Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Glen Mills Students, Naming State Officials and Seeking Millions

Dale Mezzacappa, The Notebook •

The suit is a class action, with four named plaintiffs whose stories are related in horrific detail. It names as defendants not just the administrators of the now-shuttered reform school for boys, but also the state agencies that are accused of allowing the abuse and educational malpractice to continue, in violation of state and federal law and the students’ constitutional rights.

“We want to make clear in this lawsuit that there are multiple entities responsible for what’s happened here,” said Marsha Levick, the chief legal officer and founder of the Juvenile Law Center.

The lawsuit is seeking at least $10 million in damages for medical neglect and abuse, as well as a compensatory education fund to be used by students who were deprived of an adequate education while at Glen Mills.

“Who we want to be held accountable is not just the Glen Mills leadership and staff, but the named leadership at the state Department of Human Services [DHS] and the Pennsylvania Department of Education [PDE],” she said.  “Turns out sometimes it takes a number of entities to allow something to go terribly awry.”

Levick said that despite getting incident reports month after month describing similar incidents and delineating “a culture of violence” against residents of the school, DHS would respond bureaucratically with “boilerplate” language.

“The cycle continued, and DHS never stepped in,” she said

About the Expert

Marsha Levick co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law.