Torture school subjects children to lethal punishments

Mother Jones has a long, chilling feature on The Judge Rotenberg Education Center, a private radical behavior-modification school based in Canton, Mass. The school is run by a rogue behaviorist who uses discredited "punishment" techniques -- electroshock -- on children as young as nine to change their personalities. Matthew Israel, the school's $400,000/year executive director, straps homemade, overpowered shock apparatus to children (including severely autistic and retarded kids) and has his staff administer strong shocks for even minor infractions. Some children have been shocked thousands of times a day, and several children have died at the school.

Eight states send troubled children to the school, where "high functioning" kids are "educated" by being sat in front of computers all day, running through automated tutorial programs. Talking, fidgeting, or acting out during this "school" time is punished with shocks. Some kids' shock apparatus misfires, shocking them without any provocation. The staff are instructed to activate the shock apparatus out of sight of the children, so that they can't mentally or physically prepare for it.

The Rotenberg process lacks any kind of scientific basis, and the school uses a 20-year-old film of its "successes" to convince parents to send their children to the program -- however, some of the success stories in the film are still institutionalized at Rotenberg 20 years after their "cure," wheelchair bound and in terrible shape.

Then, in June of 2006, a report produced by the New York State Education Department threatened to destroy the program's carefully cultivated image. A group of investigators, including three psychologists, spent five days at the Rotenberg Center and compiled a 26-page document packed with damning findings.

* Staff shock kids for "nagging, swearing, and failing to maintain a neat appearance" and once threatened to shock a girl who sneezed and then asked for a tissue.
* Some students must "earn" meals by not displaying certain behaviors. Otherwise they are "made to throw a predetermined caloric portion of their food into the garbage."
* When students enter and leave the school each day, "almost all" are wearing some type of restraints, such as handcuffs or leg shackles.
* "Students may be restrained"--on a four-point restraint board or chair--"for extensive periods of time (e.g. hours or intermittently for days)."
* Some students are shocked while strapped to the restraint board.
* A "majority" of employees "serving as classroom teachers" are "not certified teachers."
* Rotenberg's marketing reps bestow presents on prospective families--"e.g. a gift bag for the family, basketball for the student."
* Although the center has described its shock device as "approved" by the fda in its promotional materials, it "has not been approved."
* The facility collects "comprehensive data" on behaviors it seeks to eliminate, but "there was no evidence of the collection of data on replacement or positive behaviors."
* The facility makes no assessment of the "possible collateral effects of punishment such as depression, anxiety, and/or social withdrawal."



  1. I am utterly stunned that this kind of stuff is legal in the US. Here in the UK we outlawed capital punishment years ago, but even before then this kind of thing would have had them locked up for child abuse.

    Seriously, can any Americans out there explain how this is legal?

    Reminds me of a documentary I saw about a school in the Caribbean that US parents would send their “disruptive” teenagers to for similar “treatment”.

    I am utterly flabbergasted.

    1. I really don’t think it is. It’s child endangerment if nothing else. I just don’t think they’ve been found out yet, or they tiptoe around the laws and keep their punishments just barely within the law.

  2. If half of what’s alleged here is true, this place should be shut down immediately. While reading, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” came to mind, and then I imagined myself in that situation, knowing what was happening was wrong, but unable to fight it without being destroyed by the shocking. I can’t imagine any other reaction than lashing out against the “teachers” if I was there.

    How can a place like this be allowed to exist? Probably because we waste our time worried about homosexual marriage and invisible enemies.

  3. 26 pages? Thats it? 1 page for a title, 2 pages for works cited….they were probably looking for all sorts of ways to cut corners just so they could move on to a story with more substance.

  4. Pity that Mother Jones page has an annoying
    “sidebar” scroller menu that obscure the first several paragraphs of EACH PAGE IN THE ARTICLE.
    This really sucks for readers, and makes me want to subscribe to Mother Jones (NOT!)

  5. I’m sorry to say this, but these ‘people’ should be punished through their own methods, and see if that works for them!

    Electroshocks might work in conjunction with therapy. But from this report it seems as if there is no therapy for these people.

    And what kind of message are they teaching these kids, if they aren’t allowed to socialize or otherwise interact with other human beings during class. If all they are allowed to do is sit at a computer, stare at the screen and virtually do nothing?

    I also wonder about the parents.
    Do they really do no investigation into the history of the school they are sending their children to? Don’t they hear anything negative from the kids themselves?

  6. I got two pages into the Mother Jones article before realizing I was about to vomit. This is just sick. I wrote a story about a school just like this years and years ago, and it’s bizarre and terrifying to learn that my paranoid nightmares of a pedagogical dystopia were actually happening somewhere to someone else.

  7. this sounds a lot like the University of Minnesota Spankological Protocol, which we all know worked soo well for Ned Flanders

  8. this is the kind of story that makes you either really angry or just pitifully sad that this can exist. looks like the guy studied under Skinner.

    “I studied psychology under the late B.F. Skinner as an undergraduate, as a graduate student, and as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University.”

    that explains something as well.

  9. I’m reminded of Anti-Trauma, Inc. from John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider:

    “… I work for Anti-Trauma, Inc, you see. Very sensibly, the moment Gail’s parents detected signs of deviant behavior in her, they signed her pu for a full course of treatment. … it was all a setup, naturally. We dosed her with scotophobin and shut her in a dark room, to negate the womb-retreat impulse, gave her a phallic weapon to degrade residual sexual envy, and turned an anonymous companion loose in there with her. When she struck out, we turned up the lights to show her mother’s body lying all bloody on the floor, and then we gave her the chance to run like hell. With me trailing her, of course. Wouldn’t have wanted her to come to any harm.”

  10. Can I be the first to take advantage of the commenting system and say th S scks nd this wouldn’t happen in the UK (well, these days anyway)?


  11. MeepMeep, this is NOT typical of things that occur in the US. I think all US BoingBoing readers are as aghast at this as you are, and we’d appreciate your not bunching us into the same group of psycopaths that operate this “school”.

    Thanks, BoingBoing, for bringing this into the light of day. May we find a way to quickly eliminate this institution.

  12. Actually…electroshock therapy (ECT) was introduced by Ugo Cerletti, an Italian psychiatrist, in 1938. The New York State Psychiatric Institute introduced ECT into the United States about a year later. S t pprs tht th whl d f shckg ppl cm frm crss th pnd frst.

  13. h, hw ls d y gt thrgh t th sprgr/tstc typs? nd ftr ll, thy nd p trtrng ll f s wth thr “vrsv” bhvr n scl sttngs, th wrkplc, tc, whr w r frcd t ntrct wth thm.

  14. Well, got my daily dose of nausea in nice and early. Canton is right next to the town I grew up in and I’ve never heard of this place, although after reading all the material this doesn’t seem surprising. Gross stuff.

  15. I’m confused as to how this is legal. It is especially odd, since the general scientific community has long ceased using shocks in any of their experiments, let alone on children.

    And, as long as we’re sharing what this reminds us of, I couldn’t shake the image of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters zapping that guy even though he got the questions right because Murray wanted to sleep with the girl he was also testing.

  16. This story shocks me deeply. It’s almost incredible that this place exists. It is incredible that it’s allowed to continue to exist now.

    @Meepmeep – yes, here in the UK that would not happen; however there have been several cases of institutional abuse of children in care. “Institutional” meaning as a result of an institution’s policy, not because of a rogue criminal abuser.

