Boarding school for troubled teens set to close

By Julianne Peixoto

August 7, 2014 Updated Aug 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM EDT

Hancock, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After nearly four decades of operation, a Delaware County staple for families with troubled teens is set to shutter.

Allynwood Academy could close by the end of the year unless its longtime owners can find the money -- and the clientele.

"It's a very emotional thing," said administrator Mike Argiros. "I've been here forever practically."

The family-run boarding school has been helping teens fight addiction, behavioral problems, eating disorders and more for nearly 40 years.

It provided teens the therapeutic tools to recover in a typical boarding school environment, complete with sports, theater, art classes and therapy.

"So you could have a normal teenage life and still get the help you needed," said administrator Rita Argiros. "We know how to make it work, we know how to help the students, it’s a matter of bridging the gap financially."

However, some people are happy to see the school close.

Abuse allegations have been made against the school for years, and there is an organized group called The Family Foundation School Truth Campaign that is working towards increasing awareness of the lack of regulatory oversight of privately run institutions.

The school has also been forced to lay off its 70-employee staff, and asked all of the students, except for a small group of 15, to leave.

"I was really not expecting the feedback that we got about the school closing, I expected people to be disappointed, but there was a real surge of interest among a small group of students and parents who really asked us to do anything we could to try to keep the school and the mission of the school alive," said Argiros.

They will remain open for the small group of students through to the new year. Then, unless things change financially, the school will permanently close its doors.

"There aren't programs like ours anywhere on the east coast," said Argiros. "It's gonna be a shame if we can't collectively make this work, it'll be a real shame."