Drug Rehabs That Keep Patients Addicted- For Insurance Money…Yeah Its Real. Real Pathetic.


It’s Almost Too Nasty To Be Real…


If I told you just a few of the horror stories of drug rehabs and the goings on in there you may think I was crazy. I am speaking truth and this pitiful example is just one of hundreds or more of centers just in Florida that are either serving up heroin to their addicts or doing anything to keep billing insurance.

I’ll be posting some other examples and sadly most are in my home state of Florida but it does happen everywhere. Click the blue link to see the scumbag of the year .



So You Need Help For Yourself Or Your Child? What Next? Let Me Share A Critical Mistake Most Make When Seeking Help…( Mental Health & Addictions)

dont wait
So – you finally realized life is not what you expected or even what it once was. You are going to get that child with Ad-Hd some help and NOW! Or maybe you are ready to deal with your depression now, your anxiety, or PTSD. Whatever the case is almost everyone is totally lost when it comes to what type of help to seek who to seek it from and whether or not things like medicine should be involved. Most people pick providers like they pick apples at the supermarket. If it looks ok, go for it.
I cannot tell you how many lives that method has RUINED! You cannot just ” pick ” a counselor, therapist, doctor, coach, or any other professional out of a hat and expect results. Let me give you a dose of reality and also explain why I do what I do.
Take a look at the alphabetical list below. Those are all different types of therapy that therapists and doctors use. You literally are playing Russian Roulette when you just ” pick one”.
The reason I have been able to help people get better fast is simple, I know what they need for their specific issues. I outline a specific plan of action for you or your child. I make sure you are not opening a can of worms you will regret. The number 1 mistake in this area by the way is to jump right into a psychiatrist because you heard on Oprah that your kid must have Ad-Hd or some other disorder. You have no clue that when you leave that office you or your child will be the proud owners of mental health labels that will follow you for life. Not even to mention the types of drugs you or your child may be loaded down with.
So what I do for you is very simple but it saves you much heartache, and thousands of wasted dollars. I have worked for 20 years with all types of therapists and doctors -I know how it works. I also counsel and coach when appropriate for the situation but for anyone and everyone I help them get the appropriate services that will produce results.
Do you have any idea over my career how many crying mon’s have told me of all the different things they have tried and all the meds and all the ” recommendations” from friends? Leave the friends for Board Games and do not play with your own or your child’s mental health.
You have 2 choices. Look below and close your eyes then put your finger on one of the hundreds of types of therapeutic methods and find someone to go to.
Your next option is to contact me before you do ANYTHING. I will work with you on a custom treatment plan that matches your needs. That’s it! It is that cut and dry. Gamble or get better. First come first serve.

For help now contact me at tjpetri16@gmail.com and put HELP in the subject. Leave your best contact info. I will be in touch. If it is a real emergency and you need an answer today you can call me directly 386-675-7549 – leave a message and I will get back asap. So there are your 2 choices. I have done my part – now its up to you…





One Of The Worst Best Kept Secrets In The World…Many First Responders – Kill Themselves.

This is such long overdue information. It’s a shame that society expects first responders to be exempt from traumatic shock and mental illmess. It needs to be addressed.


Another Body … Just Another Bum.. A Drunk Most Likely… Should Have Made A Life For Himself. Right? No. That Could Be Us…. { Turning The Corner- Don’t Label My Kid! Lets Do It!} 2017- Taking It Up A Level..We Need Each Other..

Mental Health. Looks like this pretty much , right?  I took this picture 2 days ago. You know why? I assumed when I contacted the law to pick the body up they may want some documentation of when and where I found the guy.  Not that its any big deal, I see these bums all day long here in Daytona. Heck You and me could have ended up like that if we didn’t make the right choices, right? Whatever. Who are we kidding. But for the grace of God, there goes me.

In this case I got to walk away feeling better then I initially thought. You see, when I realized he was stiff, and smelled bad I just instinctively went to see if he had any ID to give the law. I was quite shocked when he about jumped when my hand touched his jacket pocket. He was alive! Sort of. Mike, as I later learned was his name was so scared I came to hurt him that he was shaking, I sat down with him and told him it was all good and I help people like him. I am a social worker. I help all people. No matter the age, race, issues, addictions, etc.

I know you cant see all that well in this picture as far as his age and all, but after we had talked awhile he shared a little about his life. Take a guess as to his age? Just do it, ball park.

Mike is 51.

I was able to offer him some options that he never knew were there. I know because that is my gift. We all have gifts, and in my case I have the ability to identify what people need to make their situation the very best it can be. I have done it for my entire career as a clinical social worker. I have worked with teens, parents, mental health patients, addicted folks, poverty stricken, violent people, even the most seriously developmentally disabled people in the world, literally. I have been called on to improve the quality of life for those who are deaf, dumb, blind, and aggressive. Can you imagine? The people in that arena that I ran programs for were abused so badly as babies that even though many were born ” normal” they had some of the most evil parents and caregivers you could imagine. Tossed in dumpsters as babies left to die, left on the hot Florida beaches as infants simply because the mom or dad was too lazy to bring them to a fire station or another outlet who would gladly have taken them in.

I started a school for 60 felons, ages 11-18. Gang members, 12 year old kids running crack at 3am on school days for their own parents. I lived for 5 years with 45 teens who were sexually abused very severely. Every group of people I worked with I was so thankful to have a God given gift to see through the outside and meet the true need on the inside. Now, before anyone thinks I am bragging – it could not be further from the truth. I am so  ” ungifted ” in some areas that men should be – lol- I remember a time when I had my young boys with me in my truck and I noticed my wipers were bad. I could not see through them. I stopped at the Auto Zone , ordered up 2 wipers in a manly voice…and spent the next 30 minutes in the parking lot trying to figure out how to put the blades on until my 7 year old son took pity on me. He installed them in 5.

new life

If you have followed me long you will note that although I share my personal struggles, and trials, I have never laid out an ” I love me post” about my accomplishments in my gifts. One reason is because I realize it is a gift. I can help anyone, in any situation, no matter what the circumstances. I just don’t feel comfortable bragging about something that I was given. Oh, believe me – I can hang with the best of the braggers. I have the degrees, the awards and all that jazz. I could not even tell you where any of them are right now. I don’t care. I care about educating people and helping them save time, money and stress.