  17. Uh, wait a minute, kids shocked thousands of times a day? How is that possible? How could they do anything but shock these kids for every waking minute?

    Please understand, the reality may be bad enough. Exaggerating it makes it less believeable, not more.

  18. My european upbringing brings me to believe this is a hoax. Unfortunately, every time I’ve thought that in the past, I learned a new form of atrocity that’s possible in the US.

    Isn’t this a rather obvious case of assault? Is it legal in the US to torture your kids?

  19. Hm. Maybe not nowadays, but from what I’ve seen in The Wall, it was no picnic ;)
    This is truly awful… I don’t understand how something like this is allowed to continue. Now people that can afford can pay to have their children abused. Amazing.


  20. So then, you’re sure that things like that don’t happen in the UK, right. If I were you I wouldn’t say things like that — you would be surprised what the government of ANY country will do.

  21. I’m pretty sure this falls afoul of many state and federal laws, and would not be surprised if they are shut down soon, and many of the teachers arrested now that this is getting some publicity.

    These kinds of shock techniques are exactly what one would do to create learned helplessness. In the early experiments on learned helplessness, it was found rats could be killed just by splashing water on them while preventing them from getting away. Shocks work even faster. For the kids that do survive, they will have a lifetime of issues to work through, far worse than whatever they had beforehand.

  22. ls, f y’r llwd t sy th S scks n ths nw cmmntng systm, cn sy wht thnk f th K?

    Th K scks, nd t’s bsclly sclst plc stt

  23. I agree with Mike8787, it’s hard to imagine how this could -possibly- be legal … good lord. And it’s been in operation for 36 years?? What on earth becomes of the people who grow up and eventually get out of the system? There are a whole lot of ways to mess a kid up good but this one seems particularly heinous and difficult to overcome ….

  24. It’s far far worse than even the info you guys have. I work at a Special Ed school in the area, and we always see the Judge Rotten-berg guys at the conferences, etc. It’s been a while, so my info may be a bit old, but if I recall correctly, the walls are all painted these outrageous, bright bright colors. They play “music” — loudly — and the cafeteria has these weird flashing light things. Basically, they philosophy is that they’ll reach the kids with sensory stimulation on *all* fronts (not just physical sensations, as with the shocks, but visual, auditory, etc.). I don’t know that they consider the violent colors or sounds to be “punishment”, but it certainly isn’t soothing or restful.

    And for that matter, there has been research on the best colors and environment for a classroom to stimulate learning. I know that for some reason, pink is good (it’s “soothing”) but other neutral and cool colors are supposedly good for having people feel calmer in a room, and hopefully access learning.

    I know 2 people who interviewed there, and promptly left as soon as possible when they saw what things were like. (Most likely, they have unlicensed teachers working because they can’t *get* licensed ones…it’s a common problem in private Special Ed schools, since they can’t afford to pay as much as public schools.)

  25. “What’s good for a hangover?”
    “Drinking heavily the night before.”

    This would seem to be a macabre version of the same joke!

    “What’s good for troubled children?”


  26. I have trouble reading this as non-fiction, sounds like something from Huxley or Orwell. What a horrendous fucking story… I’m shaken to my core that this is allowed to go on.

  27. Sounds like a paradise for twisted sadistic torture freaks who like to prey on the innocent and the helpless. It sickens me to think that they are doing this to children. Profoundly tragic, profoundly sad.

    So what can we do, boing, boing? Is this just another story that gets forgotten about after two days? Who do we write, who do we call, where can we protest or hold up a sign? Who do we hold accountable?

  28. What’s worse: I grew up in that town, and remember very little outrage over this place. It felt like they moved in quietly, and that very few Canton children attended. But the place is so provincial. What happened in those walls largely stayed within those walls.

  29. It’s good to see that the spirit of Dr. Mengele is alive and well n mrc…

    I hope that the “staff” members at this “clinic” are arrested and charged with torture…

  30. WHAT THE HELL! I can’t even believe this is legal! THIS IS ABUSE! Someone needs to go down there, and I swear I mean every word or this, with a loaded shot gun and save every last one of those poor kids! How can people sit idly by living there lives when this is happening! How can this be legal in america? I can’t believe it is and I can’t believe it’s real! What the hell is wrong with people? If no one will do it I will! I swear. Something has to be done now!

  31. In the mid 1990’s I dated a woman who worked for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation. Specifically, she was a part of an oversight commission that monitored schools and institutions that served the needs of developmentally disabled citizens. She personally investigated this school and was sickened by what she saw. It sounded like something from a Star Trek episode or maybe A Clockwork Orange.

    DMR attempted to bring them to court to either shut them down or change their ways, but failed. The parents of many of the students testified on behalf of the school, saying that this therapy was the only hope that their violent children would ever have of living outside of an institution! I remember my girlfriend in tears at the verdict. She fought the good fight, and had the backing of DMR, but they were allowed to keep there licensing and obviously this practice continues a decade later. Just disgusting.

    And those little control boxes pictured dangling from the belt of the staff member are indeed what is used to bring the pain.

  32. Sorry, the San Diego article does nothing to convince me that this is anything but cruel, barbaric, and sadistic.

    This is absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong — what do we do to bring this into the spotlight where the public outrage can be unleashed?

  33. I have personally toured the Judge Rotenberg Center and based on that experience I can say that the atrocities cited in this article are sadly exaggerated. The shock treatment, Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED), is used as a last resort to reduce behaviors whereby the student inflicts serious harm on him or herself (e.g., self-biting, banging head on floor). In these cases the pain inflicted by the shock is much less that the pain the student would otherwise inflict on him/herself. Even in these cases the GED treatment is only used after other, less aversive, procedures have failed and there is always a focus on teaching appropriate alternative behaviors and fading/eliminating the GED procedure altogether. The procedure is approved for each student on a case-by-case basis, and requires a court order and parental consent. Staff receive intensive training on when to administer the procedure and are required to experience the shock procedure (i.e,. be shocked) before attaining authorization to administer shocks. The entire facility is monitored via closed circuit television and each administration of a shock is logged and reviewed. There is a zero tolerance policy for accidental or inappropriate administrations of the shock. The parents who criticize the usage of the procedure are not the parents of the students for whom the procedure was successful.

    I do concede that the acronym for the procedure is very unfortunate.

  34. I guess the parents would like their children to be more “normal”.

    Does the school have a special employee who decides what “normal” is?

    Or do they all “just know” ??

  35. “Unreal Spot,”

    Desperate situations doesn’t make desperate actions appropriate. As a mother, I cannot bear to read that entire article, so I may not be as informed as I should, but my opinion is this:

    These children are being treated like Skinner’s dogs. Not even dogs should be treated like this. Being tied down and forced to wear a white-noise helmet? Shocks? Depriving food? Meanwhile NO psychological counseling? NO psychiatric treatments? NO medication whatsoever?

    These children need to at least be met half-way. Torture isn’t going to help them.

  36. Wow! I’m proud that we’re so much more advanced than the People’s Republic … whatever they do.

    Punishment is reward. Torture is love. Kibbles are food.

  37. everyone who works there needs to be arrested and investigated while in detention.
    all documents and people removed from the building.
    then it needs to be burnt to the fucking ground.
    then take the 400k a year chief psychopath of this operation, find any other leaders who’ve retired and execute them on the still smoldering remains.

