A 14-year-old boy died two months ago from apparent exhaustion, while hiking as part of a wilderness program for troubled teens. Now two employees of “Skyline Journey” in Utah have been charged with child-abuse homicide, reports the New York Times.

This is just one more frightening story in a litany of negative reports about “teen boot camps,” drug rehabs and an assortment of programs, supposedly designed to correct adolescent behavior.

Parents essentially dump their kids at these places to have them “reformed.” But instead some have died and many more have reported gross abuse and/or neglect.

Some of these facilities appear to be little more than punitive gulags, rather than meaningful programs. Their staffs are often poorly trained and frequently rely upon extreme coercion and at times physical abuse. It seems that instead of a code of professional conduct, their motto is “the end justifies the means.”

Many families today include two working parents, which often makes raising children difficult. But rather than make more time for their kids and/or improve their parenting skills, some choose controversial stay-away teen programs instead. These parents seem to think such places can somehow provide a “quick fix” for their “problem child.”

But concerned parents should seek better and less potentially dangerous options for troubled teens. After so many of these programs have drawn criminal charges, lawsuits and bad press, this should cause families to pause and review their options more carefully. Why not seek safer choices, drawing upon the resources within their own community?

Perhaps the parents of this latest teen boot camp victim are now asking themselves why they took such a risk, which ultimately claimed the life of their child.