Cynthia Bailey, Kelcey Mawema, Morgan Taylor Campbell, Camryn Manheim, and Viv Leacock are set to star in Lifetime’s new original movie Cruel Instruction.
Inspired by true events, Cruel Instruction tells the story of Kayla Adams (Mawema), a 16-year-old who was sent to a youth residential treatment center by her mother Karen Adams (Bailey) at the suggestion of a school counselor. While at the Utah facility—led by headmistress Miss Connie (Manheim)— Kayla, her roommate Amanda (Campbell), and the rest of the residents are subjected to draconian treatments including force-feeding medications, arbitrary punishments, solitary confinement, verbal and physical abuse to keep the students in line.
But when Kayla and Amanda reach their limit, they band together to survive and fight to expose the abuse before it’s too late.
Cruel Instruction will premiere on March 12 at 8 p.m. ET.
Following the airing of the original movie, Lifetime will air the special Beyond the Headlines: Cruel Instruction featuring interviews with real-life treatment program survivors. The doc will highlight the allegations of abuse in this underregulated industry and the PTSD and anxiety that many survivors continue to live with.
Lifetime also announced its partnership with the nonprofit organization Breaking Code Silence to shine a light on the abusive practices of teen residential treatment programs.
Breaking Code Silence is a survivor-led nonprofit organization that represents people who were or are incarcerated in the “troubled teen industry” that advertise the ability to relieve adolescents of social, emotional, and academic struggles.
As an organization, Breaking Code Silence works to eradicate institutional child abuse, and empowering survivors to heal and create positive social change through self-advocacy.
Cruel Instruction is produced by Lighthouse Pictures In association with Mar Vista Entertainment and Happily Ever After Films for Lifetime. Craig Baumgarten, Stanley M. Brooks, Jamie Goehring, and Shawn Williamson serve as executive producers. Brooks also directs with the script from Adrienne Rush.