  38. I have to agree with Unreal. This place is a school of last resort. This is a situation where it is hard to know without walking in someone’s shoes. Kids are sent here when parents and school officials are at the end of their rope. We should all be thanksful that we don’t have to deal with such misery.

    Some human beings are just broken. It’s terrifying to consider. Yeah, this place is awful and barbaric, but anyone who has ever dealt with kids knows that even the sanest and healthiest of them can be absolute monsters at their worst. Now consider children that are so fundamentally flawed that normal discipline is impossible. Something so physically wrong with their minds and bodies that they are like a permanently raging drunk. I know I would not have the patience to deal with it.

    The high cost of this place is a good thing, as it deters all but the most desperate. Here’s my challenge to the critics: Cite a better alternative for the most desperate cases.


  39. Wow. If you want your kids abused, why not just do it yourself? Save thousands of dollars!

    I think there was a Law & Order episode based on this school.

  40. Unreal Spot, lummels:

    My only experience like this was in rescuing an abused Rottweiler from a tow-truck yard.

    That dog was the living embodiment of having a heart of gold, having many people loving you and supporting you, but still succumbing to demons, undeservedly.

    I am glad I was able to give that dog 2 years of joy. But ultimately, it had to be put down because it was a fear biter, it had a devastating and practiced bite, and the fact that it was a sweetheart the vast majority of the time just lulled people into a false sense of security. I have the ability to defend myself against the enraged surprise attack of a large Rottweiler with a practiced bite, but it was unreasonable to expect the people around us to be able to do the same.

    There are self-described “dog trainers” that will “break down” a dog, in the same manner that I imagine these children are “broken down”, with unrelenting physical punishment. It is advertised as an alternative to destroying an animal. I imagine it is effective, to some degree. I would never make use of their disgusting services.

    My dog was humanely put down. He enjoyed days of the full attention of the people he loved, and he was allowed no anticipation of the final procedure (thanks to a vet that kindly injected an initial overdose of a sedative in my house, when the dog’s attention was occupied). The animal exited this world feeling the caresses of his trusted owner.

    Frankly, the vast majority of humans will never get the opportunity to exit this world in such a physically, emotionally, and spiritually humane way.

    But this is not an option for a human child. I imagine this whole cruel enterprise (Judge Rotenberg Education Center) is a charade to somehow mollify the tortured conscious of parents that have reached the end of their ropes. It is very important for these parents to mindlessly deny that torture takes place to control the children.

    Thank god I am not in that position with my child.

  41. Wow, this really sounds like some Nazi experimental horror. The fact that it can still exist in America today is deeply sad and reveals a shocking lack of knowledge and even interest in the causes of childhood behavior. What type of future do these children have to look forward to when they’ve been taught that because of their various developmental disabilities they deserve to be treated like prison inmates. Perhaps they can learn to “act normal”, but any chance for actual corrective psychological support has been lost and replaced with what can only be called transparent abuse.

    Such behavior on the part of the adult administrators says more about their hidden motives, wishes and inner damage than it does about any supposed intent to improve the lives of their young charges. Probably an adult reenactment of the type of emotional abuse they experienced as children, and then dissociated from as adults. As Alice Miller would put it, it’s “for your own good”.

  42. For what its worth, I’ve worked in the capacity of providing direct care for mentally ill/retarded adults who were considered dangerous. The private business providing the care made it a policy to treat them with dignity and respect, and they took individuals dangerous enough that no other provider would touch them. Universally, they all responded to respectful and kind treatment with a reduced incidence of violent and disruptive behaviors, reduced medications, and improvement in nearly every measure of positive behavior. Some of these people had been subjected to treatment similar to that described in the article throughout most of their life.

    No it isn’t easy and it takes much more work than simply punishing someone. But, then again, peaceful means always take more work than violent means.

    In other words, these people are demonstrably wrong in every sense of the word. If anyone is in need of this kind of ‘therapy’, its Matthew Israel. Perhaps if he were subjected to shocks every time one of the kids in his ‘institute’ was shocked, he could be conditioned into behaving like a non-violent member of society.

  43. Wow. I’m awestruck. I’ve actually got a few coincidental, tangental ties to this story. I have a master’s degree in psychology. I was a student of a dissenting psychologist quoted (Dr. Iwata @ University of Florida). I had friends who were raised for part of their childhood at Walden II.

    Comparisons to A Clockwork Orange are pretty spot on. This is a case of the obvious misuse of principles of Behaviorism to treat conditions that Behavior Modification has no impact on, like autism, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or even ADHD. Just like in A Clockwork Orange, Aversive Conditioning at this facility is used inappropriately to change behaviors, with zero regard to root causes. Any aversive conditioning should be a treatment of last resort (as was the case with the very few people exhibiting self injurious behavior), but should by no means be used routinely or as a first resort.

    Note also that autistic kids are EXTREMELY sensitive to environmental stimuli. The loud colors, flashing lights, and “white noise helmets” are, without hyperbole, torture devices for autistic kids.

    This all sounds like a modern day echo of A Clockwork Orange, exaggerated to an absurd degree. This facility has no business causing harm to these kids, while witholding bona fide (read: empirically supported) treatment from these sick kids. Kids with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and ADHD need meds, not aversive stimuli.

    Cases like this make me ashamed to be a psychologist. I’m disappointed that I haven’t heard about this facility until today.

  44. What REALLY shocks me (pun intended) is that this is going on in a ‘blue state’. If it was located in Alabama, I just would have shaken my head and said something racist about southerners. But it isn’t.

    I understand that some of these children may be horrifically violent and that it is considered a last resort by their desperate parents… but, a good old-fashioned thorazine-institute is far more humane than this place. Hell, putting them down like sick animals would be more humane than the daily torment they’re facing.

    Also, the jailers who run this place should be locked up forever.

  45. This reminds me alot of a Rowan Atkinson skit I remember seeing. Better not take books from his library.

    “I wondered then as I wondered now if he might not have turned out to be a very different boy, in deed, if you hadn’t administered a few fatal beatings early on.”


    Here is a youtube video of it:

  46. Spcgrvty4m & thrs,

    Thr <>s smthng tht cn b dn bt t, nd grp ddctd t lmntng psychtrc bss sch s ths.

    Y r crrct t b trgd! Psychtrc bs hs bn gng n lng tm.

    G t . Ys, th grp s spprtd by Scntlgsts, bt y dn’t hv t b n t hlp lmnt psd-scnc f mnd tht smply btrys ppl nstd f dlvrng rl, lstng hlp. Th thngs thy sy bt s, wll, tht’s wht <>ths gys r ctlly p t!

    Dn’t wt ntl thy drg <>yr chldrn t d smthng bt t. Snd mpssbl? Rd p, frnds.

  47. @angryaboutpsychs

    Nice try. Too bad these aren’t psychiatrists, but an apparent radical wing of Skinnerian Behaviorists, and the article clearly states that medication is witheld from these children.

    Recruit away, though. Facts be damned!

  48. h ys “Btnk”?

    s tht why y sd rlr n ths thrd “Css lk ths mk m shmd t b psychlgst.”

    Ltr n yr pst, y prvd my pnt by syng “Kds wth bplr dsrdr, PTSD, nd DHD nd mds. . .” Yp, drg ‘m p, ths kds wh psss dsss tht wr <>vtd nt xstnc by cnvntn f psychs!

    dn’t cr f ppl bcm Scntlgsts r nt s lng s vl s stmpd t. Wht sd r y n? (Try t sty n tpc.)

  49. AngryAboutPsychs, Your ignorent, psychology-hating science-fearing, (with the exception of science-fiction of course)scientology loving bullshit has no place here. This article is about a very disturbing situation that uses “psychology” as a guise the same way terrorists use a peaceful religion to kill people. It is NOT true psychology. It is torture plain and simple. Normally I have no trouble ignoring your silly cult as most of the harm you do is limited to taking money from rich people, however Scientology’s crusade against the science of psychology can and does harm people. That being said, this place is a disgrace and should be shut down. I feel for those poor kids…they need real help, especially after being in that hellhole.

  50. As a psychiatrist who treats children, I find this barbaric. I also see medications as a last resort option, and often find that family, systems, and governmental supports are what need tinkering with for children with special needs.

    “Angryaboutpsychs”, you look so out of place and ridiculous. We can all agree that shocking children behaviourally is wrong. However, to assert that psychiatric diagoses are wrong because a “convention of psychs” voted them into existence is asinine. Have you heard of the ICD-10? It is where all disease are “voted on and classified”, to ensure that there are standards for diagnoses. Psychiatry does this with the DSM as well, but this is for standardization and classification. They are used in practice for communication and documentation only.

  51. Im sorry but this guy needs to die in a fire.

    Mentally retarded and autistic children have NO CONCEPT of the minor infractions they committ

    Anyone who would send their kids here should get their ass royally beaten.

    This is so incredibly infuriating.

    Mike Vick did this to a dog recently and will go to jail.

    The good doctor deserves so much worse….at the very least he needs to be sent to the unlubricated sodomy ward of his local prison.

  52. Voted into existence? What?

    Just because they didn’t recognize a disorder before, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there to begin with.

  53. I don’t have any fancy Sheepskin or other qualifications to know that I would gleefully subject Dr? Rotten and his deranged staff of pedophilic sadists to a terminal dose of thier own medicine…

    One Mad Old Man

  54. While looking at their website, while you can’t link to a page directly, if you click on the link for “Optional Intensive Treatment”, look at the FAQ, you’ll notice that the entry for “How is skin shock used at JRC and what have the results been?” is not there at the moment…

  55. @angryaboutpsychs

    that’s the ticket, fight insane extremism with more insane extremism. If someone cuts off their hand, cut off your arm! It’s the only way!

  56. The founder is:

    Matthew L Israel

    who studied under B.F. Skinner at Harvard, graduating in 1960 (apparently).

    The day school, day activities center and administrative offices are located at 240-250 Turnpike Street in Canton, Massachusetts. Canton is within the greater Boston area.,+Canton,+MA&ie=UTF8&z=16&om=1&iwloc=addr

    Also if you look up Matthew L. Israel in Canton MA you can find a phone # and home address, if you’d like to complain, say.

  57. Some children are so disturbed and uncontrollable that it is either this type of teaching or they are on the streets living out their insanity.

    No regular school will have them, their parents cannot control them, they cannot remain in mental institutions forever – the state will not and can not afford it.

    We are not talking about ‘normal’ children here. If steps are not taken to control and teach them then they absolutely will be on the streets murdering, maiming and ruining your lives.

    This ‘last ditch’ effort is to try to help them and give them a chance to be productive in society. Otherwise they just end up in jail, on death row, executed.

    Sometimes love must do the unthinkable, in order to help those of us who are very different and require an altogether alien approach, in order to be corrected and connected.

  58. I read the words “higher functioning” with a shudder, for I am one such person – at the lighter end of the autism spectrum, with significant sensory acuities. I don’t think I have ever succeeded in getting across to people without autism just how hard it is to get about in their world which overloads my senses with sounds, smells, lights and vibration. Forget shocks, just vibration can be incapacitating.

    All of the stimuli this “school” is said to be using would make the “students” (i.e. victims) worse not better. It is appalling.

  59. I am continuely feeling shame for being part of the human race. What is the government doing about this barbaric behavior. Slap them all in jail and leave them there-let everybody know what they did while youre at it. We had a program on the teey a few months back about this same sort of thing being done in the 60/70’s and the people who are now adults are looking for answers and apologise for the treatment they suffered. Post another article and and lets us know when they’ve all been locked up

  60. wtf?! blame the parents! they are the retards that send their poor retarded kids there. kill em all

  61. @Angry

    You (like most Scientologists I’ve met) fail to realize the distinction between Psychology and Psychiarty. Not that I take that ignorance personally. “Psych” may be an acceptable abbreviation for both fields in your cirlces, but there are significant differences in the real world.

    Regardless, there are myraid empirical studies validating the efficacy of meds in the treatment of certain disorders, including the ones I mentioned. If you can present peer reviewed empirical studies showing better outcomes for those disorders using your preferred treatment regimen, link away. This is all moot, since (as I pointed out) this facility did not administer any meds at all to those sick kids.

    And to answer your question, I’m on the side of empirical science. Which is of course neither the side of the facility in question or the “religion” you belong to.

    For anyone who has a question about the CCHR, simply check its wikipedia entry to learn about its history.

  62. Dear AngryAboutPsychs,

    please show me the degree or accreditation that prove that you know shit one about mental illness or pharmacology.

  63. When I read this, I had to reread it and read the comments, because I thought it was fake. This is simply sickening. How this allowed is beyond me. If the US did this to prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, it would be called torture by anyone who saw it. I don’t care if this is a place of ‘last resort’ for parents, this barbarism should not be allowed to happen anywhere.

  64. It is amazing that the profit motive and corruption is not observed in big pharmacy. Efforts to expose such corruption are routinely dismissed as the ranting of wack jobs.

    See this link

    For the Bush connection to Big Pharma.

    This nut case with the electric shock for kids was being exposed and protested years ago, but it took something like Mother Jones to run with it to get credibility.

    wait you you stop dealing with the small time flakes and deal with the enrons and halliburtons in the health care industry. then it will get nasty.

  65. i read this article and the first thing i thought was why would someone make something like this up? then i googled the name and behold –>
    if you go into the brief description of the JRC and read the 4th point it describes the electric shock as
    “The most commonly used “aversive” procedure at JRC is an electrical stimulation device[1] manufactured by JRC called the Graduated Electronic Decelerator (“GED”).”
    I cant believe this actually exist, well, now i guess i have to go burn it down

  66. Great. another twisted fan of bf skinner (an un-convicted serial child molester).

    This facility is E.V.I.L.


    Torture and quackery in the extreme…masquerading as a legitimate business and taking advantage of weak minded desperate parents. Parental defense of this twisted institution being nothing more than a variant on stockholm syndrome.

    They are good at one thing though, legal defense.

    Nonetheless, all facility workers and owners, and the govt scum that allow this facility to exist belong in prison.


  67. Sorry for being anonymous, but I have no desire to register at this site. As someone who is going though ECT right now, it is a godsend. I have severe bipolar and ADD, neither of which respond well to standard medications. It is a very different thing than the alleged punishment shocks and the like. I noticed that the main site for this place purports to teach things such as “eating skills”, “alphabet recognition” and so on. Must be a real bitch to try and eat with a knife and fork while being zapped.
    As far as the folks over at CCHR are concerned, they may mean well, but they over react so strongly they do far more harm than good.

    From the inside

  68. Wll, wll-

    Wht srprs tht ‘v rsd th r f sm psychtrsts & psychlgsts. Dffrnt nms, sm clb, sm pr rslts. Myb ht nrv? Fr th rcrd, knw mny n tht gm rlly mn wll nd r frstrtd wth hvng fw rlly wrkbl nswrs.

    Ths thrd sr sn’t bt m r rlgn, t’s bt ppl bng wrngd by th msgdd trtmnts ckd p by psd-scnc n gnrl, nd bss t spcfc fclty. Bt t th nd f th dy, t hs t b bt th mny wh r n th Drk gs rgrdng mntl hlth.

    Fr y gd flks <>wtht th vstd ntrsts, sbmt t y tht ths cs s nt ctlly th xcptn, bt th rl. t’s pr fr th crs f y rlly gv t lk. hs tns f vdnc, dcmnttn & flks wth shny crdntls. (Psychs: thy hv ppl wh spk yr lngg!) Lk nt t <>thn dcd, f y thnk y hv th stmch.

    Wrnng: Th trcts n Th Jdg Rtnbrg dctn Cntr r mld cmprd t th Rcrd tht s Psychtry. Thr jst rn’t ngh ncrns ftr y gt nt ths.

    s fr cllng m t fr <>my crdntls, why wld ny sn prsn bthr lrnng wtch-dctr’s wy & lngg s h mght rg wth brbrn sng th ntv’s wn lmtd vw, hs wn lxcn f crclr thnkng & nvntd jrgn? hv lkd rthr lt t tht brbrsm. hv n nd t prv myslf. hv mvd n bcs prfr th wrkbl. nly wtch-dctr cn’t ffrd t lk hrd tsd hs prctc, bcs h’s nvstd t mch n nthng.

    Hw mny ppl r ctlly gttng bttr wth th mds? Wht r yr stts? h, tht’s rght- thy r n thm fr lf n mst css. Thr <>s n cr ftr th trtmnt. Psychtry hs gvn p n crs nd sld t t bg Phrm. Ppl, hd yr chldrn.


    Myb th nly crs fr ths vctms f fld hlp r th scds thy cmmt whn thy cn n lngr sty n thr wn skns. “cr” fr dprssn wth “sd ffct” f scd s n cr.

    LK, ppl. s ys. Jst Lk. Rlly thnk fr yrslf- thn <>tgthr w cn d smthng bt t.

  69. This is a disgraceful use of behaviorist techniques. Such strong punishment techniques are largely innefective as they can lead to escape behavior, conditioned fear and helplessness.

  70. I am beyond disgusted! Not a human or animal deserves this treatment. What on Earth are these people thinking? And what is our government doing letting insitutions like this stay open and not doing something about it. What can I do?

  71. @ angryaboutpsychs

    “As for calling me out for my credentials, why would any sane person bother learning a witch-doctor’s way & language so he might argue with a barbarian using the native’s own limited view, his own lexicon of circular thinking & invented jargon? I have looked rather a lot at that barbarism. I have no need to prove myself. I have moved on because I prefer the workable. Only a witch-doctor can’t afford to look hard outside his practice, because he’s invested too much in nothing.”

    This is as stupid as a Fundamentalist Christian refusing to study evolution — to quote you, a limited view with circular thinking.

    You can take it on faith, sure, but not all of us are sheep who mindlessly do what we’re told. Some of us like to have this little thing called “evidence”.

    Until then, I’ll treat your little science-fiction cult as what it is, science-fiction.

    P.S. L. Ron Hubbard is great at making up fantastical stories; I loved his book Battlefield Earth. When you call fantasy reality, however, we are forced to draw a line.

  72. Totally insane, the people running this place, shock treatment went out 40-50 years ago. I did a quick search and they have tried repeatably to close this place down. Seems like the parents are desperate enough to ignore the obvious and the treatment is misrepresented. Sad story!

  73. AngryAboutPsychs:

    Ah, so you can’t be bothered to learn your way around the world of psychiatry but you feel entitled to comment on it anyway? (You do realize that in the raw meat world, Tom Cruise did far more to make Scientologists look like fools than a thousand Xenu pamphlets, right?) Not that I would ever expect you to understand it, but the CCHR’s whole business is to carry out L. Ron Hubbard’s wishes to do a permanent hatchet job on psychiatry regardless of the truth of the matter. They are not an objective source.

    Anyway, how’s this. I’m chronically depressive. I have zero self-confidence and am unable to motivate myself to get a job. I need SSRIs to keep my brain from blowing up and having a psychotic break — my life is extremely chaotic, I’m not good at dealing with it, and at times the meds are the only thing that keep me from losing control and getting violent revenge on people who have pissed me off. How about you, me (off my meds for a week), and a locked room… rant your Scn bullshit at me for a few days and see how long it takes me to crack and bash your skull in with the nearest blunt object.

    C’mon, it’ll be fun, playing Russian Roulette with a crazy person. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

  74. “MeepMeep, this is NOT typical of things that occur in the US.”

    I’m sorry, the U.S seems to have quite an industry designed around behavior modification of unruly children. And yes this is barbaric, seems sort of mild to all those hiking in utah, nevada, sexual and physical abuse schools you got though. But hey, no, I’m probably just cynical. The U.S is wonderful to its kids.

    I remember my main fantasy when I was growing up in the U.S involved killing lots of people, especially the fuckers running places like this.

  75. Love when the Scientologists are handed actual facts and asked to back their views up, and start ranting about how they don’t need to.

    Right, because you can’t back up a huge scam that has no basis in anything but fantasy. Angryaboutpsychs, do us all a favor, be quiet and go believe your fantsy somewhere that doesn’t have a serious, real world issue to deal with, since your brand of garbage is just muddying the waters of a horrid, horrid story.

  76. I hate to have to talk about it, but I’m shocked and not surprised. This kind of stuff happens all the time, and everywhere. I should know, I’ve been there- not at The Judge Rotenberg Education Center, but in one of the many behaviour modification programs for “troubled” teens. The threat of aversive treatments like restraints, seclusion rooms, food or sleep deprivation, ECT, and transfer to the state mental hospital (like a roach motel- you go in, but you won’t come back out….)for the most minor misbehaviour were enough to keep the kids shit-scared and vigorously repressing any emotions that might be interpreted as maladjusted. These were not criminals or out of control, violent kids. About 60% had a history of sexual abuse-can you imagine being 13 or 14 years old, trying to get help for depression/PTSD after abuse, and ending up in 4 point restraints for a minor teenage tantrum like slamming a door or cussing? I saw it happen to other girls in the program, and I had nightmares for years.

    Curiously enough, the necessary length of treatment always coincided exactly with the amount of money the parents’ insurance policies would pay.

    It’s allowed to happen because these kids have no power and are seen as worthless- not only the severely handicapped, but anyone labelled as a problem child or mentally ill. With a diagnosis, you are considered suspect, illogical, your sense becomes non-sense, your word carries less weight than a “normal” person. I’m not denying that children’s behaviour problems or mental illness exists, but consider that many mental health conditions are cuturally (not biologically) determined- today’s ADD, ADHD, oppositional/defiant, Aspergers, etc. would have been just naughty, non-academic, bratty, or nerdy 50 years ago. Also notice how many kids at Rotenberg in the Mother Jones article have Latino or African American names.

    p.s. I had 194 days, 16 years ago, at one of these places for the crime of being defiant (read: average teenage brat) and “failing in school on purpose”. The intensive regimen of professional treatment did not pick up on the learning disability that caused me to get poor grades in the first place.
    yes, what I saw there still bothers me.

