Rock River Academy closing reaction - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rock River Academy closing reaction


A former employee and resident at Rock River Academy share their reaction to the recent announcement.

Both have a mix of emotions over the facilities closure.

"I'm relieved," said Roxanne, a former Rock River Academy employee.

She was only there briefly but says she was attacked three times.

"Everything was a weapon," said Roxanne. "One of the times I was attacked, I was attacked with an algebra text book."

The forensic psychology professional asked we not reveal her last name for privacy reasons.

But she says she's relieved the facility is closing.

Roxanne says consequences weren't enforced on girls who misbehaved..

"It's not conducive to preparing them for life after 18," said Roxanne. "After they get discharged from the facility its just a really negative, destructive environment."

And while some former residents agree life at Rock River Academy was tough they're concerned about the future of the girls still inside.

Mswhitney Holt lived at the facility until 2008.

In her time there she says she was attacked by other girls while being ignored by some staff.

However she says if it wasn't for Rock River Academy she's not sure where DCFS would have put her.

"You know Rock River took in every and any girl," said Holt. "So now they have to find suitable places for these girls to go."

Now the remaining 26 girls will have to go somewhere else.

Where that is isn't clear.

And even though Mswhitney is worried about their future at other places she's not worried anymore about their future at Rock River Academy.

"No other girl has to go through the stuff that we went through," said Holt.

Rock River Academy has about 90 days to move the 26 DCFS girls to other locations.

DCFS say those locations will vary depending on the girls needs.

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