US school for disabled forces students to wear packs that deliver massive electric shocks
Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Center for the disabled, located in Massachusetts, violates the UN Convention against Torture.
The rights group submitted their report this week, titled "Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center," after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students.
Findings in the MDRI report include the center's practice of subjecting children to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of feet and torso -- in many cases for years -- as well as some for more than a decade. Electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child's back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEI).
The disabilities group notes that stun guns typically deliver three to four milliamps per shock. GEI packs, meanwhile, shock students with 45 milliamps -- more than ten times the amperage of a typical stun gun.
A former employee of the center told an investigator, "When you start working there, they show you this video which says the shock is 'like a bee sting' and that it does not really hurt the kids. One kid, you could smell the flesh burning, he had so many shocks. These kids are under constant fear, 24/7. They sleep with them on, eat with them on. It made me sick and I could not sleep. I prayed to God someone would help these kids."
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Mother Jones magazine published an extensive investigative report on the Rotenberg Center in 2007 titled "School of Shock." Reporter Jennifer Gonnerman asked, "How many times do you have to zap a child before it's torture?"
Children at the Judge Rotenberg Center are often shackled, restrained and secluded for months at a time, the report says. Social isolation, and food deprivation as forms of punishment are common. Mock and threatened stabbings -- to forcibly elicit unacceptable behaviors resulting in electric shock punishments (Labeled as Behavioral Research Lessons or BRLs, by the center) were reported to MDRI as well as state regulatory bodies. . . .
"One girl who was blind, deaf and non-verbal was moaning and rocking," a former teacher says in the report. "Her moaning was like a cry. The staff shocked her for moaning. Turned out she had broken a tooth. Another child had an accident in the bathroom and was shocked."
The rights group investigation found that the Rotenberg center is the only known facility in the United States, "Or perhaps the world," that employs the use of electricity, long-term restraints and other punishments to deliberately inflict pain upon its children and then refer to it as "treatment."
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Update: Please see comments for context I felt but was unable to write.