  77. (I’m the same anonymous at post #65)

    It is sad to see this valuable thread hijacked by someone with an agenda to promote an ideology.

    As a person on the higher/lighter end of the autism spectrum, I can say from personal experience that medication has a role in helping me engage with society – which is something that I want to do. I wasn’t brainwashed by a psychiatrist – it was a neurologist who prescribed an anti-epilepsy medication and it reduces the sensory overload which made me a difficult child and an isolated adult. However, psychiatrists do have useful medication for autistic people, and psychologists have some excellent approaches. (Contrast, for example, Tony Attwood’s work with what has been described in this post.) There is of course no one-size-fits-all approach to autism, and it is something that should not necessarily be “cured” and certainly not “wiped out”.

    I must say that I don’t like angry’s implication that if we approve of “psych” we aren’t thinking for ourselves. That type of argument is used where people actually don’t want us to think – all the different fundamentalist groups, for example, tell us we can’t be believers unless we believe in their particular line. Here, we can’t be really thinking unless we think like angry. It’s the same put-down.

    I don’t want to think like that. It is prejudice when we judge a whole group by the actions of some members of the group, or by a mythologised characterisation of the group.

    There definitely have been problems with psychiatry in the past, and this “school” shows that such problems still exist – in the name of psychiatry. However, unlike the 1950s when (science fiction writer) L. Ron Hubbard was campaigning against abuses (similar to this, angry) psychiatry is now on a firm scientific footing and the activity at this school falls well outside accepted practice.

    So angry, how about you have a go at thinking things out for yourself, and stop belittling what is being inflicted on these children.

  78. “No regular school will have them, their parents cannot control them, they cannot remain in mental institutions forever – the state will not and can not afford it.”

    Lots of indignation and “shock” in the comments here, but the fact is you see these unfortunate people daily on the streets, thrown out like trash and treated as criminals. They endure far worse torments and humiliation in prison and on the streets.

  79. Sickening. I’ve seen this before on Nightline maybe? 1000 shocks a day looks worse in real time. 28,800 seconds in a typical school day, it works out. Makes me nauseous. As for this
    “Some human beings are just broken. It’s terrifying to consider. Yeah, this place is awful and barbaric, but anyone who has ever dealt with kids knows that even the sanest and healthiest of them can be absolute monsters at their worst. Now consider children that are so fundamentally flawed that normal discipline is impossible.”
    It’s not even an arguement I can read without being furious. My two autistic children aren’t broken, they aren’t flawed. We struggle every day with behaviors and yes, violent, self-mutilating behaviors, but shocking them is not an option. Tying them down is not acceptable. Torturing someone for the ‘betterment’ is not a humane way of treating them, especially a child who cannot understand what is happening. Training them like dogs…what happens when you take the shock away? They are dependent on it, and once they figure out it’s gone, they regress. You are training them to depend on that for the rest of their lives. They can’t live a normal life like that, voc-rehab isn’t going to take over the GED for this school, those kids are stuck there.
    Our alternative was for me to stay home and love them. I spend every minute of my day with them, supporting them, replacing negative behaviors with positive ones, but also accepting of those stims and behaviors that make them autistic. THOSE behaviors hurt no one, and there is no cause to irradicate their soothing tactics except that they make the mainstream ‘uncomfortable’. God forbid the existance of my children make ‘normal’ people uncomfortable. It sucks. It wasn’t the way my life was supposed to be, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to send them off to be shocked to make MY life more comfortable.

  80. it’s not even so much the school that makes me angry (though it does), it’s the fact that there are parents out there willing to send their children there!! i don’t have kids. in fact, i don’t even really like kids…and yet this still makes me furious! i can’t believe anyone would allow this to happen to a child. what can these kids possibly be learning?!

  81. I actualy worked for JRC for some time. While some of what is said in this article is true and the center should by all means be shut down some is ‘spinning’ events slightly.

    For example it should be noted that each student has a list of specific targeted behaviors written by a psychologist (who’s licence should probobly be revoked) and can only be shocked for those behaviors so staff are not just ‘shocking for nagging’ except in an individual case (probobly a rather rare behavior, more typical would be threatening etc.).

    JRC gets written up by its own employees for violating various laws all the time.

    JRC should definately be shut down.

  82. To AngryAboutPsychs:

    Medications and psychiatric treatments DO WORK. I know, as I am a recipient for both. I have PTSD, ADD, ADHD and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric treatments have taught me ways to handle stressors in good ways. My medications make it possible for me to function in society. I am not drugged out of my skull, sleeping most of my life away. I am an educated person with a Master’s degree, a published author, a good wife and more.

    To throw out psychology and psychiatry because your so-called religion says it is bad, is foolish beyond belief. I would never wish my illness on another person, but for you — I would love for you to spend a week with bipolar and no medication.

  83. Posted by Michael–PhD psychologist and member of the Association for Behavior Analysis

    It should be pointed out that the procedures carried out at the Judge Rotenburg Center are not approved methods of behavior analysis (AKA radical behaviorism). Please note that neither the Association for Behavior Analysis nor the American Association for Behavior Therapy condone these practices. Getting behavior analytic methods (which are nonaversive and highly effective) accepted has been very difficult due to association with these sorts of abuses and widespread misconceptions (note the reference to Skinner’s dogs in a post below–Skinner never worked with dogs). My mentors let me know that this place was not appropriate, and I assume that others in the know warn their graduate students off too–which is probably another reason why they have few accredited/licensed staff. So, why is this place still open? Good question. I fear that sensible, knowledgeable people are generally reluctant to make a fuss because the “bad guys” are almost always more willing to escalate to ugly, confrontational situations, whereas the “good guys” are just too nice.

  84. cn’t blv (fll n tpc hr) hppns n th S!!! n th K w dd wy wth tht (fll n nmbr hr) yrs g bcs w r mr hmn.

    Ths s jst nthr rsn why yr (nsrt thr “cwby” r “Jhn Wyn” hr) tttd s s htd rnd th wrld.

    Thnk bt th (nsrt thr “chldrn” r “Plstnns” hr) th nxt tm y mrcns wnt t tk ctn.

    (nsrt pprprt Brtsh sndng frst nm hr)

  85. Wth th rght t br rms bng phld s fndmntl f mrcn scty, wld thnk th sltn t rddng th cntry f ths plc s qt bvs.

    Vglntsm srvs n mprtnt prps; nmly, t gt jstc whn th stt r ntn wn’t dlvr t.

    G t ths nstttn, n mss, nd tr th plc dwn brck by brck. Kll ny wh try t stp y.

  86. Straight out of college with an undergrad degree in Psychology I applied to work for the JRC in Canton and was accepted.

    Two days into training they started talking about the shock collars. I resigned that day.

  87. Well, hello there, Anonymous Comment #39. I see that the Judge Rotenberg Center has had a lot of practice explaining how they’re not really doing what experienced observers say they’re doing.

    Help me out with this:

    How does a “last resort” get used a thousand times a day?

    Does any other institution or organization not affiliated with yours refer to an instrument used to inflict electrical shocks as a “Graduated Electronic Decelerator”?

    The description you offer us of how and why these electric shocks are administered to the students completely fails to match what observers have reported as the actual practice at the Judge Rotenberg Center. Can you explain this?

