Boston magazine has an interesting article this month about Stephen Myers and Sage Christensen. Christensen, formerly Myers’ adopted son, was charged last year with killing a man in the Boston area. He was 18 at the time.
Myers lost custody of Christensen after he was accused of making sexual comments to a student. At the time, Myers was a principal in Amherst.
Here’s the interesting part: prior to becoming a principal in Massachusetts, Myers worked in Santa Cruz. From the article, titled “The Loved One”:
“In 1972 Myers founded the Global Youth Academy in northern California as a summer program for students ages 11 to 18. The academy, which he later renamed Traveling School International, involved Myers leading a collection of misfits and outsiders on month-long summer bicycle tours of the Pacific Northwest. The goal was to emphasize personal growth and development, and Myers later expanded the program, taking pupils to foreign countries without their parents.
Myers’s education techniques were considered unusual but forward-looking at the time. His style was rooted in his earlier involvement in something called Erhard Seminars Training, or EST, which was part of the 1970s human potential movement. Created by the author Werner Erhard, EST held that people are responsible for their own happiness and success. Students were called names and barred from using the bathroom for long stretches, all as a way of stripping them down in order to build them back up. Critics charged that EST could have harmful effects on some people, especially the emotionally unstable, and could lead to psychotic breakdowns.”
In 1984 the city of Santa Cruz incorporated the program into its public school system (eventually discontinuing it six years later because of curriculum concerns and liability issues), and Myers operated his program privately for more than 25 years, until 1999, when he was unable to secure enough funding to keep it going.”
Anyways, the Boston mag article is definitely worth a read. The writer is essentially suggesting a link between the allegations against Myers and the criminal behavior of his former son.