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January 28, 2023

New reform school gets approval for license to open at site of Glen Mills Schools

With oversight from Pennsylvania DHS, Clock Tower Schools will care for a maximum of 20 court-ordered boys in a residential treatment program

Government Education
Clock Tower Schools gets approval at former Glen Mills campus Glen Mills Schools/Youtube

Pennsylvania DHS reached a settlement that will allow a new reform school to operate at the former Glen Mills School. Clock Tower Schools can open for 20 court-ordered boys under a provisional license.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services will allow a new school to operate at the site of Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County after reaching a settlement.

Clock Tower Schools was granted a provisional license to serve 20 court-order boys in a residential treatment program under DHS oversight, WHYY reported

A decade of accusations alleging abuse at the former reform school, including a youth who claimed a counselor beat him, led calls for an investigation by several local leaders from City Council and state representatives, the Inquirer reported in 2018. 

Following the investigation, it was reported that Glen Mills had been abusing youths in the school's care, and on March 25, 2019, the state ordered an emergency removal of all remaining boys at the school. In addition, the state revoked all 14 of the school's operational licenses citing "gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct in operating the facility."

The school had been trying to re-open since 2021, with eight employees connected to Glen Mills, and an application was filed after the school registered as a nonprofit, the Inquirer reported. 

"The Clock Tower Schools, a new nonprofit entity established in July 2021, applied for a license with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to provide critically-needed care and education for minors committed by order of the courts. We look forward to hearing from DHS," a spokesperson for the school, Jeff Jubelirer, said to WHYY at the time. 

However, the application was denied by DHS last year because it did not meet the requirement for a license. 

The provisional approval mandates that the staff from the former Glen Mills Schools swore under oath that they did not know about the abuse and that no other employee or independent contractor affiliated with the school is allowed to work for Clock Tower Schools. 

The Independent monitor overseeing the operations of Clock Tower Schools will have full access to the school and its records and the authority to interview any staff and students. 

Glen Mills Schools was once regarded as one of the country's top reform schools and operated since the 1800s, with a 400-student capacity before the decades of abuse were uncovered. 

Earlier this month, a $3 million settlement was reached with the Chester County Intermediate Unit as part of an ongoing lawsuit that alleged students were physically abused and deprived of proper education.

Despite its approval from DHS, the school still has to reach an agreement with local authorities before it becomes operational.