By Kim Stagliano
My God... In this week after Passover and Easter, "'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
Please take a look at this petition to SHUT DOWN the barbaric Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts. This "school" (and Abu Graib is a summer camp) uses electric shock as a behavioral treatment. Painful, aversive, out of date, last ditch, aw who cares it's just mentally disturbed kids and autistic kids who are probably in the last place on earth that will take them electric shock. Yes, Massachusetts (which happens to be my homestate) the ultra-liberal blue state where anything goes - except medical rights and freedom and respect and decency for children and their families. The state where Justina Pelletier languishes in DCF after having been taken from her family by Children's of Boston.
Here is the start of the petition by a former teacher's aide at Rotenberg. As an aside, my Dad, now 91 years of age, played golf with Judge Ernie Rotenberg back in the 60s and 70s. And rumor has it, the Judge was a lot like Judge Smails - he used a "footwedge" to boost his scores. His wife Gladys died just last year, her service held at the Synagogue in the town where I grew up. The dichotomy, or irony (which seems too glib a word to suffice here) of this school having been named after a Jewish man - a school that tortures and maims as viciously as any concentration camp as far as I can see, is as vivid as the burns on the boy's body.
That any student remains there speaks to the tragedy of mental health and autism care for teens and children. There are so few good choices. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO! For the Alex Spourdalakis's, the Sky Walker's, kids who need care and medical treatment - not torture, the Rotenberg Center should be closed down for cheating children out of their very lives - it is barbaric and inhumane. NOW.
The video is disturbing, please be aware. Kim
I deeply regret having worked as a teacher’s assistant at The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), a “special needs school” in Canton, Massachusetts, where children and teenagers with autism and other disabilities are administered electric shocks as a means of controlling their behaviors.
I joined the JRC because I thought I would be helping these special needs students. But it became clear that this practice was painful, traumatic, and more harmful than good. I never would have used these "GED" shock devices had JRC not told me and other staff in training that the GEDs had been “approved by the FDA”. When asking an administrator about the severe thick and bloodied scabby injuries all over students' bodies, I was told that these machines had been tested and were “proven to be safe” as necessary to get FDA approval. I did not know until 2012 that this was a lie!
The human rights abuses taking place at the JRC are well documented. In 2013, the United Nations in “Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez,” unequivocally stated that the methods used at the JRC are “torture” in violation of international human rights standards.
Please see the short video of Andre McCollins strapped down on a restraint board by lock and key, and shocked repeatedly over seven hours. It's hard to watch but the video shows Andre, who has autism, being being shocked for refusing to take off his coat. He was embarrassed that he had been forced to wear the clothes of another student that morning that he was concealing with his jacket, and people with autism sometimes have difficulty with change.
Read and sign the petition at Shut Down Rotenberg Center Change.org.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel, House of Cards; A Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.