What I love most about what I do is I know every single job duty all those people and more have. But I don’t have to become each one. I sure can steer you to who will actually help you and who wants your money. I can tell you that in many cases I have not been able to get to the parent or family in time before they got taken for a ride to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars and more. That’s the reason I am so determined to hold providers of mental health, addictions, behavioral health, and juvenile delinquents accountable for what they do. I know what they should be doing – but you don’t. I am not a psychiatrist, but if you have ever read my home page ” mental heath- its a crazy business” you know I do not mince words. Why? I know the truth.. Do want to know how many doctors or psychologists, psychiatrists have written me nasty letters over the 4 years I have been slamming them? ZERO.

I am sharing this for a reason. I am hanging my shingle again. For 4 years I have poured my heart out on here about my entire life. Its time to help you all get to where you need and want to be. And I am asking you to trust your family or personal needs into my care. I make the same promise I have kept my entire career. I will NEVER leave you broken. An I will certainly never leave you broke.  I don’t discharge my families when they go through a rough patch financially. I love using my gift. You may have noticed I have never taken a dime for any thing here, I do not sell ads like some. This audience that you all are was hand picked. I have never connected to the internet, other then this WordPress sight.

Last check this blog has had visitors from 65 countries ( that I know of ) and followers from at least 25 that I know of. That’s not my doing. It is no accident. You all are here for a reason. I am here to help.

When Mike Carey came along and was willing to join with this mission, I was and still am ecstatic. Why? Because Mike and I share a similar passion. We both love to use our gifts to help others. We both will never leave anyone hanging until they are well.  I am gong to show you a real life example of how God has already used Mike in my own family. Most of you know I have 2 grown boys, and 2 baby girls. Well, babies to me, they are 5 & 10.

This is my baby Shelbi..

My baby had 72 sticks with a needle that her doctor insisted on to test for allergies. For nothing. Next up he said – blood work! No. No way.. But what can I do? Better late then never – I called our resident gifted man in the healing of diseases. He said ” you took her where” ? ( made me feel even lower lol) –  No more he said , get her on the phone with me tonight for a minute or two. I was thinking to myself-  Hello!! What was I thinking? Tonight Shelbi said hello to Mr. Mike for about 2 minutes, and 10 minutes later he says ” oh she has some poisoning in her system and a viral infection. Go to your local health food store and get 2 items ( like 5 bucks each) and in 7 days it will be gone.

HUH?? What? Why did I forget the other people I have sent to him who had major diseases go away? Anyways no blood work and that’s  Mikes gift.


If you need physical healing – take advantage of  this gift right in front f you . If its healing in any other area, call on me. I work on a case by case basis, until the job is done. I want you all to take this email address down.

Dontlabelmykid2@gmail.com – to help with Tj-

that is your direct line to me. I will be adding a toll free number as well but for now get me there. I will develop with you what I call a  “Plan of Care ”

There is NO issue you can throw at me that I havent done a hundred times. Confidentially we will put it all in place and work it out financially It sure would make me feel good if you all would entrust your needs to Mike and I. I thank you in advance . .


With all we are trying to accomplish through this platform of Don’t Label My Kid!  It would really make a big difference if you all would commit to utilizing the gifts that Mike and  I have- for your own family. so that we can keep on helping others and continue trying to do what we do ..put pedophiles away -heal families -help addicts-  bring families together and just grow spiritually , emotionally and physically.

God Bless you all . Please Step up for this..


ADDICTIONS 2017- Any Truth To This? I Think So..

Alcoholics dont have to be found on the side of the road homeless and passed out. Alcoholics come in white collar too..

Its just more evidence that the disease does not discriminate.


 Roses Are Red, Opiates Are Blue -“Go Treat That Addiction” They Say! – “But My Counselors Haven’t A Clue!”

If you’ve ever wondered why I keep pushing for services for everyone and talking about providing treatment that actually does something besides make the providers rich,  and keep talking about providing virtual services and all those things today is your day. You are in for a rare treat, ESPECIALLY if you or a loved one has seemed to be stuck in an addiction cycle forever.

Never in my 23 years as a social worker working with addicts and in mental health or behavioral health,   have I ever been so blessed as I was today to be able to share this with you; actual documented of how truly stupid our whole system is when it comes to addictions treatment. It’s almost hard for me to believe. What you’re looking at is a post on LinkedIn by a clinician that works in addictions. She says ( I am paraphrasing)

“I have this client and he’s like this and this and this anyone got any advice on what to do with him?” I was reading going –No, lady but you should! You are the ” specialist”

You’ll notice it says 83 comments. Out of 83 comments I think they were over 70 opinions from clinicians and doctors and addiction specialists giving opinions on what she might do. Actual opinions suggesting a certain diagnoses and even treatment recommendations.They have never met him don’t know anything about him and they’re recommending their brand of treatment.

Nobody should be publicly posting that type of information to begin with. It would be easy to track the kid down just by where she works, and a little homework. So if you had it in your family or a friend or you are an addict not everybody thinks that you’re crazy. If you’re an addict- I know the truth and there are lots of people who are trying to come forward and help an addict so they can get effective treatment.

It is bad enough that people seem to think addiction is a hobby like golf  – but they don’t even get the fact that just as diabetes is a disease, so is addiction. Would you go to the cancer unit at a major hospital and start yelling at all the patients to ”  snap ” out of it ? Of course not. The families of addicts do it each day. To make things worse, nobody seems to know how to treat it..

I wonder how those people would respond if I told them that about 10% of addicts in treatment right now are doctors…

Personally I was invited to meet with a major insurer in July to be considered in a joint partnership to build treatment centers using my model of care. I am doing all I can to bring awareness to the terrible system we live in. If you have read my home page  ” mental health its a crazy business” you know that this same problem exists there too. Basically whoever or whatever company is getting paid to ” treat ‘ ( its hard to even call it that) patients in addictions and mental health facilities get paid their 50-100k per bed no matter of the patient does better or not..

Forbes Says Treatment Sucks ( In Forbe-Speak)

I want you to keep this in mind every time you want to judge anybody who can’t seem to shake an addiction. Don’t you think they would like to get better instead of being stuck in hell while everyone around them shouts how they should ” try ” harder! Excuse me, but try harder at what?  As you can see the ones supposed to be teaching addicts how to try don’t know themselves! Sad.

Lets hope this momentum keeps up where people are starting to open their mouths like Forbes…






Addiction Series 2017-The Pain Of The Addict .

One of the  most difficult things that the addict has to deal with is the pain and suffering that go along with others judging you. It’s enough struggle to try and get yourself recovered and free of a bondage. When you have your family and friends around you who are apathetic or even judgmental of you while you’re giving a hundred percent inside it’s torture. The truth is that a non addict has no clue what an addict goes through when trying to be free. It’s a living hell that most non-addicts would probably fail at immediately. But an addict whose continually tried to make progress and move forward with all of his or her heart will not likely give up even with the pain. 

There is a point however where everything seems so dark and so hopeless that even most solid person who is trying to be free from an addiction cannot see any light or any hope. This is when it’s so critical that the support system is not only not judgemental but becomes the support system for them to move forward. 

It’s one thing if an addict has no desire or makes no effort to become free. It’s a whole different ballgame when you’re by yourself trying to accomplish something that is almost impossible and you’re only support system is pointing fingers or speaking negative things about you.If you are a family member or friend of an addict currently trying to get free the last thing you should be doing is judging them or telling  them to snap out of it. The best thing you can do is surround them with support and hope and help them with a hand up into the next step of the recovery process. Since you likely have no clue what it feels like it’s absolutely unfair for you to say anything about how they feel.

Thats all for today. Thats a major issue. So let it sink in and evaluate yourself as a support. 

Killer Meds? What Are You Taking?


Not much publicity about the failure rate of psychotropic meds in mental health. However there is plenty of data out there. Which meds have you tried ? 

Bad News Everyone.   We Have All Been Taken.  …Ptsd, Bipolar, Anxiety and all the others – Dont even exist. ..Now What?

Now as we are getting closer to actually offering REAL services and REAL truth about mental illness, addiction, DSM V , psychology, psychiatry, PTSD , ADHD, and every other issue affecting us all, I need to recap a few issues. 

The beliefs  of Don’t Label My Kid! are not my opinion. Not someone’s philosophy. They are facts. Facts by way of 2 routes. 

1- I personally have lived it. 

2- I have witnessed /worked with at least 500 people in any given duagnoses who have been treated -and documented results. .

The next issue can easily be misinterpreted, so please be careful in reading what I am saying .

The DSM V is the Bible of psychiatry. As you know each of us who has been tagged with a label has been tagged by criteria from this book. 

The acronym actually is for Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental health disorders. 

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Book by American Psychiatric Association).


Here is something quite surprising to many. The book is 100℅ theory with not a shred of any statistics in it. No scientific evidence of anything other than the fact it is a money machine. 

As a matter of fact it is developed and updated every few years by psychiatrists themselves who literally meet in a group of 200 or so anonymously and make up new disorders to diagnose. They pitch an idea , take it to vote, and if  all in favor is greater, it . Dont take my word.. Watch.


Meanwhile just by sheer coincidence, lol …The big drug companies just happened to have come out with a drug to treat the new disorder. They are even allowed to pay the doctor to write patients for their new drugs. 

 What are we to do with this information?  Does this mean none of us have addiction problems or mental health issues? Of course not. It just needs to be known so people can weigh that out in their decisions to take meds, see a psychiatrist or psychologist or neither. 

Very few parents I’ve worked with knew the difference between  the two professions. 

Another issue is psychotropic medication. I’ve been on 15-20 or so. When I went to investigate who makes them and what proof they could provide that they were effective, I was amazed at what i found..

1st- clinical studies- which are supposed to be mandatory for new drugs are both deceiving and sometimes non-existent. The  FDA is supposed to gate-keep,  but they have very loose rules. 

2- Big pharma is a Billion dollar industry. Not only do they put out drugs that have never shown any real success, but they even seem to mock the victims of their failed drugs. 

 For example about 2 years ago, one of the mega drug companies issued a public statement regarding  some of the antidepressants they had on the market for teens with major depression/suicidal thoughts. 

They announced that they were sorry to announce that 12/13 of the  drugs they marketed to those teens not only did  NOT work, but CAUSED suicidal thoughts. Oops.. .

You would think they would do something right? Nope. They stll sell the same drugs today. 

When I read all of your  comments there is a common theme. Whether it be PTSD or depession/suicidal thoughts , most of you are dissatisfied with any treatment you have attempted. This does not have be the case. 

 What we are doing as a group is using our numbers and experiences on this platform to get effectve treatmenr from successful providers who will not just provide services for us, but effective and individual services with results. 

Here is the point we all need to get . 

Regardless of how we all feel about the DSM or psychiatry in general. 


It is man made. You are not. You do not have to stay where you are.

Some of you have absolutely decided to live out the prophecy given to you by some doctor. Get over that .

 Dont let the tail wag the dog. Yes the symptoms are real. Yes they affect you. Stop there and start joining us who are trying to move forward. The worst thing people can do is get involved in groups where people sit around and talk about how miserable their lives are because of their disorder. 

