GOP Wants No Regulation of Controversial Boarding Schools

by Cowgirl

A religious boarding school in northern Montana named Pinehaven Ranch has no license, no accreditation and employs teachers who are not certified, and is now dealing with allegations that the staff used violence to discipline students.

And yet the Montana GOP has voted, on a party line, to allow such schools to continue to go unregulated. CNN ran a big story about it tonight on the Anderson Cooper 360 show, with interviews with Montana legislators Jenny Eck and Krayton Kerns. Eck is a progressive democrat and Kerns, chairman of the Montana house judiciary, is one of the loudest and proudest Tea Partiers in America. Eck made an emotional appeal to the committee on which she sits, and which Kerns chairs, during a hearing on HB 236, a bill which would make homes for troubled kids like Pineheaven Ranch subject to the same regulation as other youth homes. As in, the state government would be allowed to get involved when school children at private religious schools are allegedly being abused. Religious schools, under current state law, are exempt from regulation.

Kerns, meanwhile, did not disappoint. He said, in an interview with CNN’s Gary Tuchman who paid a visit to the Montana legislature, that not only should schools like Pinehaven not be subject to any state education laws, but that all laws and regulations for all schools, public or otherwise, should be abolished.

The injustice was clearly on Eck’s mind in the committee when she pointed out to the committee that Kerns that allowed the headmaster of the school 20 minutes for his testimony against the bill, but gave opponents of the bill only a few seconds a piece.

And so, the general narrative that has been circulating in the media is that all is well at the Capitol and that “this Session is so much better than last session,” is not true at all. When it comes to the House Judiciary committee, the Montana legislature is still making national news for its awfulness. Perhaps now our own Montana press will get the true picture. HB 236 is sponsored by Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula).  Here’s the video:


17 Comments on "GOP Wants No Regulation of Controversial Boarding Schools"

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | March 9, 2013 12:59 PM at 12:59 PM |

    It appears that this “school” is dealing mostly with troubled kids. Thus, is it not a hospital facility in reality? Maybe it should be regulated like the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings.

    Cretin Kerns IS a friggin’ mental case and should be no where NEAR the Lege! Thanks, Laurel. Hey, isn’t the YBGR right there by Laurel? Why yes it is! Maybe Cretin should take a trip over there!

  2. Spectacles like Kerns’ hearing on HB 236 will be the norm until we get a better class of voter in this state — and, frankly, until Democrats in the legislature start pushing back like they mean it. Eck was right to object to Kerns’ highhandedness, but all the Democrats should have walked out of the hearing en-mass instead of mostly sitting there trying (generally, successfully) not to let their embarrassment and outrage show.

    Incidentally, while researching corporal punishment in preparation for a Flathead Memo post on Floggin’ Jerry O’Neil’s pain instead of prison bill (when the bill became ready for delivery, he refused to collect it), I learned that although Montana prohibits corporal punishment (paddling) in public schools, it probably does not have a law prohibiting corporal punishment in private schools. Perhaps readers with a good grasp of education law can confirm that; or better yet, confirm that paddling IS prohibited in private schools in Montana.

    • Norma Duffy @Ilikewoods | March 10, 2013 12:10 PM at 12:10 PM |

      Couldn’t have agreed with you more. Where’s our Backbone on this…. Education is a leading issue with Democrats and we were really nowhere to be heard.

  3. Thanks Cowgirl for exposing ‘King Kerns’ and his high-handed ways and rhetorical posturing. Let’s make sure our Governor
    vetoes EVERY Kerns bill that gets to his desk!

  4. AS usual, the dumb-ass crowd it feeding the coffers of late night television and the blogs. However, any real veterinarian would recognize this classic case of the rabid syndrome found is dogs and would immediately have the animal put down. Dr. Kerns, please follow such sound advice and put yourself out of misery, the rest of us would be grateful.

  5. You’d think the Catholic precedent alone would give these jackasses pause. All it takes is one claim of abuse to bankrupt the whole thing- morally and financially.

  6. The other villain in this thing is Jeff Laszloffy, who is lobbying to protect the ability of religious boarding schools to abuse kids. What he’s really doing is ensuring that people who want to send their kid to a religious group home only have u licensed, unregulated, unsafe and low-quality options. He’s doing his own followers harm.

    • Norma Duffy @Ilikewoods | March 10, 2013 12:14 PM at 12:14 PM |

      When the state passes such a stupid law, it injures its right to protect itself in lawsuits. We the people end up paying for the costs of that stupidity. Luckily, Bullock would veto such a bill as this, if it would pass the state house!

      • Norma Duffy @Ilikewoods | March 10, 2013 12:25 PM at 12:25 PM |

        I probably said this wrong, what I meant to say is all schools in this state should be regulated. Bills that allow schools like this to operate without regulations is wrong, and if a bill should come up that allows such nonsense, as pine-haven to keep hurting kids, I know Bullock would veto such a bill. However HB 236 is a good bill, and it should pass.

  7. Once again, our Montana legislature makes national headlines for its idiocy.

  8. I don’t know why anyone is suprised by Kern’s statements or the reaction of the Montana Republican party to the situation. Remember who Soupy Sales appointed to head the Education Committee in the last Legislative session?

    The Montanan Republican Party is a joke – and often a national joke. One can only hope that the people of Montana wake the hell up and start elected better legislative representatives. There are plenty of Montana Republicans that are trying to reform the party back to some measure of sanity, but they can’t do it as long as idiots like Kerns and the Lie Monkey keep getting elected. The voters of Montana only have themselves to blame.

  9. The Madrasa System worked well for Pakistan. Why not Montana? Gotta work the kids early to get them ready. They are the logical labor replacement after the illegals are deported.

  10. Cathryn English-Straub | March 10, 2013 7:51 PM at 7:51 PM |

    Thank goodness we have representation like Jenny Eck. Representation that is brave enough to speak out against republican Kerns and his tryanny is far and few between. Thank you Representative Eck for speaking out and showing true emotion regarding the abuse of Children. Fighting the abuse of children needs to be part of the democratic agenda always. Where are you democrat
    s, where is your outrage?

  11. Somebody please tell me Dr. Kerns doesn’t get ’emotional’ when he speaks about the Tea Party and the so-called ‘demise’ of the Nation at the hands of the ‘socialist’ in the White House?

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