Every year up to 100,000 students in the U.S. will spend time in a so-called "therapeutic boarding school," sometimes also referred to as "troubled teen facilities." Often whisked away by "escorts" in the dead of night in a way that creates confusion and betrayal, students attending one of these institutions can expect a rigorous program, with little regulation or oversight, that elides difference across the spectrum of mental health and behavioral issues commonly experienced by teens.
In adulthood, a former student experiences a post-traumatic episode and decides to make a film investigating her experience at one of these schools in order to come to terms with the way it impacted her life and those of her classmates. In Now Return Us to Normal, Leslie Koren embarks on a cinematic journey of healing: speaking with former classmates, teachers, administrators, experts, and parents to explore the long-lasting impacts of these institutions.
"An excellent film, and for my students especially, I think could prove helpful in their learning about how to have difficult conversations."
— Dr. Christine Velez, Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Vermont