    You attempt to justify the use of electric shocks by saying that the pain thus inflicted is less than the students would suffer from self-damaging behavior. So: (1.) The students would suffer far less pain if they were put into restraints during episodes of self-damaging behavior. Why would electric shocks be used as a substitute? Especially since we have numerous first-hand accounts of students being put in restraints on an everyday basis? (2.) We have first-hand accounts of students being given electric shocks while in restraints. They cannot have been engaging in self-damaging behavior. This seems inconsistent. Again, please explain?

    You claim that “The parents who criticize the usage of the procedure are not the parents of the students for whom the procedure was successful.” I claim that “the parents of the students for whom the procedure was successful” don’t exist.

    A physically healthy child of normal intelligence, who showed no signs of autism, could not function under the conditions that prevail at the Judge Rotenberg Center, and would be damaged by an extended stay there. To claim that retarded and autistic children can not only withstand it, but be improved by it, is a breathtakingly callous and cynical lie.

    Finally, your comment ends, “I do concede that the acronym for the procedure is very unfortunate.” Other articles about the Judge Rotenberg Center may have mentioned the GED/GED pun, but Cory never did. Is there any reason we shouldn’t believe that what you’ve posted here is recycled material? It certainly reads like it.

    In short, is there any reason why we should believe you?

    It’s not surprising that you’ve shown up here in the wake of that very revealing article in Mother Jones. I do not assert as objective fact, and yet I personally believe, that you are employed by or acting at the behest of the Judge Rotenberg Center, and that this explains both your presence here, and the smarmy disinformation you’ve posted.


    And let me point out to the rest of this thread that when this big fat piece of astroturf dropped into your laps, altogether too many of you were engaged in a brainless argument about whose country does what to whom, and thus failed to notice the presence of a much better target for your anger. Higher scores all round for dealing with the equally prefabricated anti-psychiatry posts by the Scientologist.

  88. As several people have already said, no one would be allowed to treat animals this way. I’ve been thinking about this since yesterday and what bothers me most is that apart from the total inhumanity of the “treatment,” it doesn’t even make sense as a training method. I searched again through the Mother Jones article for the bit that stuck with me:
    Employees are encouraged to use the element of surprise. “Attempt to be as discreet as possible and hold the transmitter out of view of the student,” states the employee manual. This way, students cannot do anything to minimize the pain, like flipping over their electrodes or tensing their muscles.
    Does this not demolish any argument that it’s “for the kids’ own good” by implying that it’s more important to cause maximum pain to the student than to create any association between the punishment and the behaviour that triggered it?

  89. Great post, moderator.

    Quick question, though. What’s with the missing vowels in some posts? Is that a mod tool or a bug?

  90. My spouse was sexually abused every week of her entire childhood, and then dumped in an institution like this one when she ‘rebelled’ as a teenager. Fortunately she was also very intelligent and figured out how to fake being ‘normal’ so she could eventually be released and get the hell away from her abusive family. She is 32 and still dealing with the results of this condoned abuse by family and state.

    So, perhaps it isn’t necessarily the children who belong in these institutions…

  91. You’re right, Sarah. We all know that when you’re housebreaking a puppy, you have to show it what it’s being scolded for. Staff at the JRC are deliberately sneaking up on kids, zapping them from around corners or when they aren’t looking. The kids can’t know which behavior got them zapped.

    What I know is that if you randomly reinforce behavior in rats — that is, you punish or reward them in circumstances where they can’t tell why you’re doing it — you’ll get all kinds of weird behavior out of them, but nothing anyone would call training.

    I can think of one good reason why the JRC would treat children so badly: it keeps them unsocialized, untrained, and uncontrollable. It’s a potent threat that keeps the parents on their side: Don’t let the JRC be shut down, or we’ll send these monsters home to you! The terrified parents probably sound a lot like comment #66.

    Making the kids look like hopeless cases also gives the JRC an excuse for their lack of progress. It’s been mentioned several times that they have a serious shortage of accredited personnel. If the students weren’t shell shocked, overstimulated, and scared out of their minds, those unqualified staffers would be expected to teach them things. It’s much easier to just make sure the kids are unteachable.

  92. No BS
    I temp’d at this place in 1999… what you read is TOTALLY the truth. I lasted a grand sum total of 4 hours before I called the Temp Agency and told them to get me the hell out of there.

    It was a nightmare… kids in “Hannible Lector Masks”… Kids in chains, restraints… the whole nine yards….

    I did some checking on it afterwards as I was sooooo shocked… and mind you, I was a 10 Year Military Combat Vet with Gulf War One experience, and I NEVER saw anything in 10 years of the military that could compare to this.

    The thing NOT mentioned in the article and NOT metioned in the commentary is the kids (loosely speaking) are some of the most severely retarded and metally incapacitated individuals I have ever run across… combined with the ‘students’ there are from families that are BEYOND well to do… The place is essentially a dumping ground for the Wealthy’s Genetic Defectives.

  93. Sidepoint, but what’s up with “lethal” in the headline ? Obviously crual torture it is, lethal it’s not. (sure you can kill someone with electricity, but so can you with aspirin, it’s the intent and the use that counts).
    I really don’t see the point of pimping headlines given the raw atrocity of this report.

    Cutting on the BS : always a good idea.

  94. Giving the parent the option to supplement the reward treatment with physical aversives when rewards and educational procedures alone prove to be insufficiently effective. If treatment with the use of rewards, loss of privileges, fines, other non-physical aversives, and educational procedures, prove insufficiently effective by themselves, then the parent should be given the option of supplementing the student’s program with carefully administered physical aversives. In the 1970s and 1980’s, JRC employed physical aversives such as the pinch, spank, muscle squeeze, water spray, vapor spray (mixture of compressed air and water), ammonia capsule, unpleasant taste, and white noise. During the 1991-1993 period, JRC substituted a 2-second remote-controlled shock to the surface of the skin for all of these procedures. This procedure is called the GED (Graduated Electronic Decelerator).

    At the time that JRC was starting (1971), a movement to limit the use of punishments in the raising of children was already well under way. In that year, for example, Sweden passed a law banning the use of punishment with children. (Interestingly, no punishment was specified for failing to obey the law). The use of punishments in the education and treatment of children is still, today, vigorously opposed in certain quarters and has even been banned in the regulation of certain state agencies. OCCS regulations, for example, explicitly ban the use of aversive procedures. Every year or so a bill is introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature to ban the use of aversives. (This bill has never passed, however.) Because of all this, JRC and its parents have had to battle fiercely over the years to create and preserve this important component of its treatment.

    AKA they can use it whenever they want, as many times as they want…… and it’s perfectly legal

  95. Holy God. What kind of parent sends their child to someplace like this? I don’t care how troubled or behaviorally messed up your kid is… this is truly sick!

  96. *is Anon110* A girl who is sickened by this kind of thing, who, if she had a certain kind of mom would’ve ended up in one of those places. (I don’t have any mental disorders, but I am nor sociable, I rebel and I am a bit of a problem child)

  97. There was nothing bad about anonymous #110. I was just curious. That’s a very well-informed comment.

  98. Anon113 — You beat me to it. Titticut Follies is an amazing documentary. Funny how MA and NY (Willowbrook, remember?) are notorious for institutionalized abuse of the mentally ill/disabled.

  99. It would seem that the moderator removed the vowels, thus picking sides and giving disadvantage to the looser.


  100. The moderator removed the vowels from a series of canned raps on the evils of psychiatry and the modern psychiatric pharmacopia. Scientologists will pop up and post those any time they detect a discussion of abusive mental hospitals, misbehaving therapists, drugs that don’t work as advertised, et cetera. To say they have an agenda hardly begins to cover it. It’s like being handed a press release in the middle of a conversation.

