Will Video of Teen Being Shocked 31 Times Shut Down Rotenberg School?

Red Eft

Former Staff
May 2007
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In 2007, we ran a devastating exposé of the Judge Rotenberg Center, a "school" that took mentally and psychologically troubled kids from across the country and treated them by hooking them up to electrodes and shocking them whenever they misbehaved or displayed symptoms of their disorders, like autism. Reports from former students and staff were horrific, and Jennifer Gonnerman's extensive reporting helped launch or fortify state and local investigations in the school, and its founder Matthew Israel. Yet despite the investigations and ongoing lawsuits, the school managed to stay open open.

Last month the school was targeted by Anonymous, which released a video condemning the "torture" of its students. But the video that may truly take down Rotenberg for good is below. Just yesterday this footage of a Rotenberg student being restrained and shocked for hours was played in a Massachusetts courtroom: VIDEO AT SITE

The disturbing video, which Boston's Fox 25 received permission to air despite the objections of Rotenberg's lawyers, shows a 2002 incident in which 18-year-old Andre McCollins was restrained, face-down, on the floor of a classroom, and then given 31 shocks—all because he had refused to take off his coat.

Will Video of Teen Being Shocked 31 Times Shut Down Rotenberg School? | Mother Jones



Here's the 2007 report Mother Jones did on this school.

Excerpt .... Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks, including some as young as nine or ten. Nearly 60 percent come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab.

The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.
 

highway234

Former Staff
Feb 2010
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Man, torture is just all the rage these days. Thanks Bush!
 

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
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So. Md.
I would hope the school gets shut down. Shocking kids for anything is bad enough, but shocking some for displaying symptoms of their autism? That's seriously warped. I can't believe they haven't been shut down before now.
 
Oct 2010
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Man, torture is just all the rage these days. Thanks Bush!
Thanks Obama for allowing Bush and Cheney to do a "happy dance" for taking part in it.

Once the President of the United States sends the message that is is the morally correct thing to do. Then of course pathetic people like those at this school will run with it claiming it's the morally correct thing to do.
 
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highway234

Former Staff
Feb 2010
18,470
8,094
I've Got Nowhere Else to Go
Thanks Obama for allowing Bush and Cheney to do a "happy dance" for taking part in it.

Once the President of the United States sends the message that is is the morally correct thing to do. Then of course pathetic people like those at this school will run with it claiming it's the morally correct thing to do.
yup, totally. obama's managed to codify and legitimize it, which is nearly as bad as doing it himself.

i really think the whole culture's changed, though, since all this started. you see more and more TV shows and movies like "24" that show sympathetic heroes doing torture and having it work. As far as I can tell this school wasn't even trying to hide the fact that it was torturing its students... it's pretty dispiriting.
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
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Ohio
Did the parents give permission for their kids to be treated this way?