Thats why AA and NA have 20% success rates. When I had to go to AA for 30 days in my 30’s – I had to down a 12 pack in the parking lot just to get through it.

We need real help with real results. Thats what we are about. Not learning to drag labels around through our lives. OK? 

Thats what I do. I have worked with the best. I have started my own programs  with great success. If I wasn’t sure all of you could get better I would not have wasted 4 years writing 400 articles. 

Oh and just FYI, you know just by my homepage how hard  I am on drug makers and doctors who exploit people that don’t need meds or labels. I called them out right from the start. How many arguments do you think I have received from doctors or therapists or drug makers?


Now onto solutions. 

As of yesterday I have an investor interested  awaiting some data and things from us.  If it looks good he is willing to help us provide services                  INTERNATIONALLY! 

He needs some data obviously before dropping serious cash . 

1-One issue is what types of disorders are affecting the most people.Please note in a comment or reply to a post the name or names of the disorder you or your loved one struggles with. You need not tell details just the name for data collection.

2- If anyone here is an expert in fundraising or knows a philanthropic person interested in treatment please contact me asap.If you have other ways to raise funds quickly let me know. Crowdfunding or whatever. Investors dont pay for the expenses of getting the plan together. 

It’s going to be about 10k to pay the experts to design the things we need Develop and present business plan. . Web design, languages,  marketing, and consulting. When that is secured and the others are done we can possibly be able to initiate services worldwide. Let’s just start by using the resources you have. Things work out for us when we pull together. 

OK ,keep doin what we do!  Don’t forget to add in the type of disorder you or your family member deals with..Also I recently started a Facebook Group called Break Through. Sign in as a member there as well.! 


 Facebook Users Need Addiction and Behavioral Health Treatment too..Big Time..Let’s Bring Them Home..

Dont Label My Kid! Will Be Offering Services For Everyone Soon. 

Facebook Alone Has 50k people seeking treatment. You all can be a resource to them by reaching out to the groups , people you know on FB. As it has been here for the four years we’ve been in existence,  we as a group are going to establish and  initiate a major change and offer resources for people like us who need help but couldn’t find it  As mentioned earlier I’ve already talked to providers that have experienced success the way that we know it needs to be and are interviewing and in the process of inserting them into our group. Then we can reach out to them and anybody else. Folks you and I know there’s reasons for the failure rate in treatment one of the major reasons is that there’s not any input from the actual client you and I need to be having input that’s what makes success the other component is individualized care and treatment per person no cookie-cutter method that’s what we’re going to bring..Please reach out to your Facebook friends and let tht of us already know the success rates of rehabs are  about 30% which is pathetic but most of the rest of the world doesn’t. We need to let them know to come to us so we can give them hope that they will get a higher percent of success rate.  That’s what this is about . Connect them to follow us or give them my email.  tim@dontlabelmykid.com

⚫ Facebook Needs Addiction and Behavioral Health Professionals..We can do it. I  have never been more serious and any post of ever written out of 400 on this Blog then I am right now if you’ve ever been to rehabs that have failed and been through withdrawals and suffering and misery and depression save some of these people from that and bring him to us so we can get him some real help. Will you get a chance to make a major difference in the direction of a treatment in an entire system United States and even the world we have that opportunity right now and just like always I want all of us to be included it’s not about me it’s about all of us helping us and everybody else too.

 if you don’t know anybody in Facebook below is a list of I believe over 40,000 people in nine different groups you could contact the leaders of the groups and let him know that we are here.


Junkie Reunion! Party Is Started! BYOC (bring your own critics)….


In case anybody missed the last post I’m going to repeat one more time who should and who should not be here. This is about the real deal of addiction this isn’t a cookie-cutter 12-step program that you go in and stay sober for a month and then relapse. It’s not about some special Supernatural therapy that you get better overnight and it’s not about any hypnotism. It’s for people that have been through things like I’ve been through withdrawals rehabs rehabs again failures success failures and finally find a road in the right direction .It’s a damn shame that a disease forces us to be guinea pigs. We can send somebody to the moon we can make more progress in this.

Just as important as that – you invite your family friends and anybody who you know that is not an addict and make them aware and involved in this series because they are a huge part of your success and recovery. There are  two things I’m going to make sure you understand if you’re an addict reading this. Number one you have a disease .

Nobody goes to the cancer wards and commands everybody to get out of their bed and get cured and just snap out of it,  so nobody should come to you in command you to snap out of it. 

The second thing is is that your support system is everything to your recovery negative reinforcement from family friends non-addicts people have no clue what you going through does nothing but dig a deeper hole for you. The way to remedy that is to educate them on the truth of what comes out of their mouth and I’m here to do that if you’re willing to invite them to be involved in the series that’s your call.

With that said if you are willing to do all it takes to get better you should be here if you’re not interested in getting your disease managed then you shouldn’t be here. Much of the failure rate of addiction treatment has to do with  groups like AA and NA type support systems.Imagine if you had a full-time job and everyday when you got into work you had to recite I am powerless over this job and I have no ability in my own power to do it and then you sit down and discuss how you would overcome it. That’s why groups like that have an embarrassing rate of long-term success. I’m not saying there’s no place for these groups. I’m saying that’s not for treatment and many times it ends up as a giant pity party that never ends. 

 This whole series is designed to walk through the different stages  of addiction  frustration failure  low self-esteem  and ultimately recovery. Every one of us has walked through different stages at different times with different support groups and different circumstances so it’s imperative that we interact with each other. It’s not a time to sit back and just rehash it over and over. This is a real deal where there’s real results- there’s going to be people involved in here that are experts that actually have results.

