Connecticut facility recalls ‘success story’

  • Nice memories: Richard Chorney, chief executive and president of The Grove School in Madison, Connecticut (Image from Grove School website)

    Nice memories: Richard Chorney, chief executive and president of The Grove School in Madison, Connecticut (Image from Grove School website)

A Bermudian girl sent to a residential institution in Connecticut was one of the school’s “success stories”, its president has claimed.

Richard Chorney, the chief executive of Grove School, Madison, said he remembered one child from the island.

He added: “I think it had to be ten to 15 years ago. She was at Grove for three years, maybe. She was a really neat kid.”

Mr Chorney, who has been at the therapeutic boarding school for more than 30 years, said: “She did well with us, I would consider her a success story.”

Although he could not remember if the girl was placed at Grove privately or through a Department of Child and Family Services referral, he remembered contact with Alfred Maybury, the DCFS director, and that he was a “really nice guy”.

He was speaking after The Royal Gazette learnt that Grove School was among the institutions contracted by the DCFS between 2010 and 2015.

Mr Chorney said: “I think the child was already with us and we, at that time, were exploring the possibility of a larger connection with Alfred.

“I know I met him about it and I invited him to come. He didn’t come and we didn’t pursue it.”

Mr Chorney explained that Grove’s residential programme had a capacity of up to 115 youngsters and also catered for day pupils as well as young people transitioning into adulthood after they reached the age of 18.

He added that children attended for a variety of reasons including emotional instability, compulsive behaviour and anxiety.

It was reported in US media last summer that the school faced a wrongful termination lawsuit from a woman teacher who claimed she was fired for posing “partially nude” in an online article in support of Donald Trump before his election as US president in 2016.

Her complaint said that she started work at Grove 2½ years after the interview and pictures were published. The interview came to the school’s attention two months later in April 2019.

The complaint said the woman’s employment was terminated that month.

Mr Chorney said: “We did the right thing, we didn’t want anybody with that kind of background working with our kids.”

He added that the case had not progressed to court and that lawyers for both sides were in talks.

Another institution, the Life Development Institute in Arizona, was said to have helped two Bermudian teenagers referred there by the DCFS about eight years ago.

Rob Crawford, the LDI chief executive, explained that they attended the high-school programme for young people who struggled with problems such as dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism that prevented them from graduation in a traditional setting.

Pupils must be at least, or nearly, 18 when they start because the learning included “soft skills” such as how to set up an apartment, cooking, cleaning and how to run a budget.

Mr Crawford said he did not remember regular visits from DCFS officials, but remembered Mr Maybury. He added: “Everybody that we worked with, with the agency, were great people.”

He said LDI representatives visited Bermuda about twice a year and often sent documentation with evidence of how pupils had progressed.

Mr Crawford said that one of the DCFS-referred pupils — the institution has also taken two Bermudians privately — continued to live and work in the US.

The other was thought to have returned to Bermuda, but Mr Crawford said it was some time since had been in contact with the former pupil.

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Published Dec 10, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 10, 2019 at 6:55 am)

Connecticut facility recalls ‘success story’

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