School of horrors

The magazine Mother Jones has a disturbing feature about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Massachusetts.

The school, formerly the Behavior Research Institute, attempts to treat or change the behaviour of troubled children, be they severely autistic, schizophrenic or emotionally disturbed. It does this through

a complex system of rewards and punishments, including painful electric shocks to the torso and limbs. Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks, including some as young as nine or ten. Nearly 60 percent come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab.

Six children have died in the centre’s care since it was founded 36 years ago, and it was the subject of a daming report by the New York Board of Education last year (read it here or the main findings here). The children are often shocked for “behaviors that are not aggressive, health dangerous or destructive, such as nagging, swearing and failing to maintain a neat appearance”.

I can not adequately treat this school of horrors on my small blog. It makes me too angry. I would encourage you to read the article but also the refutatory comment left by Dejah, who claims to be a former employee of the facility.

(Story via BoingBoing)

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0 thoughts on “School of horrors

  1. Matthew L. Israel

    Ms. Gonnerman’s article “School of Shock,” which appears in the September/October issue of the Mother Jones magazine, is an entirely one-sided and biased account of the court- and parent-approved behavior modification therapy used at the Judge Rotenberg Center to successfully treat, without drugs, severe (sometimes life-threatening) behavior problems of children and young adults with special needs that have not responded to any other form of treatment. For readers who would like to hear the other side of this story, please see

  2. Pingback: Tiny Planet » Rotenberg Center revisited

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