Special Education
Faced with the challenges of educating special needs children, some parents are resorting to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, an educational facility in Canton, Massachusetts. The school takes in children with severe autism, mental retardation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other kinds of emotional disturbances. It attempts to change their behavior through the use of a complex system that includes shock therapy on children as young as 9 to 10 years old. The school has become subject to numerous government investigations and lawsuits, since in its 36 year history it has overseen the death of six children. A story recently published in Mother Jones Diary tells the experience of one student who was sent to the Rotenberg Center after numerous behavior incidents throughout his childhood that were caused by his exposure to drugs as a fetus. The student was obligated to wear a 10 lb. backpack that contained a battery that was hooked to electrodes that were attached to his body and would shock him when he exhibited aggressive behavior. Only while showering was he allowed to take off the backpack and even then, he was not able to lose all the electrodes off his body. The student described the experience as humiliating and demeaning. Although some parents have been pleased with the results produced by the school’s behavior modification techniques, Massachusetts officials have twice tried to shut down the center. These attempts to shut down the center were fueled by doubts over the real results of their system, but failed due to outcries from satisfied parents.
Members bite back: