Eagle Academy, Florida
PBSO Eagle Academy is a boot camp-styled school or behavior modification facility. The facility is located on 33800, State Road 80, Belle Glade, Florida <Ref>The facility on Google maps</Ref>
It is the remaining boot camp in Florida after Governor Jeb Bush closed the other ones after the death of 14 year old Martin Lee Anderson. The reason for the camp avoiding closure is that the detainees have to sign up voluntarily. They have to write an essay in order to be committed <Ref>Paragraph "Kids have a say", Transcript on Project Nospank</Ref>
The facility has room for 71 inmates.
The target group is "at-risk" girls and boys between 13 and 16 years of age. They have to be resident in Palm Beach County. Once accepted there are no fees beside some clothes and personal items like soap, sunscreen, deodorant etc.
They also need to have no felonies on their police records <Ref>The secret to Eagle Academy's success? `We're not a boot camp' (Sun-Sentinel.com)</Ref>
Misdemeanors are no problem. In fact a lot of those issues, the facility are to correct, are categorizes as misdemeanors <Ref>Application form, Page four, Facility homepage</Ref>. The camp was featured in the movie "High School Boot Camp" <Ref>Movie on IMDB, IMDB</Ref>. However, this movie was criticized due to its lack of a follow-up of the destiny of the detainees after the had left the facility <Ref>A real-life look at 'last chance' for teens, JS Online</Ref>.
The program is designed to last 6 month on the camp-site and 3 month after-care in the home of the children.
On the first phase of the program, the detainees are physically challenged by drill instructors screaming and demanding ridiculous loads of exercise. In fact the application warns the parents that: "The candidates will be subjected to physically challenging and competitive training and exercises!".
An article by Nina Hermann,Ina Agency describes how the first of a new group of girls vomit just after leaving the bus.
The second phase focus on school work. Schooling is provided by the local school district. The third and last phase is a follow up when the child has graduated with a mix of visits and phone-calls.
The parents are forced to attend classes in parenting and also forces to visit the camp several times during the program.
According to an article published by BBC any misdemeanor - a button not done up, a word out of place or being late for lunch could result in 10 press-ups or 20 star jumps <Ref>American tearaways volunteer for discipline (BBC), BBC</Ref>. Good behavior are rewarded by ability to watch movies and hang out with the staff in the gym.
In an article about the program, a phone call is described between a girl and her mother. The crying girls wants to go home, but the mother bashed her by blaming her lack of commitment. The girls breaks down and ends up sleeping on the floor as punishment <Ref>Teenagers in boot camp. "They need to be broken", by Nina Hermann, Ina Agency (In Danish published in "Alt for Damerne" 2007, Norwegian version here)</Ref>. That is not the official policy when they are advertising in the media. They claim that they interview each applicant separately from the parents and if the child's say that is it forced to attend, the child would not be accepted <Ref>Eagle Academy marks 10 years of helping youth, Palm Beach Post, June 6, L.J. Margolis</Ref>.
The program claims to have helped about 80 percent of the detainees to a good and long productive life like their latest role model - Chasson Henry <Ref>Press release from the facility, Facility homepage</Ref>
In the News[redigér]
One of the drill instructors were arrested on the charge of 'battery touch or strike' and 'fraud, false statement.' <Ref>PBSO Eagle Academy Deputy Arrested, Newschannel 5, October 25 - 2007</Ref> <Ref>Video refutes deputies' reports on use of force on academy teen, By KATHLEEN CHAPMAN, palmbeachpost.com, October 31 - 2007</Ref>
In februar 2008 a new incident of abuse were investigated when a staff member picked on a boy, who had vomitted. With a towel the staff member wiped the vomit from the floor, then rubbed the towel in the boy's face <Ref>Palm Beach County youth camp deputy faces trial on abuse charges - Investigators say deputy slammed boy to ground after the teenager got sick, By Rachel Hatzipanagos, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, February 2 2008</Ref>
Another typical outcome of the program was demonstrated when one of the graduates was shot suspected of stealing a car <Ref>Deputy fatally shoots teen he said tried to run him over in stolen car, By Jerome Burdi, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 3 2008</Ref>
April 2010 it was announced that the sheriff department could save $4.5 million by closing the boot camp<ref>Palm Beach County sheriff calls for cutting ‘Drug Farm’ and teen military-style school, By Andy Reid, Sun Sentinel, April 29, 2010</ref>. The closure is up to the politicians.
September 2010 it was revealed that they will close after the graduation of the present teenager <ref name="heal2">Final decision to shut down PBSO Eagle Academy comes Tuesday at County Commission meeting, By Jerome Burdi, Sun Sentine, September 25, 2010]</ref>
- Info: Homepage of the facility
- Info: High School Boot Camp on IMDB
- Info: Parents support site
- Info: Review of the Movie about the facility
- Info: Photo Essay about the facility (Sun-Sentinel.com)
- Info: Inside The Eagle Academy, Newchannel 5 wptv.com, 11/28/2007
- Info: Video from the usually normal incident which got two deputies suspended and charged of abuse, Youtube
- Survivor group: PBSO Eagle Academy, facebook