Glen Mills School needs more than just a new name

This Letter to the Editor was originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer in response to this article

It is profoundly disturbing that the Glen Mills School is seeking to reopen under a new name (Nov. 11). In 2018, months before it was shut down, Children’s Rights documented 16 incidents of staff physical maltreatment at Glen Mills from March 2014 to January 2017, which equates to one incident of child maltreatment by staff every other month.

There was a deeply entrenched culture of secret violence and abuse with staff members striking a child in the face, slamming a child’s head against a countertop, punching a child in the ribs, hitting a child’s head against a fire extinguisher. These children belong in their communities, not in these institutions.

The people reopening Glen Mills must understand that a new name isn’t enough. They must pay close attention to their dangerous history, honor the children who were hurt by learning from it, and set up structures to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Christina Wilson Remlin, lead counsel, Children’s Rights, Atlanta