 Anybody that’s involved in this series are  people that have lived it, and in some cases are service providers as well  People that offer their input or services are only people that have been handpicked by me because of their success rate and because of the philosophy that we all understand that there is no cookie-cutter method to fix it all.There are a few successful treatment centers around and we’re going to be focusing a lot on similar philosophies but we’re also going to do a little bit of educating to support family and friends who are unaware of the impact  that  commanding people to snap out of it,  grow up you have kids get a job when they have no idea what the hell you’re going through. It maybe a little  down and dirty at times and that’s just fine. After all we all need a little checkup from the neck up on occasion. 

 we’re not dogs so I won’t be heading out any chips and you won’t have to stand up and make any statements all I ask is that you include any experiences that are pertinent to our conversation so that everybody can benefit.

I actually had an entire other post to prevent next but as I was looking at today’s news I couldn’t help but post this next one first. It is a perfect example of complete ignorance and setting up for failure and even death for a struggling addict. 

By the way these post will be in between all the other posts we talk about on other subjects, but they will be ongoing so stay tuned If you have any input on any subjects that you wanted to discuss feel free to leave comments or email .I’m open 

 and for those who follow me and her not in this particular category but have other issues or problems you stay with us because there’s going to be topics discussed on any area we need to talk about and anybody that is an expert that I’ve invited in to talk or help is somebody I have talked to and know that they have success. this isn’t just about addiction we’re just starting out with addiction and it doesn’t have to be to drugs or alcohol. so right now I’m going to ask you to please think of anybody in your family friends and Muse people that are armchairs sponsors or judge you invite him to participate or at least read and I would welcome any questions everybody in the support system needs to be on the same team because the centers that are out there right now are not going to do it for you.

Does it matter how we “fix” kids, as long as they get “fixed” ?

Readers, here is an article written by a 19-year-old who describes his feelings about 2 different ways of bringing control and a sense of respect into one that was previously “out of control”- Read this carefully and then I will follow with my feelings, having done both with the same success rate, but with a very different looking-glass I see! Please read.

toughlove There is an age-old debate when it comes to schooling and parenting. Should we discipline children by enforcing punishment and obedience, or raise them through respect and understanding? I am about to share how one principal walks the first path, while another embraced the second. Our first principal is Dave Derpak. He took over Killarney Secondary School in Vancouver, Canada, in the summer of 2010. Vandalism, false fire alarms, locker break-ins and drug deals were common before his arrival. However, as of 2013, suspensions and absenteeism are down 30 percent, late arrivals dropped by 39 percent, the graffiti is gone and the prank fire alarms have all but stopped. Many are crediting Derpak for the betterment of the school, but how did he accomplish such a feat? In an article on The Globe and Mail.com, Derpak explained:

The students have to feel like you’re always watching. You have to play on the kids’ emotions. If you bring order to a place of chaos, my theory is, the rest will follow.”

 Each day, Derpak and his two vice-principals scoured the hallways, keeping in touch via walkie-talkies and developing code names for different parts of the school. Surveillance cameras were installed throughout the school. Derpak gained the support of students by buying sweatshirts for the girls’ hockey team and offering $500 to anybody who pointed out rule-breakers. One local school-board member commented, “He knows those kids. He knows their stories. He knows what they’re doing this weekend.”

Whether or not you agree with Derpak’s methods, let us look at our second principal, Jim Sporleder. His school, Lincoln High, was much like Killarney Secondary. In fact, one can argue it was worse. While Killarney is the largest secondary school in Vancouver, Lincoln High School is an alternative school where many of the students have come from places where they had been expelled. Gangs controlled the building, and many of the students have suffered from emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Despite these odds, Sporleder and his staff achieved an 85% drop in suspension rates, while cutting expulsions and written referrals by half. What may come as a surprise to most, is that Sporleder did not need cameras, bribery, sedatives, policemen, or SWAT team tactics. No, his methods are quite the opposite. Sporleder’s approach can be gauged through the following scenario. A student dropped the F-bomb towards a teacher and was sent to Sporleder for discipline. The kid had his defences ready for the usual, “How could you do that? What’s wrong with you?” and the boot out of school. Instead, what the teen received was kindness. “Wow. Are you OK? What’s going on? This doesn’t sound like you,” Jim Sporleder said. The teen’s calloused demeanour dropped, where he admitted his aggression stemmed from his alcoholic father’s broken promises. After he got a minor consequen(or punishment, depending on how you define the two words) befitting his menial ‘crime,’ the student apologized to his teacher on his own, without prompting from Sporleder. How often does a troubled student apologize without being forced to, and actually mean it? I believe it’s when they are helped to understand where their ce hostility stems from. “It sounds simple,” says Sporleder about his approach. “Just by asking kids what’s going on with them, they just started talking.” In the end, both principals achieved their goals. Derpak got his quiet school through fear and punishment, while Jim Sporleder got there with patience and communication. Many say that it doesn’t matter how an authority figure attains his or her goals, so long as the ends justify the means. In my opinion, the disparity between Dave Derpak and Jim Sporleder makes all the difference. One school has a totalitarian atmosphere where students feel like they’re potential criminals, while the other gives youth the trusting relationships that many of them never had. If all adults treated kids the way Sporleder does, perhaps many children wouldn’t rebel, because they would have nothing to rebel against. Unfortunately, that is not the way of our world. The words below come from one of Dave Derpak’s supporters, and they echo the sentiments held by most citizens:

“Whatever pyschobabbler invented the terms ‘self-esteem’, ‘student lead parent interviews’, ‘fuzzy math’, touchy-feely, rubrics not grades et al wouldn’t last a day in this school. Tough love does tame a blackboard jungle. It is so inspiring to see a principal willing to throw out all of the worst education fads. They must come to the realization that our young people should be disciplined in just this manner. Tough but fair. Its the only way to get a handle on the problems that were plaguing the school. Kudos to all principals who are enlightened enough to set aside all the (teacher union and school board) claptrap so these kids will stand a solid chance of landing a good education. Then they can move on to greater and better things in their lives.”

