I worked at Elan School in Poland from 1985 to 1990. I started out as an entry level staff and then became a house director. The school helped many at-risk youths during my time there. Most of them had the choice of Elan or juvenile detention.

The school has had some negative stories written about it, but in my time there I never witnessed abusive behavior except from the students. Teens entered Elan with their lives in a big mess and most of them graduated as productive members of society.

Their treatment was based on Day Top out of New York City. It was based on a dichotomy similar to the military. The students started out as workers and worked there way up to coordinators of different departments. The teens who worked their way up were rewarded with deep sea fishing trips, white water rafting, biking on Chebeague Island and weekend trips into Portland for movies and dining.

During my tenure, I witnessed four or five boxing rings. Students were subjected to the boxing ring only if they were violent to their peers or the staff. The actual ring was formed by students and staff. The violent offender fought against a peer of equal size and they fought under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, wearing helmets and using regulation boxing gloves and no hitting below the belt.

The intent was not to hurt anyone but to teach respect for authority and each other.

Lori Lyons, Litchfield

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