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(en) US, NYC, The RAT #3 (page 3) Teenage lobotomy, Resources for Runaways

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 7 Apr 2005 08:54:31 +0200 (CEST)


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Teenage lobotomy - a zine about institutionalization of youth
What would you do if you were woken up tomorrow by two large men, hand-
cuffed, dragged out of your home, and thrown in the back of a van? What
would you think as this van takes you hundreds of miles away and drops you
off in an institution of white walls, fluorescent lights, and cold linoleum floors?
How would you respond to the people in this institution when they force you
to stand in a corner for weeks on end, to lift your knees to your waistline when
you walk, to be silent when you want to be loud, to be loud when you want to
be silent, and to carry buckets of rocks back and forth for twelve hours each
day? Would you resist, rebel, run away, kill yourself?

What if they locked you in a tiny room
that smelled like urine and blasted
A.A. tapes until you submit? What if
they took your food away? Had someone
follow you around all the time, even
watching you shit? What if you were
completely stuck in a behavior modification
program like this for two years without seeing
your friends, your home, or anything that
might remind you of the real world?

These places exist, and kids are sent
to them everyday. Parents have complete
legal control over their children until the
age of eighteen, and these institutions prey
on parents' frustrations, convincing them to
sign away their child's rights. Behavior
modification programs reflect our society's
attitude towards youth, treating us
as less than full human beings. Some of
us are even forced into group homes,
juvenile detention centers, mental hospitals,
and spirit-destroying institutions like the
one described above. Regardless of whether
an institution is private or state funded,
its intentions to reform a rebellious
teenager, `cure' a mental disorder, or remove a
criminal from society, the message is the same:
youth are not to be trusted, and
coercion and punishment are acceptable means
of solving problems.

In response to this little-known atrocity,
a reader entitled, `Teenage Lobotomy: A
Zine about the Institutionalization of Youth'
is being created to educate people about
behavior modification programs, and to offer
constructive alternatives for helping
youth without denying their freedom and
individuality. It is a first step in the long
struggle to shut these types of places down,
and to encourage kids everywhere to
take control over their own lives.

Call for submissions: We need your stories!
They may include where you (or your child or friend)
were sent, specific disciplinary techniques used,
reasons for being sent away, what the staff was like,
how the experience affected you (or your child or
friend), approximate relapse rate, and legal actions
taken against the institution (if there ever were any).
We are also looking for writing on people's experiences
with traditional and alternative treatment. These
are only guidelines. You may tell your story in words,
pictures, or any form of communication that will
bring your experience to life.
Submissions should be less than three pages and
received before March 15, 2005.
-------------
This reader is being compiled by two teenage artists and
writers- Nick, who was locked up in the Family Foundation
School in New York, Second Nature Wilderness Program
in Utah, and Saint Paul's Prep School in Arizona, and his
close friend Sarah.
Contact us at:
Nick- mindweller@yahoo.com
Sarah- orangescum@yahoo.com
3706 72nd Street # 5H
Jackson Heights, New York 11372
====================================

Resources for Runaways - by the Dispossessed Network

Every year around 30,000 run-aways enter New York City,
fleeing emotional, sexual or physical abuse, dysfunctional
families or foster homes, seeking an authentic life outside
of soul-killing strip-malls, mind-numbing schools, and
oppressive homogenous communities.

Unfortunately, many runaways will find themselves at the mer-
cy of criminal exploiters, unsympathetic law enforcement or
religious fanatics who prey on desperate minors as they flood
through Port Authority. As anarchists we must reach out to those
who are fleeing the myriad suburban nightmares disguised as
the American Dream. This brief article intends to provide some
guidance to both runaways and those who seek to help them.
Being a runaway is not a crime in New York (nor in 40 other
states), but simply a `status offense', meaning that it will not be
brought to an adult court, but sent to juvenile court. In reality,
cops are usually not concerned with runaways unless they break
the law. Technically, parents or guardians can file a petition in
Family Court to return juveniles to their homes. It is not explic-
itly against the law to harbor a runaway, but it is against the law
to `endanger a juvenile'- a law which could be used against those
housing juvenile runaways.
Current New York State Law states that a youth can leave home
without their parent's permission after age 16. If you can support
yourself, you are essentially emancipated, although that doesn't
mean you are legally eligible to sign contracts such as leases or
even job contracts. There is no official emancipation. The term
`emancipated' means that runaways are eligible for a variety of
benefits and services from government and private organiza-
tions, including food stamps, health insurance, and other serv-
ices.

To get services for a runaway, or if you are a runaway, contact:

The Dispossessed Network:
an anarchist collective helping `urban nomads' (train-
hoppers, crusty kids, teenage runaways, travelers, etc.)
get access to social services in New York City
Email: dispossessednet@mutualaid.org
Phone: 1-800-MY-YAHOO
Voice Mail: URBAN NOMAD (872-266-6623)
(Please leave a message and a way to contact you back)
*
Safe Horizons Streetwork Project:
working to give homeless and disenfranchised youth
an opportunity to reclaim themselves a sense of dignit
and self-worth, providing an array of services includ-
ing individual counseling, crisis intervention, access to
medical and psychiatric care, hot meals, showers, and
emergency shelter. Services are offered in a support-
ive and non-judgmental atmosphere that encourages
young people to take what they need at their own pace
Streetwork Midtown Drop-In Center:
545 Eighth Avenue 22 floor
Phone: 212-695-2220
Hours: M, T, Th, F 11am-
4pm, Sat & Sun 12pm-4pm
evening groups as well
Streetwork Lower East
Side Drop-In Center
33 Essex St
Phone: 646-602-6404
Hours: T, W, Th 2pm-
7pm, F 12:30pm-5pm
evening groups as well
*
Greyhound Lines `Home Free':
provides free one-way transportation be-
tween any two points in the continental
US for runaways returning home.
AT&T `Family Connections':
allows runaways to make free long dis-
tance calls to services and families- call
the operator and say you want to use
"AT&T Family Connections."
*
Planned Parenthood Project Street Beat
a program that serves the teens, women,
and men who live and work on the streets
of NYC. With its mobile medical unit
and 6 vans, it offers free of charge: food,
clothing, and "dignity packs" containing
personal hygiene items, condoms and
HIV education, testing, and counseling,
sexual and reproductive health services.
349 East 149th St, 3rd Floor, Bronx
Tel: (212) 965-4850
1406 Fulton St, Building D,Brooklyn
Tel: (718) 783-7100
180 West 135th St, Room 417, Harlem
Tel: (212) 926-2707
*
The Door:
a youth development agency, offering unique and
highly effective programs for young people 12-21,
that are based on a holistic and human approach
that helps each individual member to dismantle
the complex barriers that often stand in the
way of success. Services include primary
health care, prenatal care and health education,
mental health counseling, legal services, GED,
ESL, computer classes, tutoring and homework
help, college preparation and computer classes,
career development services and training, job
placement, daily meals, arts, sports and
recreational activities.

The Door: 555 Broome Street between Varick
Street and Avenue of the Americas.
Contact: (212) 941-9090, www.door.org
Hours: Monday - Thursday: 2:00 - 8:30,
Friday : 2:00 - 6:00, Saturday : 10:00 - 4:00


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