At the risk of sounding like a “pyschobabbler,” I disagree completely. Zero-tolerance is the opposite of fairness and no study has shown that a “might makes right” approach improves education. “Tough love” is for those who choose punishment over discipline because they’re too lazy or ignorant to explain anything. If all schools were run on empathy, kids might actually want to attend classes. Until then, I wish for schools worldwide to practice Sporleder’s approach, if only for a month. Luke Dang, 19, was expelled from school when he was 14. He now spends his time writing about youth rights, teenage depression, and compulsory schooling. He works at EQI.org

So there it is, straight from the mouth of a 19-year-old.

The two sides of how two men run their shows when it comes to alternative schooling. First off  does it even matter what a teenager thinks? I think it not only matters, but is really the answer we all have been searching for, if I am correct. We want to unveil the secrets of how these kids think, yet they are typically the last ones we consult! Ok now on to the article at hand.

I like to keep my responses or writings in general on point and stay on track , and I will attempt to do so here. First off I think that results in these 2 scenarios are useless. If we are looking to find the man who can get the human to perform the way we want for the duration of high school, then in my opinion it is a pointless goal. I always went into every situation as if I was going to change a life. I always did. I am not proud of this fact though because in my early years I was the potter and kids were my clay. I got them molded into my way of looking , acting, talking, or whatever the goal was and many times under my conditions, under my guidelines and with privileges tied to my strings I was successful.

I tried very hard and meant well, but failed to keep in mind the “rest of the world” that the kids would be facing when I was not pulling the strings, and the mean world, that does not have a pill and a counselor that pop out on every corner. The result was that the kids would leave my foster home or alternative school or program with a solid foundation of social skills and maybe even a sense of right and wrong to some extent. However in some situations they faced down the road of life, they got slapped very hard by the brutal reality of a cruel and apathetic world, which they were protected from to some extent.

Some ended up looking around for a counselor or person to guide them on their every move. The clinical aspect of some projects I was involved in was almost enshrined and given a position that made it almost impossible for the kids to function without in the real world without. No question that either way, all of the kids any of us served ended up with something they probably did not have when they came. They often came from the streets, gangs, broken homes, all of the above or whatever. Any skill set or tools they could attain would put them one step ahead of the kids they were around before.

However now I have had years to look back, and even still talk to some of the kids who lived in my group home 20 years ago.  I strongly feel a good service was done to them by pulling them out of abusive or abandoned situations. I never question that teaching them extensively how to use and understand social skills like Following Instructions . There are patterns that I see in my next 20 years of working with at risk children and their families, that evolved into more clearly directed and reality based thinking. Patterns that I learned and applied on the run as I found my way around the social worker and counselor’s pathway in the field of mental health. Many and dare I even say most of my most productive lessons that have produced fruit over the years came from a teenager I worked with. I am not discouraging higher education by any means, but as a parent and having lived more than half of my life in the mental health circles I must say my heart bleeds now a little thicker  that I have watched my own family suffer, and lived in the same places that some of the teens I worked with lived. I have known the pains of suicide in a family, and have shared in the terrible dark place of addiction with many people I love. Things change.

How this relates to the article about the two administrators is that since I have been also in the identical place they are, with the same challenges they have, I see from a unique perspective. I learn things everyday, and I do not think anyone has all of the answers. I do however firmly believe that just as I may be but a student in one field, I also may have become an “expert” in another. By expert, if you are checking my article for typos I think you may be on a different page than some of us are. I aim to please nobody, but to serve everyone in some small way and my idea of an expert is simply someone I know that has the truth about a certain situation.

This brings me a step closer to the main point and my take on the two schools. I have learned something very powerful in this world. You become much like those you spend time with. You lower the morality bar when needed, and raise it high and proud when called for, but to those we desire to be around, we will become almost anybody! The hard lesson I have learned by this truth  surfaced when I came to realize I was a pleaser. After spending a few years in shock about that, I came around to gain a valuable tool. I learned that I needed to find people who I liked and admired, and try to get as much time with them as I could! Then I might become one of them.

A person who had abandoned the temporary security of a job, or money, or pleasing all of the people all of the time, and embraced the idea of being who you are, learning all that you could learn from the people who had conquered the challenges I faced. Using the gifts you were given not the ones you wished you had. You see, jobs come and go, people come and go, money comes and goes, but the truth will always be truth. Going to bed with a clear mind and a content heart also beats laying down worrying how to be someone you are not, and how to please all the people. In some way, this all leads back to another topic, maybe not discussed as much, perhaps much more important though. That subject, is motives. Motives tell everything and leave nothing uncovered. They are the success of some and the doom for others.

This article was written by a 19-year-old. I have never met him but can safely assume from his age bracket alone that he will probably be likely to stand up for what he thinks is right and wrong. I remember when my boys were young, around 5 or 6 years old. They were so very impressionable. So trusting. If I said that the sun would leap over the giant giraffe at the zoo that night, the look in their eyes was never one of doubt, never debating in their mind as to whether I was lying or not. They trusted me. They would ask me questions like “will it hurt the giraffe?” and things that showed me they had no doubt in my word. It was good.

The other day I was talking to my youngest son Jesse about a bull riding competition he was getting ready for. For you with dropping jaws right now, the answer is yes I do let him  ride 1500 and 1800lb bulls to see how long until he gets bucked off or until he rides it out the full 8 seconds. When people ask me the”how could you let him question” on a Friday night, I usually respond with a “where is Johnny tonite” and we change topics. They do not always know where their children are, but they think I am nuts for having mine on dirt bikes at 4&6 and now bulls.

