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Wednesday, November 16, 2022


 Please join us in standing in solidarity with Elan Survivors by signing/sharing the petition (link in bio) & contacting Maine officials with the following message👇🏼 #AllyshipisAction #ElanSchool #wewarnedthem #EndInstitutionalAbuse #Justiceforelansurvivors #shutdownironwood

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Petition details
Demand Transparency to Community of Westbrook Maine
282 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
jon ferry signed this petition
Tara Burns started this petition
         It has been brought to the survivor community’s attention that Melissa (Missy) Esty, of Portland Maine, has been hired to join the Westbrook Police Department, working as one of the three new Opportunity Alliance positions, paid through a grant. This job requires Esty to be on-scene of behavioral health–related calls. These three salaried positions were created in response to a collective push for “increased transparency,” as well as to aid the department in outreach for civilian co-responders. You can read the article here :  

In light of Westbrook’s efforts for transparency, it has become prudent that another form of transparency comes forth. 

Several concerned residents of Westbrook Maine found the Elan Survivor groups and reached out in horror after discovering Esty’s history of being a Director at “The Elan School” had not been disclosed to them. It is our moral duty as survivors of the Elan School, and as victims of Melissa Esty’s abuse to immediately demand transparency be given to the vulnerable community of Westbrook. This community has been left in the dark in the name of public safety about Esty’s prior history of employment, particularly her nearly three-decade-long career as a Director of the Elan School that, till this day, is still plagued with hundreds of allegations of abuse performed by Esty and other former staff. This includes the deaths of several students while she worked there. 

The Elan School operated for 41 years in the woods of Poland Maine, from 1970-2011. Operating in a highly secluded, wooded area away from the public eye, neighbors or any signs of civilization were miles away, many Maine residents weren’t and still aren’t aware of the Elan school. It is our responsibility to inform and educate, to bring awareness with truth and testimony from our own experiences and harrowing traumas endured. It is imperative that the unsuspecting inhabitants of Maine and its vulnerable communities are educated on these deceptive and covered-up operations that exploit vulnerable children in the name of mental health. More importantly, the residents understand how not one person received the accountability for the endless list of terrors and crimes against children committed. 

Here were some of the typical forms of therapy that the Elan School used: 

“Attack Therapy” - which was coined from the cult Synanon. Elan was born from this cult. These are important historical facts that the public has access to and has the right to know in order to maintain levels of public safety from child abuse and exploitation. 

The Elan School’s regimen of therapy used physical violence against children in several forms. A few examples: 
Children being pit against one another in boxing rings, forced to fight new opponents each round after they were beaten into submission as a punishment or “learning experience.” At least one child died in these rings, And many more have permanent brain and body injuries.

Corporal punishments and public spankings that the executive director, Joe Ricci, nonchalantly discussed on national television. Ricci openly admitted to using these techniques of behavioral modification on children without shame. This clip is available to watch on “Children of Darkness” on YouTube. You will also see the displays of public humiliation that Elan subjected its students to such as :

Being forced to wear degrading signs and embarrassing costumes such as bunny suits and leg shackles.

Depriving children of food and sleep and taking basic human rights away, forcing them to be earned as privileges (such as going to the toilet). 

Having students sleep and live out of garbage dumpsters or graves they dug in the ground as punishment.

Being put in solitary confinement, known as “the corner”, facing a wall in a plastic chair for weeks sometimes months at a time, not allowed to participate in the daily activities or school. Children slept on a plastic mattress that was brought to them in the corner, they were only allowed to stand up with permission from staff, and immediately put into plastic restraints if breached. Which happened daily. 

Ceremonial and cult-like chantings/primal scream therapy sessions daily. (You can find samples of this online; be advised it is highly traumatic and distressing to hear how the daily treatment of the treatment really sounded like. Primal scream therapy was commonplace for the children’s treatment at the Elan program. We used it daily in groups, public humiliation sessions, and during cleaning and meals. All of this is explained and researched with links here: Behind the Bastards: Part One: Elan School: The Worst 'Troubled Teen' Facility on Apple Podcasts

Here are two major media articles while Missy worked at Elan:

Skeletons in the Classroom - The New York Times
Exclusive: New York State Acts to End Abuses at Elan School | HuffPost Latest News

We demand immediately that the Westbrook PD launch a full investigation into Esty’s history at the Elan School and produce full transparency to its taxpayers, where their money is going. Here is how little she cares about the kids she abused and watched be abused:

Despite the abundant information available on the internet, documentaries, newspaper articles, Elan School survivor testimonies, and social media accounts of survivors bravely telling their stories of the abuses - there has never been public accountability for any of the directors or staff that held positions of power over vulnerable children for its 41 years of operation.

We are asking the communities everywhere to stand in solidarity with us by contacting Maine Elected Officials. 

Please click below to see the Maine officials you can get in contact with.


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