The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has issued an emergency removal order of all boys remaining at the Glen Mills Schools, the oldest existing U.S. reform school.
In a Monday letter to the school’s board of managers, the state agency – which licenses and oversees the Delaware County campus – said conditions “constitute gross incompetence, negligence, misconduct in operating a facility, including mistreatment and abuse of clients, likely to constitute immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children in care."
“As the investigation into allegations raised in recent reporting continues, we must do what is necessary to ensure that no more children are at risk of physical and emotional harm," said Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller.
Miller said the emergency removal order is “one step” of an ongoing process at Glen Mills, which holds 14 licenses with the state. “DHS is committed to seeing this investigation through to ensure that any individual responsible for endangering the welfare of children and coercing silence can be held responsible,” she said.
The Inquirer reported in February that serious violence was both an everyday occurrence and an open secret at the Glen Mills Schools, which draws students from across the country. Staff routinely punched, choked, and kicked the boys in their care, even breaking their bones, then kept them quiet with threats. Executive director Randy Ireson and other top leaders failed to properly vet or train the school’s counselors, then insulated themselves from abuse complaints.