BUHL, Minn. (KMSP) - Mesabi Academy, a private correctional facility for boys, will be closing its program by the end of June, according to a press release from the academy.
This comes in the wake of a series of investigative reports by APM Reports that described allegations of student maltreatment and abuse at the academy in Buhl, Minnesota. After the reports came out, Mesabi Academy saw an “abrupt withdrawal” of youth placed by Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Minnesota’s Department of Corrections also made the decision to freeze admissions at Mesabi Academy.
There were 138 associates working in program at the end of April.
Mesabi Academy leadership issued the following statement:
“This has been a very difficult decision, because we know the allegations made or insinuated through the media reports are not true. Mesabi Academy has provided excellent care and a safe environment for the youth placed there since its founding in 1998. It’s completely unfair that the exceptional work of our staff has been called into question in these reports, and that they have been characterized as having any higher priority than the safety and well-being of the kids placed at Mesabi Academy.
However, we need to focus on what’s best for the kids in our care now. The hard truth is, given the reductions in placements from Hennepin and Ramsey counties and the subsequent freeze on new admissions, Mesabi Academy simply cannot continue to provide the level of care the youth currently placed there need going forward. As a result, we believe the appropriate action is to transition those kids back to their placing agency as smoothly as possible and close the program.
We will work with our staff at Mesabi, as well as community resources in the Iron Range, to help them navigate the challenges they will face as a result of this decision. And we thank our colleagues at Mesabi Academy for making a difference in the lives of the kids cared for there over the past seventeen years.”
By June 30, the youth will be transitioned back to their placing agency.