This meme brings back one memory in particular about when I was at a restaurant with my friend and her family to celebrate her birthday. I had been out of Provo Canyon School for about 11 months and was enjoying a night out when my friend’s family and friends when her dad suddenly asked me if I was ok and what I needed. I then realized that I was sitting with my hand up waiting to be called on because I needed to use the bathroom at first I hadn’t even realized that I was raising my hand. Even once I realized that I had my hand up it didn’t even cross my mind that it was strange to be raising your hand in a restaurant and asking to go the bathroom. I asked her dad if I could be excused from the table because I needed to use the bathroom and he gave me a very odd look being 19 and asking this sort of question but he did give me permission.
Later on that night I had to explain to my friends dad why I was asking to use the bathroom because I didn't want him to think I was completely crazy and it turned in to a very long conversation about crazy residential programs that beat and abuse children.
This was how thing went at Provo Canyon School, you had to ask to do everything. The staff at Provo Canyon liked to have 100% control at all times of the children and even went so far as to decide when children could relieve themselves. Children had to ask to use the bathrooms at all times whether it was in the middle of the night or during the day at school. It can be expected that maybe telling a staff member at a school like PCS would be expected so they know where students are but many times requests to use the bathroom were denied. Staff at many times would not deny a student to use the bathroom in entirety but would refuse to acknowledge that a student was raising there hand to ask permission for bathroom privileges. Sometime at night you would be standing in the doorway of the bedroom with your hand up and staff would look at you and go back to what they were previously doing and then ask you about 10 minutes later what you needed which at night better only be that you need to use the bathroom.
Additionally when children were put in the time out rooms at Provo Canyon the staff especially enjoyed denial of bathroom privileges. In the time out rooms at Provo Canyon there was not access to a toilet. The time out rooms were brick rooms, with a concrete floor (not isolated or painted just a slab or concrete) with a drain in the middle of it. If staff felt like it children could be denied for hours to use the bathroom and you would have no choice but to relieve yourself in to the drains in the cold unheated time out rooms.
The bathroom experience is a small glimpse in to the world I lived in with my now ex-boyfriend. Looking back on it now I realize that I kept living in Provo Canyons world even though I had been gone 3, 4 years. We dated for six years (2005- 2011) and he use to get really upset with me because whenever I was with him I would ask permission to do anything, even in my own house I would ask permission to get water, use the bathroom, get dressed, go out and any other activity that involved me moving. He would tell me that I needed to stop asking for permission to do things in public because people were going to think he was a controlling boyfriend.
Provo Canyon School was supposed to help me become a more successful individual and help me learn appropriate social skills so that I would be able to get along better in the world weather that meant how to listen to authority better or to less head strong (the reason all kids are sent to program) . Instead they taught me how to ask permission for everything. Even today 7 years later I find it hard to make my own decisions without someone telling me what to do. When I am not out volunteering or at school I find myself lost and unaware of how to decide what to do. I am so use to having people tell me that it is time to do my homework or time to use the bathroom or time to cry that I cannot fill any of my own time myself. Provo Canyon turned me into a person who has almost no understanding of how to make their own choices and really does fell more comfortable when being told what to do.
I have learned to fight back and most of the time am aware that what happened at Provo Canyon School was wrong but sometimes I find myself wondering if it would be easier if I woudl be back there because I am unsure of how to make decisions myself thanks to Provo Canyon School!