  101. i work for the center. I just want you all to know that you are all ignorant to what goes on there. more than half of you wouldnt last a day with these students off the GED system. these kids are extremely dangerous. and none of them get “shocked” for failure to maintain a neat appearance. so get your facts straight

  102. I guess alot of people are unaware of the C.I.A. programs that were during the 50’s 60’s 70’s both here and in C.I.A. hospitals in Canada. The Program went by many names as does the Devil himself. but the main name was MKUltra BlueBird Chatter Monarch it started after we won ww2 there was another program that you should be aware of.

  103. these children are a danger to mostly everyone. the low functioning population attack you for no reason. staff have gotten seriously hurt becasue of these students.. the high functioning kids rarely get shocked. before the GED system they were always getting restrained because theyd fightw ith staff. after put onto this system they now sit at their desk and can focus on their school work. These children are here because no other program can handle them or will accept them anymore. they are the worst of the worst

  104. “Some children are so disturbed and uncontrollable that it is either this type of teaching or they are on the streets living out their insanity.

    No regular school will have them, their parents cannot control them, they cannot remain in mental institutions forever – the state will not and can not afford it.

    We are not talking about ‘normal’ children here. If steps are not taken to control and teach them then they absolutely will be on the streets murdering, maiming and ruining your lives.”

    I love the scaremongering, Comment #68. Direct line from the school of last resort to OUR HOMES! Support the torture of children, or the next thing we know, they’ll be smashing our windshields and raping our women! This is a proven and supported fact, as has been shown by, uh… well, just take our word for it, okay? Bad mojo!

  105. Read “The Invisibles” by Morison. It has a scene early on that pretty much was inspired by this kind of institution. As far as truely disturbing moments in neurological surgery goes, look up the case of a botched lobotomy in the famous Kennedy family. They just kept damaging the brain until more and more functionality disappeared and it was too far along by the time they stopped. She got really unlucky to be alive at that time. :(

    I’ve seen schools where if kids choked for a second because something was funny, they’de be too damn scared of you choking to death on their watch to actually let you breath – or move! I wasn’t so sure at the time, that they didn’t think that the children had rabies or something. I know for a fact that not having the training or experience (or being ‘rusty’) can make you panic, so I figure they just didn’t want to get fired/school sued. Also, most of the people there HAD to work there. It could have even been a place they sent the “other people’s problem” employees. Doubly sucky for both the students and the workers.

    BTW What is the actual citation to a death case?

  106. This is simply awful, it makes you wonder if these “instructors” are the ones who need shock.
    I think they are in need of brutality and this way, they’re able to cause hurt which makes them feel good.

  107. To those of you who seem to believe that the US is a place where such schools are super-common and think most people here are okay with it, and that no such institutions exist where you live, please stop. I was born in Europe, but I’ve spent a longer portion of my life in the US, and I can safely say that such operations are not everywhere, it’s not ingrained into our lives, most people don’t condone it, and it’s unfair to assume they do. Not everyone in the US is an insane, violent moron who feels the need to torment others, and those who are that way are an incredibly small minority.

    Also, to AngryAboutPsychs, this is really not a good place to post a rant on the theories of Scientology. And just because someone has views different from your own, that does not make them ignorant, does not make you smart, and doesn’t really convince anyone of anything, except possibly that you don’t know what your talking about.

    And to #123, while some of the article may be a bit exaggerated, saying that people are ignorant just because they disagree with your methods actually makes you appear ignorant. Not only that, there are simply better ways to help children than harming them to the point where they simply stop acting up just to avoid harm.

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone (and I doubt I have, considering that it’s been years since someone posted here)

  108. As someone on the high functioning end of the Autistic spectrum (Asperger’s Syndrome), I know that I would have died in a place like this.

    I have been sent to a mental hospital twice on the recommendation of psychiatrists, but was lucky enough to have parents who wouldn’t tolerate me being there for very long. It was horrible there, they would give me sedative injections for acting up at all. While I wasn’t in those places I was put on extremely high level medications that made me a zombie for most of my teenage years. Not to mention the private middle school that I went to that locked you in a closet sized room when you were “bad”, which left me with minor claustrophobia.

    It was only when I was taken off all of this so called “treatment” that I have been able to fit in with society. My grades sky rocketed up after getting off of all of those meds and I am now a Junior in a normal nice private college with more friends than I have had at any other point in my life, keeping above a 3.4 GPA working towards my BBA.

    After reading about this hell hole I consider myself lucky. Just the flashing lights alone that I saw in a picture of this place would have driven me to insanity, the shocks would have driven me to suicide due to my hyper sensitivity to pain. I know I would not be in the good place I am today.

    This so called “school” is an over sized torture chamber, plain and simple.

  109. I was not at all surprised to read what had happened to the children at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center. Although my experiences do not exactly parallel those of the center, I am a victim of similar treatments and know such practices have been around for very long time and this proves things have not changed.

    As one with learning disabilities I have suffered greatly in this world. My experiences in labs at many university hospitals throughout the bay area in the late 60’s were to say extremely unpleasant to abusive. These facilities feed on the parents fears while promising to “fix” their children, while dissecting them both physically and emotionally. In reality, they were selling nothing more than snake oil and quack machines fabricated in their own engineering departments. Both the psychology and medical departments at these university’s were inducing trauma into children which tainted there own evidence.

    After the many researchers, psychologist and doctors were done with me, I was dumped into a “Special Ed class (a place of segregation for any student deemed undesirable by the school system), which had its own form of nightmares.

    Three years ago I unearthed information to back up my experiences at these universities. At that time I went to the FBI, DA, and my local representatives, and lawyers to try and gain attention to what happened and what still may be going on. What I found out was the study and research of children falls into such a grey area that any abuses or endangerment forced onto a child, short of killing them, is treated as beneficial for the greater good for that child. It sounds insane, but its true.

    Additional cause for concern is the “Hive Mentality” that takes over when a group of researchers, scientists, doctors or psychologist focus on a single path, even though it my be wrong for discovery. They become a group of zealots as the hive mentality takes over and the dangerous thinking that they cannot deviate from the path as discovery becomes more important than the child’s safety. The mentality of the legal system is that psychologist and doctors who use children in their studies will not be prosecuted by law enforcement because they are experts in their fields. The child or adult, who in later years questions such treatments, because suspect. This is my story.

    The mentality of how the psychology and medical fields affects learning disabled students in both lab situations and the educational system has to change. Laws must be created to protect these children. The long term effects from the abuses of these labs on children has gone largely undocumented. Such treatments and their long term effects need to come to light so that experiences of this type are not repeated.

    I have found there is a hidden shame tied to these professions. Modern psychologist and paediatricians do not want to know the dark secrets of their predecessors, but rather choose to hold them in a golden light of admiration. They do not want to discuss the “the good old days”, but prefer to keep the past dead and buried but they are at risk in going down the same dangerous path.

    The American Psychiatric Association and the behavioral licensing boards need to involved and get their heads out of the sand. The attitude of denial needs to go away or nothing will change. Autistic and leaning disabled are the most vulnerable to be abused in research programs today. Unless public opinion becomes so vocal against these practices, politicians and the organizations mentioned before will not change anything. Is anybody listening???

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