PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Wordsworth Academy is a residential treatment facility for juveniles with behavioral health issues.
On Thursday night, it became the center of a Philadelphia Police death investigation.
Detectives say a 17-year-old boy tried barricading himself in his room. Staff put him in a headlock while restraining him and he hit his head. He died around 9:30 p.m.
Allison, whose 13-year-old son is a resident at Wordsworth, says she rushed to the facility when she heard what happened. “I took off from work. I came up here. I wanted to talk to his counselor and him to see how he felt.”
Though she’s upset over the death, she says physical restraint is sometimes required with the children and teens who live there.
“You’ve got to remember, you’re dealing with kids with behavior and mental health issues,” she said. “They have to be restrained. Sometimes that’s the only way to deal with kids like that.”
Allison has not had problems there in the past. “I love this facility,” she said. “It’s the best one. My son’s had mental health issues since he was five. This is the best one.”
“I think this may have been a fluke accident, but this is still unacceptable,” said Gwen Timmons. Her 10-year-old son stays at Wordsworth and other parents like her are upset over the lack of communication from the academy.
“I’s upset we weren’t told about what’s going on before we saw it on the news last night,” Timmons said.
She, like other parents we saw leaving with their children, are taking some time to figure out what to do next.
“I’m taking him home right now,” Timmons said of her son. “I’m going to decide over the weekend whether I’m going to keep him in the program or not.”