GLEN MILLS, Pa. (CBS/AP) — The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services ordered Monday an emergency removal of all children currently remaining at the Glen Mills School in Delaware County following abuse allegations. There are currently 64 students still at the school.
The department’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families says it will maintain a presence at Glen Mills School during the time the children are removed to continue to monitor conditions and ensure student safety.
“As the investigation into allegations raised in recent reporting continues, we must do what is necessary to ensure that no more children are at risk of physical and emotional harm,” said Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “This removal is one step of an on-going 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 this school. I encourage any former students or their families, Glen Mills staff, or anyone else to share their story.”
Councilwoman Helen Gym applauded the move by the state to remove the remaining children.
“I commend Gov. Wolf for his bold action to remove all youth from Glen Mills, a school that continually fails to protect children or learn from past failures. Gov. Wolf’s decisive action marks the first time in memory where a Pennsylvania governor has taken such a stand against these facilities and makes it clear that we will no longer tolerate systems or institutions of abuse. The governor’s removal order, in addition to a comprehensive review by the inspector general, will move us one step closer to justice for these children and their families, as well as systemic reform. It is my hope that today’s bold action will put the entire sector on notice and let them know that we expect more,” said Gym.
The school said in a statement that they “are assessing the situation.”
“We were just made aware of the order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. We are assessing the situation and its impacts and will continue to work with all state and local officials.”
The school is accused of covering up decades of abuse. The allegations ranged from severe beatings for students who made minor infractions to a staffer breaking a boy’s broken jaw after the student made a joke about the man’s sister.
A former student told Eyewitness News last month that he and others were abused at the school.
“[I saw violence] almost every day,” the man said. “It wasn’t even a week that would go by without six, seven incidents.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered a review of complaints against the school.
The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office is in the midst of an investigation, as well as the prosecution of two former counselors who were charged in September in a brutal assault of a 17-year-old.
Twenty-one students from 11 Pennsylvania counties remain on site, and there are 43 from eight other states, according to the Human Services Department.
Local municipalities have 30 days to remove students.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)