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Ryan Libbey, a former patient at Lakeview. His mother Jennifer Cote gave NHPR permission to publish photos of her son's injuries.This series was the basis for a collaborative investigation by NHPR and Reveal, a new investigative public radio program and podcast produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit newsroom based in California, and PRX. Click here to read the investigation and listen to the documentary, "A Mountain of Misconduct."0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8db50000In September 2014, Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center in Effingham, N.H. came under scrutiny for abusing and neglecting some of the people it cares for – children and adults with brain injuries and developmental disabilities.NHPR has been looking into these accusations, and it turns out the state had warning signs about series problems at this facility going back to the early 1990s. In this special series and continuing coverage, reporter Jack Rodolico examines the scope of the problems and the state's role in Lakeview's story.

Why Lakeview's School Is On 'Provisional Approval'

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Since October 2014, the Department of Education has found major deficiencies in virtually every aspect of the Lakeview School, one of the most expensive state-certified special education programs in New Hampshire. As a result, the school is on "provisional approval."

As of January 26 2015, Lakeview had not complied with the following deficiency findings:

  • Lakeview School has no written curriculum for grades 1-12
  • Lakeview School has no policy for reporting abuse and neglect to the state of New Hampshire, despite two statutes making reporting abuse mandatory for witnesses
  • Lakeview was operating three unlicensed school programs : a high school Life Skills Program, a vocational skills program, and a “residential component” to the school program
  • Lakeview has no policy for managing student behavior
  • Not every staff member was provided with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) of the resident he/she was working with
  • Lakeview’s senior leadership included only one person with a background in education, and another member who had not received a criminal background check     
  • Lakeview’s policies and procedures included outdated restraint tactics, outdated references to the New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities (which had been updated twice since Lakeview had updated its copy), outdated references to “Mental Retardation,” a term which has been legally changed to “Intellectual Disability,” references to “aversive behavior interventions,” which are not permitted in New Hampshire, and no written procedure for staff and children to follow in case of an emergency, such as a fire

In a letter to Lakeview dated November 14, 2014, Department of Education Commissioner Virginia Barry described a scene DOE inspectors witnessed at Lakeview last fall:
“The Bureau [of Special Education] witnessed an unsupervised male student who was found lying in the field behind the high school building…. While attempting to address the needs of this student, the Bureau discovered another female student down behind the barn near the fenced in area for the animals…. This female student who was found unsupervised was of extreme concern based on the media report on September 19th [2014] of a fifteen year old female who went into the woods at 8:30 am and was later found at 4:00 pm that day.”

You can read that letter in its entirety and peruse other documents used in reporting this story on our Reporter's Notebook blog.

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