I rarely let it get to me, but if for even a milli- second I doubted myself for supporting him since age 10 doing this, one glance over at his eyes and I am fine. He is so memorized by those animals, so focused on getting the biggest baddest and meanest bull and riding it out. I know that he truly loves what he is doing. Because he loves it, he studies those that are older than him, that ride for the big buckles and in the big arenas. He has studied the safety and risk, the benefits and potential problems, and then over years, he has now decided to pursue it as a career (with a plan B of course) and a dream to chase. Jesse and I have ongoing joke about something that happened when he was about 10. For a long time, maybe two years or so, his brother Micah and I would be out at the store (usually somewhere Jesse wanted to go) and when we got to the check out counter and Jesse and Micah would put their items on the counter and then like clockwork there it was, that “look.” It was a certain type of innocent look that for almost 2 years Micah and I had fallen for since we were usually in a hurry. After the frozen look followed a light surprised “I lost it” and many frantic hand pats to check his pockets….”I lost my money!”

That was followed by a quick check of time and a “I got it Jess, just get in the truck” by me, and a head nod by his older brother. After 2 years or so, when Jesse was around 10, we had heard every possible excuse about where his money suddenly went, every story about how he would pay us back when we got in the car, because he was sure he left it there LOL! We let Jesse con us out of buying little 3-4 dollar items for a long time now, but this time was different. Looking back I do recall that 10 is right about when he met his first few cowboys and started going to rodeos, so it could have been that. Whatever it was this time was different and we all knew it. Jesse had his cowboy boots on and instead of delaying our trip by doing a 5 minute drama clip, he said nothing. He quietly walked to the register in front of us, put  down his items, pulled out his chain wallet (cowboy style) and paid the lady quickly and waited for us.

As we walked out into the parking lot, I ribbed him a little about finding his wallet, and he smiled but didn’t say much. We all just knew it, Jesse was growin up and there was not much more to it. From that time on he has never pulled the wallet trick. And I have seen many of those transitional moments where something important took place but you are not sure what! I allowed Jesse to do that for a long time with the wallet thing. I knew that I had already taught him what was right and wrong, and some would say I should have stopped it long before. I did not want to force his honesty. I was not on a power trip or an authority ride either. I was just a dad waiting to see if any of what I had sown in to the boy was going to bear fruit on its own or would I have to force the truth out of him. I was never the perfect dad, but an honest one. When I made mistakes, big or small I would come clean and do what I could to correct my wrong. I think my boys respected that. There was always a line, don’t get me wrong. Jesse and Micah did their fair share of testing my lines! However I have usually found that at the end of the day I am happy-that I let them make their own choices. Sure it was freedom within limits, and there were always things that were deal breakers no matter what the excuse. It was just nice to know that Jesse knew what was right, and at the right time, his true motives had to come out and that attempt at testing me had to go. Had I not let him have it his way for a while he would have never experienced the feeling everyone gets when they know they are not doing the right thing, but continue anyhow. Sometimes it is better to tell the truth and even if you end up on the wrong side of the story, people will usually respect you more for it. It also makes you human, shows that you are vulnerable , life can be tough, and even your messes can turn into messages for young kids and your failed efforts may be what a struggling teenager needs to hear at the moment in order to keep on trucking in their own situation.

In this situation as I see it, we have a thirst for power needing to be quenched no matter the cost to the child on the one side. I have said it once and maybe 1000 times if ever once, loved people love people and hurt people hurt people. You do not need to be Columbo to figure out why some people are doing the things they are. We all know about the high school football coach still working through some high school issues, acting all tough and making threats every time he can. We have all seen examples of what verbal or physical abuse does to people.Throughout my career and my life in general, I have become pretty good at identifying why people do what they do. I have met police officers who would give their lives to save another life, and I have met officers who could not wait for the moment to exercise their right to pull a gun on someone or thow them in jail. I have met the same nasty motives in every kind of person of any profession. I have seen the purest of motives very clearly, through the humility in a persons daily routine.

So if you ask me do I believe in discipline, I would prefer consequences that are natural and logical. If you ask if medicine is ok I would say if the child needs it. How about the psychobabble mentioned earlier? Well I think it is hard for a 25-year-old with no kids to advise on anything to do with  children , but sometimes a good long walk with a person who has faced similar challenges as you and beat them might be even better. What about the violent gang kids and all, they just need a good old-fashioned  whoopin, right? Probably not, but it might make the adult feel better to see it!

One time, on a project I was working on in Central Florida, I had just hired and trained a staff of about 30 teachers, 10 therapists, 10 assistants, and maybe 10 others to work with the most “violent and aggressive” teens in the state I was told. After a stack of files a few feet thick  full of labels and diagnoses as well offenses each child had committed was placed on the conference table, I was asked by one of the highest ranking officials in the state if I could have them all read before week’s end. I glanced up at the man, and said ” I prefer not to read these unless I have to sir. He leaned over the table and whispered to me, ” these are not children here for telling lies, I would strongly recommend you become familiar with their behavioral patterns.” I said “thank you sir but I prefer they get to know mine”.

I will spare you the details, but I had just taken on the biggest challenge of my career, written a specific behavioral program based on reinforcing the positive,  where students could earn the right to see the principal by being good, not by being bad. I had just convinced all 45 staff that we would be using mostly positive comments to the students  about 10 positive to each 1 negative and also we would treat each child with the utmost respect. I had just finished a comprehensive motivation system that went against every one I had seen, it commanded respect for students while asking staff to keep all comments positive. I wrote in the program different levels of positive behavior that could EARN the kids a lunch with the principal! People thought I was nuts. As a matter of fact I had myself evaluated before implementing this! LOL!

I had a hunch. Just a hunch, that if we showed true respect and trust in these kids, and modeled for them the skill expectations, and rewarded them if they did so by getting some one on one time with me or other staff, we would see change and quick. I believed based on my experience that kids wanted the attention of any adult so badly that they would do very bad things to get a little time with anyone for a variety of reasons. On the day of orientation, my staff all stood in the corner while the six-foot something 10th graders walked by! I had to remind them that they were in charge here. It was great fun though it was a test for many, myself included. Just a hunch, I had just a hunch but I believed in it so much that it became something tangible to me and then to others. Could we take the kids, expelled from public schools, expelled then from day programs, some that we saw on the news every now and again, and make them respect us? Only if we showed them how respect tasted.

