Fawesome way to make up for being a spineless backwards-bending parents for 14 years. The important thing is that, in the end, everyone was a better person from their experiences.Ryan Fraidenburgh was 14 when he was brought here shackled, kicking and screaming.
Two men carrying handcuffs and leg irons came for him at his mother's home in Sacramento, Calif., shoved him into a van and bound him hand and foot. They drove him 12 hours south, over the Mexican border, into a high-walled compound near here called Casa by the Sea.
"It was nighttime," Ryan recalled. "I look around and I see kids sleeping on cement. I was really, really scared. The big honcho, Mauricio, said, 'You don't speak English here.' I didn't know how to speak Spanish."
Ryan quickly learned the rules: stay silent, be compliant, don't look up, don't look out the window, don't speak unless spoken to. The punishments for breaking the rules included solitary confinement, lying on the floor in a small room, nose to the ground, often for days on end.
Ryan was not a criminal. He was only skipping school, his parents said in telephone interviews. But in August 2000, they said, in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle, they decided to send him away to Casa by the Sea, which calls itself a "specialty boarding school" for behavior modification.