Surviving Beth: A True Story is a hard hitting book by Allen Knoll. In this book, Knoll describes his first hand experience as a young boy who entered the notorious and abusive Bethel Baptist Boys Academy (Lucedale, MS). Bethel Baptist Boys Academy was shut down in 2003 for the abuse it perpetrated on young victims. Many of the children abused at Bethel have subsequently filed lawsuits. The book , Surviving Bethel: A True Story, is a true story about the abuse he, and so many others, endured at the hands of staff at the academy.
Surviving Bethel is not published by Rambler Mental Health, but is an important book about problems that plague the troubled teen industry. You can purchase Surviving Bethel: A True Story – here >>>
In this story, Knoll opens up about multiple incidents of abuse he and other youth endured while living at the facility. He describes, in great and horrifying detail, multiple incidents of abuse that occurred with regularity at the academy. In great detail, Allen Knoll describes how staff at the academy would terrorize the youth who lived there.
In one instance, Knoll describes a boy being beaten so badly he had to be taken out by ambulance. Knoll recalls the subsequent external investigation into the incident and the feeling of being let down by the lack of any action taken by external agencies. He also describes how he had to navigate the system and key staff in an effort to avoid the intermittent abuse.
For youth abused in troubled teen industry institutions this book may serve as an affirmation and acknowledgement of the problems the thematically plague the troubled teen industry.
For mental health workers, this book should be a call to action to prevent abuse in our troubled teen and other healthcare institutions. In this book, Knoll describes the long-term impact the industry has had on his life.
Allen Knoll, along with other youth abused in troubled teen institutions, has started the Troubled Teen Advocate Group. The Troubled Teen Advocate Group is an official non-profit organization that, among other activities, seeks to expand child protection laws. Most recently, his group helped to pass HB 557 in Missouri. This bill will require faith based residential programs to register with the state and require background checks for their workers. Additionally, this bill now compels such institutions to cooperate with external investigations.