Out & About—She sneered at me…. TWICE!

“It’s an Academy.”

She informed me that the Academy was private property and that I couldn’t take pictures. I apologized and told her I would leave. Then I asked her what the Academy was. She said, “It’s an Academy.”

— Russel Ray

When I was up in North San Diego County a couple of weeks ago visiting the San Pasqual Battlefield State Park for my San Diego Historical Landmark series (see here), I found the San Pasqual Academy.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I am always interested in schools because they educate the population. Notwithstanding how many Republicans would prefer the populace to be ignorant sheep doing what they say…. So I just zipped right on by that sign, through a huge orange grove, and onto the campus. Nowhere did I find any signs telling me that it was private property and for yo-yos to stay away.

So I was driving around campus taking pictures of the beautiful buildings in a beautiful setting….

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….when I see a woman waving at me from a doorway….

San Pasqual Academy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

What do you think I did? 

Well, I was born and raised in South Texas—I’m a pretty laid-back, friendly person—so I waved back. That seemed to infuriate her. She came running out to my car and yelling at me. I stopped to see what the problem was. It was Sunday morning, so maybe there was an emergency that I could help with.


She informed me that the Academy was private property and that I couldn’t take pictures. I apologized and told her I would leave. Then I asked her what the Academy was. She said, “It’s an Academy.”

“Well I know that! You can’t tell me what it does?” I asked. She sneered at me and told me to leave. “I’m leaving! I have to go do a Google search on San Pasqual Academy.” She sneered again and pointed towards the exit.

Yes, Google was informative, especially since it pointed me directly to San Pasqual Academy’s very own web site. Not so private after all….

Before I tell you about the Academy, here are a few more pictures that I took before she flagged me down to sneer at me:

San Pasqual Academy

San Pasqual Academy

San Pasqual Academy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So, then, what is San Pasqual Academy? From their very own web site:

San Pasqual Academy is a first-in-the-nation residential education campus designed specifically for foster teens. The Academy is located in Escondido, CA and provides foster teens with a stable, caring home, a quality, individualized education, and the skills needed for independent living.

The Academy opened in October 2001 and currently has a capacity to serve 184 youth.

The 238-acre campus features individual family-style homes, an on-site, accredited high school, a cafeteria, a technology and career information center, an auditorium, recreation fields, a gymnasium, a Health and Wellness Center, a Day Rehabilitation Clinic, and a swimming pool.  The San Pasqual Fire Department is also on the campus and provides internship opportunities for the youth.

Teens live and learn at the Academy, as they prepare for college and/or a career path.

So why was it so hard for her to tell me? Is there something about foster teens that I don’t know about? Heck, I’ve spent 48 years volunteering my time and money to charitable organizations. If she had told me even half of what I found on their web site, I would have volunteered on the spot. As it is, she’s lost whatever volunteer time and charity money I might have been able to give the Academy…. And I feel so sorry for those foster teens if she’s an indication of what they have to put up with there.

Out & About...

During the summer of 1967 (the “Summer of Love”) between sixth and seventh grades, one of my best friends disappeared, with his parents telling me that “He’ll never be back.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but now I know that his parents sent him off to a military academy in San Antonio, Texas. He’s a big-time banker in San Antonio now, so I guess he actually never did go back to our home town!

For more information about Ray’s property inspection service — he is said to be retired, but you can try — and blog, visit Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray at http://russelray.com/. Or call (619) 341-0173.

2 Comments on "Out & About—She sneered at me…. TWICE!"

  1. “Is there something about foster teens that I don’t know about?”

    Actually, yes, there is. Foster youth are considered wards of the court. As such, there are many restrictions involving their privacy. Not sure if you identified yourself as media or not, but especially if you did, the person you encountered was probably extra cautious because it’s the policy of the Juvenile Court that media must obtain a court order to interact with students.

    Hope this helps. Please feel free to reach out if you have additional questions or concerns!

  2. As a former student who attended the Academy I know that the staff there may not always be the nicest or all that friendly but having a place to call home makes up for having to deal with those type of people. San Pasqual Academy gives foster youth like myself a place to plant our roots without having to worry about bouncing around from foster home to foster home that,that itself is a luxury in the eyes of a system kid. Most foster youth would be willing to put up with a lot just for the sense of stability. Now I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with pictures of the campus if there aren’t any students in them. Although, there are students who attend the academy that move all the way out there for a sense of peace in knowing that no one knows where they reside and that they can’t be harmed as long as they’re away from the public eye. The seclusion of the Academy offers students with PTSD, paranoia, and anxiety some serenity from the recollection of trauma that seems to be stuck on replay. The type of child cases at the academy can be very sensitive so taking pictures of the campus especially the houses can be a bit disturbing for students who already live in constant fear. However I do agree there should be signs posted for the public that it is private property. Hope this gives a bit more of a understanding as to why pictures of the Academy are frowned upon.

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