCHOOLS (AKA PINNACLE PROGRAMS AKA ELK RIVER IN ALABAMA)|
All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public. We've found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see: http://www.heal-online.org/tcfl.htm, http://www.heal-online.org/bolthouse.htm and http://www.heal-online.org/abundant2.htm. Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims. We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-list to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims. We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources. In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction. And, for information on how such requests are handled and have been resolved historically, see: http://www.heal-online.org/requests.htm.
HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily. In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed. Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children. See http://www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm for more information. Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements parents must sign assuring the program that the parents have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case. In fact, in the David Taylor case found at http://www.heal-online.org/provocases.htm, Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants. His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so.
Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice. And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them. And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA.
HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:
a. Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation. It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment. For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at https://youtu.be/C4NzhZc4P0A. Or, see: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/ which includes in part: "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."
b. Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive. Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights. Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at http://changingminds.org/disciplines/sociology/articles/institutionalization.htm. "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)." (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)
c. Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children. Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family. Source: http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html
d. Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful. Best source on this currently is: https://www.acgov.org/probation/documents/EndoftheReformSchoolbyVinny.doc
e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments. Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/08/boarding-school-syndrome-joy-schaverien-review and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/11662001/The-truth-about-boarding-school-syndrome.html
Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective. You can request these documents via e-mail. In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services. Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know" for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.
If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "How Would You Handle My Out of Control Teen?".
If you have a complaint against any facility, please file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency or your home state's attorney general. For reporting resources see: http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm. (Reporting guide is for USA only at this time.)
January 25th, 2021
Last Updated: January 25th, 2021