In the summer of Zack Bonnie‘s fourteenth year, his parents sent him to the Rocky Mountain Academy (a CEDU school) in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA. After a brief escape, foster care, and a month in wilderness survival programs in South Central Idaho, it was back to RMA for the next two-plus years.
Now enough time has passed that he can put words to the experience. Zack’s first book, Dead, Insane, or in Jail: A CEDU Memoir, begins his story. He wrote this book, and the ones that follow in the series, to show readers what the program at RMA and other facilities for “Troubled Teens” was really like. Graduates of this and similar programs – largely unregulated and unsupervised – will recognize the mind-control and verbal abuse techniques. The rest of us will watch and learn.
Lately, several other graduates of these troubled teen programs are also sharing their narratives. Zack believes their combined force will have the power to reach citizens and effect change.
When asked why he wrote the book, Zack replied,
“So that no teenager will have to experience what I did.”
This is the inside story.
Zack Bonnie “graduated” from RMA at age sixteen, and then attended regular high school to fill the gaps in his education. He went on to college, an acting career in New York, tournament gambling, and adventures around the world.
He is now an activist for the human rights of teens confined in residential facilities.
He makes his home near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia, where he loves to hike. See the Press and Media section for more details, downloadable bios, and public speaking topics.
Illustrator Jonathan Weiner met the author when they were both teenagers at the Rocky Mountain Academy.
He earned a degree in animation from the Art Institute of California – San Francisco, and a BFA in painting from Syracuse University.
Jonathan lives in the Bay Area.
A creative coach and manuscript developer for nonfiction authors, she owns and operates Chenille Books in her adopted hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.