Rules sought for ‘gooning,’ taking troubled kids to care

Headlights in the dark
Headlights in the dark(Christian Wiediger)
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 9:53 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - There’s a little-known practice in the U.S. known as “gooning.” Brawny men show up under the cover of darkness and force a teenager into a vehicle, taking them against their will to a boarding school, foster home, or treatment center.

The process is typically initiated by parents at their wit’s ends over a child they perceive as troubled. For the kids, it’s the traumatic first leg of a journey to placements that can be hundreds of miles from home. Teens who resist might be handcuffed or blindfolded.

One secure transport operator was indicted last month, but criminal charges are rare because the industry is virtually unregulated.