Florida District V task force, chaired by J.B. Holley, District Mental Health Specialist wrote a report of their findings on January 11, 1978 from their November 1977 – January 1978 investigation of Straight Inc. in response to community concerns about the Straight, Inc. program.
Interview with ‘Client C’:
Program Dates: Prior to January 11, 1978
Exited program: prior to completion.
‘Client C’ states that even though he was court ordered to the program, it was his idea to try the Straight, Inc. program. The report does not state whether or not the court order took place after a month of being in the program like many of the the others, so whether the court order came before or after he was in the program is unclear.
‘Client C’ stated that he signed a paper agreeing to follow the rules. He did not receive a copy of the foster home standards, but stated that the foster home he was in was good.
He stated that there were mandatory exercises.
He stated that he did not attend academic classes.
‘Client C’ Saw Kids Kicked, Dragged, Kneed in the Chest and Slapped in the Face
He said that he was both physically and verbally abused by both staff and kids. He saw kids kicked and dragged, kneed in the chest, and slapped in the face.
Meals were not withheld but drinks were if he was caught drinking from a faucet in the bathroom.
He was never isolated but knows of a girl who was tied up for most of one day, and another kid was rolled up in a sheet for several hours.
He felt that staff was fair to some people but not consistent.
He felt that half of the staff was concerned and that some were knowledgeable. But he felt that Jim Hartz was not qualified and that Helen Petermann was “two-faced.” Overall the staff was not very often available for discussing problems.
He basically felt that the program was OK, but that it was not being run right, that they should not expect so much of the kids, and should show more empathy. He no longer wants help from Straight and felt that he was held against his will by both staff and the other kids.