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No More Nightmares at Tranquility Bay
In "Rough Love" (June 2006), New Times wrote about five South Florida teens who alleged they were abused, tortured, and starved by staff at Tranquility Bay (TB), a residential facility for troubled teens in Treasure Beach, Jamaica.
This past week, Ken Kay, president of the school's parent organization, World Wide Association for Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS), confirmed the controversial school is shutting down.
"Passports have a lot to do with it," Kay said in a telephone interview from WWASPS headquarters in St. George, Utah. "The group of kids that they deal with down there are in crisis at the time, and to get them to volunteer to get a passport is difficult."
In the past five years there have been serious complaints. A teenager claimed to have had his teeth knocked loose by a staff member. Another said he was made to defecate and urinate in a black garbage bag tied around his waist; he was then allegedly pepper-sprayed and dragged across a cement floor face-down, and had his genitals scrubbed with a hard-bristle toilet brush. Six other WWASPS-affiliated schools and organizations have been raided or closed in the past decade following similar charges.
Kay denies the allegations and is adamant TB's impending closure is the result of "immigration laws" that have caused admission to plummet. "You can't hang on until you get down to two students. It gets to a point where it's not cost effective to run a school." — Joanne Green