Victory Forge Military Academy is the same as Southeastern Military Academy

In December 2009, Weierman decided to change the name for Victory Forge to Southeastern Military Academy. Nothing about the school has changed, except the name. Even their website is the same (save for a new URL).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rants from Victory Forge's Self Professed Col

Here is a rant, one of many, from Alan Weierman that caught our attention. It was in response to a newspaper article on the DCF investigation back in April 2008. The interesting thing we gained from this tirade was Alan's immaturity - why would parents want to leave their kids with someone like this. Also, he mentioned someone by the name of Paul Hiott who is on the VF Board and running for County Commissioner. So we dug around and found out about Paul. The primaries are next month, and he is running against 3 other individuals. Now parents and children, maybe it is time to give Paul a call. Tell him that we cannot have a sympathizer of VF running for office and that we will not support him. If that does not do it, let's start a campaign to make sure that the voters know what type of institution this man is associated with. I am sure his opponents would be very interested.

Here is the unedited rant (with typos and all)

I am Alan Weierman the commander of Victory Forge. To those of you who have questions you are welcome to call me at 879-7181. I will gladly explain the resoning that we use. First let me give my credentials. I hold a Ph.D. in specialized business, a Masters Degree in counseling and Psychology, and am a certified Behavioral Analyst. I have 29 years working in the field of child care and youth services. I am a past Vice Chairman of the Human Rights Advocay Commitee as well as the Statewide Human Rights Council. I am a member in good standing of the American Council of Social Workers.
The youth that was shackled was a habitual offender. He had not aquired enough points to be placed in the Juvenile System, however his mom wanted him to get help.
The youth was shackled due to excessive running away. He refused to stay out of the shackles. By that I mean that he was asked several times a day if he was ready to stay in the program. As soon as the shackles came off he would try to run a way or would threaten to run away. Running away is a crime and more importantly it is dangerous.
The youth in this current case ran away, broke into a house and stole a pair of pruning shears. When we caught him he told us he was hurt someone and steal their car. ( Think of someone you love having this thug attack them and steal their car.I think of one of our elderly volunteers here at the Forge.)
When we apprehended him he tried to stab one of my staff with the shears. OFC BYRNE PSLPD was called to the scene by us and could not care less about the break-in or the shears he was concerned about the shackles. (go figure).
Our facility is an open facility. No bars on doors or windows and no locked doors. (Against SLC Fire Codes).I would say to all the ones who are questioning the program this: 97% of our graduates are still drug free, crime free, and being productive citizens 1 year after graduation. Thats the proof that what we do works.
I welcome people to call me. I am leading a charge to change DCF for the good. Our kids need it and so do our families.
To those that think 28,000.00 is alot of money to spend, do the math. 76.00 per day all expenses included.
To the persdon who thinks our kids are scared. I want you to know that you are wrong. Paul Hiott, Saint Lucie County Veterans Services Director and candidate for County Commissioner is one of our Board Members and volunteers. He recently told me of the great comments he gets from the public about our young men... It's not fear you see but well disciplined young men with self control. (I know that you may not recognize it in today's world.OBTW according to DJJ statistics in our District alone there are over 1000 cases of child abuse reported every month!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Contact your Senator or Representative

A reader has asked that all concerned parents contact these Legislators and demand that Victory Forge be investigated for abusive behavior. In addition, demand that VF not be allowed to hide behind its private school status. Ask that this institution be regulated by the DCF.

Step 1. Call the Legislators named below. Fax or email a letter against VF to them as well.
Step 2. If you are a FL resident, state that. If you are a Republican donor, state that as well.
Step 3. Ask them to close the private school loophole and support the DCF.
Step 4. Ask them to put pressure on Victory Forge and those who run this awful place.
Step5. Repeat.

Once we get a script developed, we will post here so that you can follow the same template. If you have a child who was abused, make sure he talks to these folks as well. All members of the family, friends, co-workers should be making phone calls.

Ken Pruitt
Florida Senator
District 28
Phone (District Office): (772) 344-1140
Phone (District Office): (561) 747-1166
Phone (Tallahassee Offices): (850) 487-5088
Phone (Tallahassee Offices): (850) 487-5229

Gayle B. Harrell
Florida House Representative
District 81
Phone (District Office): (772) 873-6500
Phone (Capitol Office): (850) 488-8749

Tim Mahoney
US Congress
District 16
Phone (D.C. Office): (202) 225-5792
Phone (District Office): (772) 878-3181
Fax: (772) 871-0651

Robert Butterworth, Secretary
The Florida Department of Children and Families
Phone: (850) 487-1111
Fax: (850) 922-2993

Charlie Crist
Office of Governor
Phone: (850) 488-4441
Fax: (850) 487-0801

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Victory Forge - Private abuse still abuse

This is a very apt headline. Just because someone is abused in private or in a private facility, does the government not have any rights to moderate this behavior? All those who want to help us contact legislators to close these loopholes and make facilities like Victory Forge accountable and punishable, please contact us (in confidence).

Here is an article from The Palm Beach Post.

I won't mean help for Victory Forge Military Academy cadets yet, but the Florida Department of Children and Families is looking for ways to close legal loopholes and give DCF the authority to offer more protection to children who are abused in private schools.

Detailed records DCF released about the Port St. Lucie school show that while students were subjected to "bizarre" punishments, shackled and choked, neither the agency nor the Treasure Coast State Attorney's Office had sufficient evidence or authority to act. The agency only recommended that parents remove students from the academy, and prosecutors chose not to file criminal charges. That parents signed release forms approving the school's use of shackles on runaways further complicates matters.

"I've got serious concerns about (Victory Forge)," Assistant DCF Secretary George Sheldon said. "I can't understand if a parent does something to a child that would cause us to remove the child from home, how can the parent contract out that right? And how can a facility avoid state licensure by putting itself in a certain category? I find it incredible we have no authority. We may need legislation to close the loophole." DCF attorneys are reviewing the situation at the state level, he said, and then will begin discussions with state legislators.

Victory Forge's methods became a public matter two months ago, when a runaway cadet was found shackled. The story sparked an investigation of the boot-camp-style school's practices. Before the investigation was complete, DCF urged parents to remove their sons because of the severity of the allegations, and all 17 students left. Both DCF and Port St. Lucie police investigated Victory Forge.

DCF spokesmen said the agency was unable to determine the severity of the alleged choking incident because no medical review was done immediately after it occurred. "With no bruising, no broken bones and no video," Mr. Sheldon said, law enforcement has little to go on. But a student's chance of getting a medical review in such a situation seem remote at best.
"Parents are the kids' only recourse," Mr. Sheldon admits, adding that under existing laws the state can't step in to save an abused child who is in this type of private school. Since the parents opted out of their responsibility in the Victory Forge case, the state must find a way to assert its responsibility to protect children.