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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania officials have ordered the emergency removal of all children from Glen Mills School amid abuse allegations. The facility has a month to remove and place students into other facilities.
Eyewitness News spoke with a well-known former Glen Mills student, who is hoping the program can be salvaged.
“They gave you discipline in a way where you know that if you screwed up, you screwed up, and I’m not talking about beating,” middleweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins said.
Hopkins knows the inside of Glen Mills School all too well. At 13 years old, a judge ordered him to the Delaware County placement facility.
Though Hopkins says he was never abused, he says he has heard stories.
“There are stories of aggressive counselors, grown men who took it a little far,” he said.
Those stories of aggression captured the Department of Human Services’ attention. An emergency removal order now has the facility scrambling to find new placements for 64 juveniles.
“We will not tolerate any situation in which young people are placed in direct danger or harm. There should be no abuse,” Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym said.
Just this past summer, Hopkins spoke at Glen Mills. Now that it’s ordered to close, he’s concerned where those boys will end up.
There are more questions than answers, and above all, uncertainty, but Hopkins is hopeful there’s a way to salvage the program.
“You cut that out, if that’s cancer, you cut it out,” he said. “If that’s something that’s going to affect a whole body of work over decades of years of achievement.”
In a statement, the Department of Human Services said, “This removal is one step of an ongoing process, and 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. As this investigation continues, it is important that we understand the full scope of incidents and mistreatment that occurred at the school.”
The school said in a statement that they “are assessing the situation and will continue to work with all state and local officials.”