Letter to the editor: Green Hill School needs personnel, systemic reform


This letter is regarding the search warrant that was just executed on Green Hill School by the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET). Green Hill School is the state of Washington’s long-term maximum security juvenile rehabilitation/detention center.

During the local drug task force’s search of Green Hill School, approximately 1,100 fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, marijuana and other illegal items were recovered by local law enforcement. In a press release put out by the Centralia Police Department regarding their investigation into this matter, it was said that many overdoses of residents occurred at Green Hill School.

It was also stated these overdoses were being handled “internally.” I cannot believe that is how that situation was being handled. I’m really surprised and grateful that one of the residents there did not die because of this. As a former Green Hill School and lifelong Lewis County resident, I can personally tell you without a shadow of doubt in my mind this raid on Green Hill School was at least 15 years overdue.

Corruption throughout Green Hill School has run rampant for decades without any end in sight. Over the past several years, at least four different female staff members have been arrested for engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with the residents, one staff member was arrested and indicted by the FBI for dealing/trafficking illegal narcotics into Green Hill School, a multi-million dollar lawsuit was settled with multiple victims of sexual abuse that occurred at Green Hill, a staff member sold a firearm to a resident that was later used in a drive-by shooting, and a few escapes have occurred.

The buck is going to have to stop somewhere. Serious conversations need to take place about changes and reforms being brought to Green Hill School. A few measly bag scanners, body scanners, X-ray machines, an employee training academy and an enhanced supervisor academy are simply not enough.

Green Hill School needs major personnel and systemic reform. Green Hill School is designed to be the last-ditch effort by the state of Washington to rehabilitate youth before they end up serving sentences in adult prisons. With the kind of illegal activity that continues to be allowed to go on there, no rehabilitation is taking place.

How can a child be rehabilitated when they are all strung out on fentanyl being given to them by those who are charged with keeping them off of and away from it? When these kinds of things happen, it’s the youth who get short-changed, every single time. And so is their rehabilitation.

Green Hill School is about giving our youth hope for the future, not putting them on track to become Department of Corrections inmates later. This is coming at a very high cost, and that cost is these children’s rehabilitation, and ultimately their future.

Bo D. Rupert