Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Freedom at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

As staff members at Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School, we work hard to help students learn that the choices that they make are in their control.  When a member of the A to Z Challenge writing committee turned this post in for today’s letter F, I was impressed that this girl seemed to recognize this all on her own.

F is for Freedom
Teenagers are wild by nature. Limit testing and wanting independence is natural. Their decision making will ultimately decide whether they have no freedom, or they can have excessive freedom.

Our school works on a level system. When you get here, you are immediately on Level 400. On this level, you have to be constantly watched by a staff and you have to be monitored at all times. The privileges are limited because they need to ensure the safety of the students by watching them. Moving up the level systems is easy, IF you are willing to put forth the effort and better yourself. That is the easier solution, if you ask me. Level 500 is a little less stringent. You can earn level 500 in just a few short days of being here. You have to be in staff’s view at all times, but because you know the rules you have less leeway to get out of teaching interactions. Teaching interactions are basically lessons that need to be learned. When you do not follow a rule, the staff tells you that you need to take accountability for your actions and you get this consequence.

Like in life, with freedoms come responsibilities. On level 600, even more privileges are given back such as make-up and jewelry. This is a struggle for a lot of girls, because they often use make up to hide who they are and their lack of confidence. The levels go up to 900 which basically gives you back all the freedoms you had at home.  

One of the fun activities that the girls enjoy
Speaking from my experience, one of the biggest reasons I struggled at home was because I had an abundance of freedom. After being here for a few weeks, I recognized that the more structured the environment, the more likely students are to succeed and grow because they feel safe. Freedom is a privilege and here at Cedar Ridge the students are prepared for their future by having their freedoms slowly added back as they learn how to responsibly handle life.

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