Rolling Stone

Élan School


POLAND, MAINE 1970–2011

At one of the nation’s most notorious therapeuti­c boarding schools, students endured strict rules, humiliatin­g punishment­s, and “attack therapy,” which uses confrontat­ion as treatment. In socalled General Meetings, students would take turns berating one person about their flaws. In 1982, 15-year-old Phil Williams Jr. died of a brain aneurysm after reportedly being forced to box another student. No charges were filed in his death. Élan shut down in 2011, after a Reddit thread of abuse allegation­s went viral. The school’s owner blamed the online campaign, which she called “false attacks,” for the school’s declining enrollment and financial problems.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States