A 16-year-old boy came in (most came to orientation without parents) and he was scarred up, ink all over, and I decided to show him around. Half way through the tour, he saw pictures and plants and a well waxed floor, but no time out or restraining rooms. He asked me where all those places were. I told him that we do not have them here because we do not use them here. He stopped in his tracks as the idea sunk in then began to walk with me again, and said one sentence “Oh, so we just can’t act out here” If I yelled any louder I would have scared the boy to death! I was yelling, and telling and calling for my staff to hear what this boy just said! He got it ! He understood! The expectation was there, and it was met with a casual but amazingly powerful response!Next I wanted to really make the kids wonder. Next we showed them a nice large computer lab. Plenty for all to use, but that was not what they were thinking on that first night at orientation. The very last thing they expected for kids with their history was for anyone to trust them with anything again. We took them by surprise and assigned a computer to each one. It was a silent moment with a room full of teenagers who could not figure this out. It was easy for me, and a great investment in their lives. Maybe a chance for them to witness unconditional love, trust and respect at a time when they deserved it the very least. Have you ever felt that from anyone that you have let down? It’s an awesome feeling, a second chance on the 81st try, a new light in the dark tunnel of life. That night, on the first interaction between staff and student, I watched and breathed a sigh of relief. It was going to work. I was going to get to witness a little magic and the only price we would have to pay was giving some respect to those who did not feel they deserved it, and some trust to those who thought they had lost all rights to being trusted years ago.

Just respect and trust. It came down to those two critical components to make a huge group of failures begin to feel like winners. The kids who were so very disrespectful all the years before, were now being treated as if it all never happened.

We had 90 kids and about 85% success rate. The school district superintendent called us Stonehenge, he did not understand how it worked, but saw that it did. I was even nominated for school district administrator of the year my first year! Kids were returning to their schools using words like “yes sir” and “thank you”. Amazing job my staff did and those kids did as well. It took everyone but it worked.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Even if you have 50 links, they have to all give what they can.

Shortly after our first year I noticed the company I worked with to do this project was asking lots of questions about what we did, and suddenly wanted my written plan and numbers of students transitioning back to their zoned schools and all these details. I did not mind that part, but there was something missing. They were not happy for the kids, and the way they had turned themselves around. As a matter of fact they seemed disturbed.

It was just a few days later when I became disturbed. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew what I was doing was right. The district was all over it, nothing but rave reviews from parents and everyone. Everyone, except the people in south Florida in the accounting department. They were losing money to the tune of 18 thousand dollars per year for each child we sent back to their zoned school. You know I was going to finish that story, but just cannot let what was a very sweet victory for those kids go out on a downer here. The point I really need to emphasize here, is that it is possible to take the kids with the worst background on paper you may have ever seen, and using a few simple tools begin to give them new hope.

It has been done and will be done over and over again, providing that every staff member is on board with the theory. That the staff know it may mean total humiliation on their part to make a point to a hardened heart. It would mean even if they did not understand the vision, they trusted the leader. Staff that could get to watch miracles happen, so long as they were ok with getting their “hands dirty”so to speak. When it comes right down to it, we end up back at motives again.

People in the human services profession in general should never choose that option if there may be an issue with why they are doing the job. Policeman, teachers, therapists, and many other positions of authority are unusually affected if they have impure motives. The teachers that steal a child’s trust away by committing an inappropriate act, the policeman who has power/ego problems. They are everywhere. In every profession there are the true and the counterfeit. Try to find the ones who make it obvious they will do whatever it takes to change a life. Look for the ones with the glimmer in their eye when you even talk about what good may come out of this. Identify the rare trait of humility, the guys who do not have an ” I love me wall” in their office. Humility can easily copied, but never duplicated. The less people talk about themselves the more I want to know. If people are too busy patting themselves on the shoulder, what makes you think they will make time for you to have the one left? I do not really know the two men that are running these 2 schools. I have never met them. I would be interested in seeing some of the fruit of their labors. More importantly, and my final answer, is that there is respect and trust shown, and that lives are being changed. Lives, not temporary behavioral modifications. Thats not hard at all. What trumps all other victories, is when you see that the child you have invested in is now investing that into someone else. if you have a goal to “get them through” high school, I think its unfair to the student. If you have a goal to teach them life skills and how to use them in everyday living, then you can actually begin to teach kids. After all, that is why we came, is it not? To teach things? Teach the unteachable to learn, 

and teach him to give and you will have invested in a life. Help a student learn to take orders to get through a certain period in their life is not building a foundation for them. It is just a way of passing time. I still talk to many of the kids who were teens when I met them and it is always the greatest compliment when someone says that something I did changed their life. I do not hear it often, but I never forget when I do. We all make mistakes along the journey. Never let fear stop you from trying something that may turn out very good for others…after all, you would never really know unless you gave it a shot, would you?

If I had to pick based on the little I know of these two schools, I would say No to the power team, and a maybe to the other. If I were to guess who had the appropriate motives, I would say the school who has the therapist on every corner. That may come back to bite when the child hits the real world, but it seems like the hearts are good. What I would really need to know who is going to succeed on either side, is to see what both schools have incorporated into the lives of the kids AFTER they are out of school. What stays and pays dividends? You ask me, I say respect and trust must be given to be earned with these kids. I think given the right scenario anyone can change a life for 3-4 years. How many can change one forever during the 3-4 years? I want to see those kids paying for their stuff at the store because it is the right thing to do, not because they had to when at a certain school. My Jesse, and thousands of other kids I have been worked around did it! They were taught how, given the trust to know when to make a change, and made the change on their own. I hope other kids get that same chance in their educational career. Loved people love people. Hurt people should not be running children’s lives. Just my two cents.