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Youth Rebel in Costa Rica, Overthrow Gulag School

Written by NYRA May 28, 2003

The harshest institutions of youth oppression got a violent taste of youth power this week as the school’s “students rose up in revolt and overthrew their masters.” The Costa Rican school, Dundee Ranch, subjects American teens to a gauntlet of abuse and oppression to break their will and “reform” them. Students have no privacy, can’t communicate and punishments ranging from physical beatings to solitary confinement for any who break the 100-plus rules. After complaints of abuse, Costa Rican authorities visited the school. “They told us you have the right to speak, you have the right to speak to your parents, you have the right to leave if you feel you’ve been mistreated,” said Hugh Maxwell, 17, of Rhode Island. “Kids heard that and they started running for the door. There was elation, cheering and clapping and chaos.” Dundee Ranch employees beat the students to get them to stop, but many escaped and many fought back. Some students armed themselves with sticks to take their frustrations out against their captors. 35 students escaped Dundee Ranch, choosing to try their fate in the countryside rather than stay. One student said, “staff members started kicking, hitting and choking children to stop them from leaving, and that the punishment continued for hours after the Costa Rican officials left.” Casa Alianza International has asked the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva to initiate an investigation into the school. Get more information here.

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