Injustice

Years of abuse ended with a death at Lakeside, but it’s not the only one

A home for at-risk youth had a laundry list of complaints against it, but it took the death of a teen to get people's attention.

Cornelius Fredericks died May 1 after being held down for 12 minutes by staff at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. The 16-year-old’s death prompted Lakeside to shut down and the state to ban physical restraints on children.

Unfortunately, Fredericks was not the first victim of an institution and a system that has been underfunded and under-managed for years. He also isn’t the last. That’s according to an investigation conducted by Michigan Radio into what led up to his death and what has happened since.

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When the academy closed in June there were still 124 boys living there. Many of them have been homeless ever since. Eight of them are missing. One has since died.

Before it closed, Lakeside had been in trouble repeatedly. The State of Michigan had investigated more than dozen complaints in just the past two years. There were also investigations ongoing from other states that had sent boys to live at the facility.

The investigation suggests there is more than enough blame to go around, not least to Sequel Youth and Family Services, the for-profit company that has run Lakeside since 2007.

You can read and listen to the full report here.