Don’t Torture Children

Tonight I watched a news story about the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), a residential facility for autistic and other children with behavioral problems. It is known as a school of last resort and has a controversial history.

Whatever the fuck they’re doing there, they admit to using “Level III Aversives” (i.e. electric shocks) to “treat” children with a variety of disabilities including attention-deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a  New York State Department of Education report — emotional problems, and criminal and abuse histories.

The “school” collects almost $250,000 per student from city and state taxes. A film of a frantic autistic teenager being subjected to 31 rounds of electric shocks is available here. It is disturbing, so be warned!

Among efforts to stop JRC from abusing its residents is a report by Disability Rights International filed with Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, charging that the severe pain and suffering being inflicted on children violates the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

JRC published a reply to this report on its website. Here is the best part and by “best” I mean most breathtakingly stupid and repugnant.

“Under state and federal law, non-disabled individuals have the right to choose aversive therapy to treat behavioral problems such as smoking and drinking. Preventing disabled persons from the opportunity to avail themselves of aversive therapy for their own behavior problems, would be an invidious discrimination against disabled persons.”


Ha! Incredible.

I know three mothers whose teenagers had to spend time in  residential  facilities after too many violent incidents. These mothers love their kids and want them to learn self control. I know how hard things can get. But torturing children is immoral under any circumstance. Torturing children with  disabilities  is a crime and a sin.

I can’t believe these fuckers get away with this. They probably have plenty of money to pay off legislators but perhaps with enough pressure this awful place can be shut down. If you’d like to learn more, go here and here.
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12 Responses to Don’t Torture Children

  1. littlebadwolf says:

    makes one long for sophie portnoy, or even joan crawford at home.

  2. deja pseu says:

    Holy shit. This is the kind of thing that gives me nightmares, as the mother of a developmentally disabled (and currently “behaviorally challenged”) teenager. How the fuck do they get away with this???

  3. Cricket9 says:

    And how autistic children “avail themselves” of aversive therapy? Do they ask “please give me electroshocks 31 times so I can get better”? Holy crap, this is truly disgusting.

  4. patni says:

    I watched that show too. Un-fucking believable.

  5. David Duff says:

    Let’s not be too hasty, here! In various restaurants, aircraft, theatres, supermarkets and other public spaces I have often wondered, sometimes aloud, as to whether infanticide is really and truly all that bad?

  6. Andra says:

    People should be licensed to breed.

  7. Erika says:

    I signed the petition. It’s amazing the cruelty that is allowed against anyone that is a ward of the state but this s on a whole other level. The doctor is obviously demented and experimenting with his torture devices. I don’t understand how this is allowed.

  8. kate says:

    when people abuse children in the name of science or religion, it makes me mad that that’s all people need to hear as an excuse. call it what it is- sadism. control issues.

  9. ali says:

    ha! I watched that too. internet not working. broke up with my boyfriend (and best friend) that morning and needed distraction. Would have preferred a chick flic…but instead this program came on. I’ve been haunted by it all weekend. Torture is a very slippery ethical slope… and in order not to be corrupted, we have to be black and white about it.
    Another point against it: This is CONDITIONING. I HATE BF SKINNER and any one who abides by behaviorism. i find it disgusting. It warps NURTURE/nurturing into a grotesque practice.

    anyway… it put things into prospective. My life is great. No crying into my beer over a breakup while shit like this is going on in the world.

  10. ali says:


  11. Bevitron says:

    Good Lord. There is no way on earth I could watch that film. How unbelievably disturbing, and how disturbed the perpetrators of the “treatments.” It makes me think of the horrors of Walter Freeman and his traveling lobotomy show in the mid-20th century.

  12. Tom says:

    “Local family catches caretakers’ abuse on camera” seen on channel 8 san diego news Sept 19th 2012. Just horrific! Why is there such a rise in abuse of autistic people? What does this say about the soul beat of our society?

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