Shepherds Hill Academy

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Shepherd's Hill Farm is a behavior modification facility marketed as a Christian Boarding School located on 2200 Price Road, Martin, Georgia 30557 [1]

This is a "wilderness therapy program" run by a christian fundamentalist and cult leader Trace Embry and his wife Beth Embry. Parental Guardianship is signed over to Trace and a $58,900 tuition a year is paid. At the entrance to Shepherds hill farm is the Embrys' house and some other trailers. However about a mile or so down into the forest, away from the eyes of the public and of the parents, is the giant boys camp site, about half a mile or so away in the woods is the girls camp.

Very much abuse goes on in this place. It needs to be investigated and shut down, otherwise Trace will continue harming children and putting families in debt for the rest of their lives.

They can detain an unknown number of youth of both genders aged 13 to 18.

They offer two residential programs with a length of one year and two years.

This school also offers to have "bounty hunters" pick up your child and bring them to the farm for you. I was picked up by two "bounty hunters" in savannah, GA and brought to the farm. I figured I better not fight the police, they wanted to handcuff me and ankle cuff me.

Contents

Program Structure

SHF Wilderness Program

This one year program functions on the basis of "positive peer culture" (pressure).

The teenagers lives in primitive shelters in the wood, that they build with no electricity or running water, nor proper building knowledge or supervision. Communication with parents is very little and monitored as well. Parents are assured SHF is a wonderful place, and so are visitors. However, parents and visitors are never shown the camps or what really goes on there. Everything they do and all abuse, is done in the name of Jesus and the bible. Trace sees himself as a saint and someone who performs miracles and saves kids lives. He is simply a cult leader with a following in his tiny town. [2].

Education

They had a college student teaching classes. They began as an unaccredited institution but became accredited later; the education did not improve. Children are taught evolution is an absolute lie, created by evil secularists. They are forced to watch Kent Hovind videos in "science class" and do absolutely no real science. The extent of the education is elementary mathematics and reading from the bible; they have no knowledge of basic geological concepts such as plate tectonics. [3]

Living Conditions

The first year the teenagers live in very primitive log shelters that they are forced to build themselves with no modern comfort. They also work all day in the heat and extreme cold, in the mud and dirt. The children are forced to cut down and debark trees and build very large cabins to live in with no electricity, or any type of building knowledge, as well as for future students to live in. The students live in these cabins every day out of the year and in all weather conditions with an ineffective wood burning stove to heat the entire cabin. Parents were forced to buy their kids expensive sleeping bags for the winter if they wanted their kids to be warm. They receive only a couple 5-10 minute showers a week. Those who are transferred to the Next Step program live under more humane conditions. [4]

The Next Step Program

This program can be an extention of the first program. The teenagers are moved to a campus where they can earn privileges like TV and video games, which they have missed the previous year. Also dependent on their progress they can earn the right to a driver's license and a job in the local neighborhood, but each of those only happened once. The students are still punished, and still monitored in the same way. The only difference is that they are allowed to sleep in a house with no heating or insulation, use electricity and watch very little tv. [5].

Abuse

Food Deprivation

Food deprivation is used in the form of what the program calls "special meals". Special meals consist of feeding the child a can of some type of cold green vegetable and one can of cold beans with some water. Students are told that this is a perfectly healthy vegan diet and not illegal or abuse. Kids lose pounds and pounds of weight after being on special meals for months. Some children were also taunted with candy bars. One student was forced to sit in a room with candy bars around him in a circle. He was told if any were missing in 2 hours he would be punished. He had already been on special meals for a couple months and looked like a skeleton. When we came back he had eaten a few of the candy bars, even though he cried and screamed he didn't. He was beat, yelled at and given more special meals. Trace made his parents even continue feeding him special meals over Christmas break, including Christmas dinner. "Regular" food is food from food banks and expired milk that the children cook over a stove in the woods at their camp site. [6]

Physical Abuse and Humiliation

Kids are punished for any type of "inappropriate behavior". They are forced to work for hours and hours in the extreme Georgia heat or in the extreme cold with rain or snow. They use spanking with a paddle, often leaving bruises for a week or more. Sometimes children are spanked in front of other students or in front of all students and employees. Kids are talked out of taking their medication, and no real nurse nor medical staff is on campus. Two children had epileptic seizures, in which Trace and staff held down the student praying for demons to leave them instead of giving the child medicine or calling a medical professional. Sleep deprivation is practiced by waking teenagers up in the middle of the night to work. If a child is told to run a mile or do a number of pushups, and can't make it all the way the teenager must start over and do it again until finished, and is usually given more punishments in the form of spanking or special meals. Children are punished and humiliated publicly for not being able to complete the extreme exercise and manual labor, as well as any number of other reasons. One girl was sent to SHF after being raped at her highschool. When the girl got to SHF, Trace asked her in front of everyone if she knew what a whore was. The girl responded "someone who sleeps around with everyone?", and Trace replied "Don't you think you fit the bill of being a whore?" She was then punished by being made to hold two heavy things out to her sides in the snow. If she dropped them down at all she had to start over. One young had problems in that he lied about nearly everything he said. He also wet his bed at night. Instead of getting professional medical advice, they automatically assumed the kid was doing it to be disobedient and cause problems. Their solution was to make this child strip to his underwear and bath in below zero water in front of everyone, then carry his mattress a mile up hill on his back to clean it, which was followed by a lecture about sweet dear Jesus. [7]

Isolation and Emotional Abuse

The children have no communication with the outside world, or with anyone of the opposite sex. Phone calls home are very rare and visits even less so. All phone calls and letters going in and out are monitored and edited, and limited to 5 minutes. Kids are repeatedly told they are horrible people who will burn in hell forever if not saved and no longer sinful. Homosexuals are mocked and made fun of and made to look like terrible people to the students, as well as any religion other then Christianity. Kids are told that their parents are horrible people and have failed them and that Trace is now their parent. [8]

Aftermath

Trace Embry had promised therapeutic help, but instead used children for abuse and child labor in exchange for large sums of money. Victims of Shepherd's Hill Farm have had to undergo years and years worth of real psychological help to overcome wounds SHF left them. [9]

External Links

Info pages

Groups

Message boards

References

  1. The neighborhood around the facility on Google maps
  2. SHF Wilderness Program, Program homepage
  3. Anonymously submitted testimony to HEAL under penalty of perjury
  4. Anonymously submitted testimony to HEAL under penalty of perjury
  5. The Next Step Program, Program homepage
  6. Anonymously submitted testimony to HEAL under penalty of perjury
  7. Shepherds Hill Farm – “The Great Child Abuse Secret”, Reality is my Religion blog
  8. Anonymously submitted testimony to HEAL under penalty of perjury
  9. Anonymously submitted testimony to HEAL under penalty of perjury
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