Court Rules School Can Use Electric Shock as Punishment For Special Needs Students

By John Vibes

Bristol County, MA – Family Court Judge Katherine Field denied a motion to stop the use of electric shock on disabled students, a form of punishment that has been controversial for years after news of the practice first reached the public in 2013 when video surfaced of an 18-year-old student receiving dozens of shocks for refusing to take off his jacket.

“(The state) failed to demonstrate that there is now a professional consensus that the Level III aversive treatment used at JRC does not conform to the accepted standard of care for treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Judge Field wrote in her decision.

The facility in question is the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC), a special needs day and residential school in Canton, and it is the only school in the country that still uses electric shocks on its students. Records show that at least 58 students at the school have received shocks as of August 2017.

Despite the obvious ethical concerns with this practice, there is a cult-like support among the staff and even some parents for what they call “aversive treatment.”

A statement from the JRC Parents Group reads:

As parents whose children attend and received treatment at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) we welcome the court’s ruling and repudiation of Massachusetts government officials at the Department of Developmental Service (DDS), who acted in bad faith and impermissibly made treatment decisions for JRC Clients—our children, just as officials within the agency had done in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, the students being subjected to this abuse obviously disagree, and there are several former staff members who are now speaking out against the use of electric shock.

Whistleblower Greg Miller, who taught at the facility from 2003-2006, told MassLive.com that he truly believed that this barbaric therapy was saving lives.

“I believed in that place at first because I was told that it was the only place in the world that could really save these kids lives and most of them would be dead if they weren’t hooked up to the electric shock,” Miller said.

Miller said that electric shock was used on students for the smallest infractions, even something as small as standing up or speaking without permission. Eventually, he began to observe that the students were horrified of the shocks and they were rarely aggressive enough to require such a painful punishment.

“I was seeing more and more ways I could do something other than shock the students,” Miller said.

Miller ultimately quit, unable to cope with the ethical dilemma that came along with the job.

The use of shock therapy has been proven to be ineffective, and it is not used very often because other treatments work much better.

People don’t use it anymore because they don’t need to. It is not the standard of care. There are alternative procedures that do not involve aversives like electronic shock. And I am not talking about drugs as an alternative. I am talking about other behavioral treatments,” Dr. William Pelham, a behavioral specialist, and director of the Center for Children and Families at the State University of New York at Buffalo, told The New York Times.

The things that have taken place at JRC have prompted calls for the FDA to ban the use of electric shock as a punishment for students, but the FDA has ignored the issue and even had protesters arrested for attempting to raise awareness about the issue outside of their headquarters.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. John just won a 3-year-long battle with cancer, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments consider subscribing to his podcast to support. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.


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8 Comments on "Court Rules School Can Use Electric Shock as Punishment For Special Needs Students"

  1. Another judge that needs two behind the ear.

  2. Give that judge’s children some of the treatment and see how they like it. I can’t believe that any intelligent adult would even consider such barbaric treatment of another person, especially when that person is a special needs child. If they really think it’s ok, they should be ok with doing it to their own children, yes?

  3. So you can’t use corporal punishment on naughty students which is what worked for hundreds of years but you can brutally use electric shock & abuse them with police arrest!
    Wow! We’re lost.

  4. Veri Tas 102 | July 2, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Reply

    The world has become one great big gulag. Mandated medication/vaccination, forced electro-shock abuse, corporation-inflicted genetically engineered and synthetic ‘foods’ for the masses, rigged elections, censorship, …

    We must withdraw our consent and participation. It’s the only solution.

  5. How horrendous! This judge needs to be removed from office immediately before another case of legal torture comes before the court.

  6. Prosecute the perpetrators for assault and be done with the so-called controversy.

  7. Patricia P. Tursi | July 8, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Reply

    As a psychologist, I am horrified.

  8. Rob Gillespie | July 12, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Reply

    This is sadly all too believable. Children are not property! Not the property of their revolting parents, nor that of this disgusting judge (acting, I guess she imagines, in loco statis…). I don’t give a god damn if this “treatment” “works”: it is assault; an initiation of force against an individual who has NOT first acted forcibly on anybody else. That’s supposed to be illegal – and certainly unethical – in this country. The parents, and even possibly the school administrators may have some excuse for not knowing this, but the judge has none. I once suggested that a judge needed to be removed from a courtroom at the end of a rope. For this one it should be an electrical cord wired up to a big truck battery with an experienced torturer from GitMo at the switch. The idea that she has (or that any of the parents that love this have) any family members who will even tolerate their presence is just too sad to contemplate.” Apparently this has been going on, and known about, for a very long time. Does this institution of brutality receive any tax money from the state? If it does, why haven’t decent taxpayers launched a ballot initiative to strip it of such support? Is there still time to do it this year?

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