Glen Mills School Abuse Lawsuits Seek Class Action Status for Thousands of Students

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

According to allegations raised in at least two separate class action lawsuits filed over abuse at the Glen Mills reform school, Pennsylvania state officials and school employees failed to protect vulnerable minors from physical and mental abuse at the now-defunct facility.

Each of the Glen Mills School abuse lawsuits raise similar allegations, describing incidence involving children attending the reform school, which was founded in 1826 and received juveniles from states throughout the United States.

One complaint (PDF) was filed against Glen Mills School by the parents of two boys, indicating that they were routinely and severely abused while attending the reform school.

The second second complaint (PDF) was filed on behalf of several other boys and their guardians, pursuing damages not only against the school, but also the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and various other entities, indicating that “barbaric abuse continued unchecked” due to a callous disregard for the safety and well-being of youth in their charge.

Both cases were filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and seek class action status to pursue damages for thousands of other students who allegedly endured abuse at the reform school. Both lawsuits use synonyms or incomplete names to identify the plaintiffs, since many involved are minors or were minors at the time of the abuse.

“Instead of receiving any treatment or services, as required by the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act as a condition of their involuntary commitment at Glen Mills and in violation of their constitutional and legal rights, these youth were subjected to extreme and sustained physical violence and psychological abuse and deprived of an education,” the most recent lawsuit states. “This shocking abuse had an especially dire impact upon Black youth, who were disproportionately sent to Glen Mills, and students with disabilities whose educational rights were ignored.”

In late March, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare Deputy Secretary Cathy A. Utz announced an Emergency Removal Order for Glen Mills Schools, where at least 64 students remained, which was down from a peak of more than 1,000 students.

The announcement came following an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer into cases of serious violence and abuse at the boys reform school, which were first reported in February.

The Glen Mills School was first founded in 1826, and housed boys from across the nation, many of whom were sent to the reform school through a court order due to behavioral problems. However, the investigation revealed rampant abuse and physical violence, and efforts to threaten children attending the school into silence.

After the first Philadelphia Inquirer article was published, states and cities began withdrawing juvenile delinquents from the Glen Mills reform school, and Executive Director Randy Ireson stepped down, claiming a leave of absence for health reasons.

State officials also investigated and corroborated the newspaper’s findings, and the state revoked all of the school’s licenses on April 8. The school is appealing that decision.

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  1. Yvonne Reply

    I am pleased that they are finally dealt with I tried I Reported them to institutional abuse they came did nothing. I went there for about 21 days straight to keep them from beating my grand son, I told him to document everything when I come give me to me. they move him. They stop bothering him. But I was worried about kids that were far away. I wanted so much to help those boys.

  2. Devaine Reply

    I was assaulted while at glen Mills how do I join class action suit

  3. Shaun Reply

    I went here three years.

  4. Muhammad Reply

    I was abuse at glen mills back in 2010 in 2011 they had black my eye more then once in they refused to let me practice my religion they had knock me to the ground in kick me like i was nothing I told my family about it but they lied to them in still punish me for saying something if you can get back at me I be thankful I’m ready to help

  5. Dwayne Reply

    I was also abused at glen mills school years ago that i still have difficulties from it.and that was years can i get involved?

  6. Centry Reply

    1st time my Son ever gotten into trouble the Judge sent him to Glen Mills said it will help him. My son attended Glen Mills in the late 90’s.
    He would tell me the things they had did to him..Throwing him on the desk that was in a classroom,punched him in the middle of his back ,stepping on his hand and more…..All I could do is cry at that time….THIS SCHOOL WAS SUPPOSE TO HELP HIM BUT INSTEAD THEY HURT HIM MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. HE WAS NEVER THE SAME after he left Glen Mills.

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