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Monday, July 22, 2024

Dark Legacy of Ivy Ridge Academy Shown in Netflix Documentary

Ivy Ridge Academy Lawsuit

Recently, the Ivy Ridge Academy (a behavior modification program run in Northern New York between 2001 and 2009) became a topic of quite the debate because they were accused of abusing those who enrolled in this program. On top of that, recently, the Netflix documentary “The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping” helped this gain even more popularity, and that’s when this whole Ivy Ridge Academy Lawsuit became even more popular. Let’s take a look at what happened, what went down, and what’s the status now.


What Was Ivy Ridge Academy?

Charging families a whopping $3,500 a month, Ivy Ridge Academy marketed itself as a means of helping disturbed teenagers restore their lives, which sounds good on paper, right? Because of all this, this academy attracted over $20 million yearly and had roughly 600 students at its height. The truth, though, was far different from this polished picture. The academy lacked sufficient accreditation, hence the degrees it issued were basically useless.


First Signs of Trouble

The cracks in their whole setup started to show up in the early 2000s. That’s when the New York State Education Department wrote Jason Finlinson, the director of the institution, a letter in August 2006 alerting him to certain problems, something that needed immediate attention. These included inadequate instructional programs, unsuitable restraint techniques, and inadequate protection of student health and safety. The letter essentially claimed Ivy Ridge was more of a behavior boot camp than a real school, though the academy continued to run in defiance of these warnings until it dissolved in 2009.


But then came the Netflix Documentary. Ivy Ridge’s dark side was much-highlighted thanks in great part in this Netflix documentary. Former pupils related horrific stories of emotional, physical, and even sexual violence. Overall, you see, these testimonies presented a negative picture of academy life, with strict rules and severe penalties.


Evidence Seizure and Investigation

Authorities investigated Ivy Ridge extensively following the documentary’s airing. Thanks to that, law enforcement agents seized materials from the former academy campus on May 1, 2024. Gary Pasqua, St. Lawrence County District Attorney, claimed to have received up to 100 complaints from former students and their families claiming different kinds of mistreatment and abuse. Pasqua has said that although the statute of limitations complicated some cases, the inquiry could result in several criminal prosecutions. Officials driven to find the truth and hold those guilty are keeping a continuous inquiry underway.


All in all, former pupils have come forward offering thorough reports of mistreatment at Ivy Ridge. They detailed harsh punishment for small transgressions, solitary incarceration, and even indoctrination. Certain occurrences included staff failing to stop student-on-student assaults. A major incident in 2005 was when a big fight broke out between male students that exposed the disorganized and dangerous surroundings of the institution.


Apart from the criminal inquiries, Ivy Ridge has been the target of various court cases. Claiming fraud and racketeering, there was a class-action lawsuit launched against the institution way back in 2006. But that Ivy Ridge Academy Lawsuit didn’t make it big and made everyone aware of what went down in the Ivy Ridge Academy when it was operational. Given many of the claimed abuses occurred more than ten years ago, the judicial process is somewhat difficult, still, the research is ongoing, and as more data comes to light there may be future legislative changes.


Parul is an experienced blogger, author and lawyer who also works as an SEO content writer, copywriter and social media enthusiast. She creates compelling legal content that engages readers and improves website visibility. Linkedin

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