UN Special Rapporteur on torture calls for an investigation by the US Department of Justice into the use of shock on children with disabilities in the United States

On the 6 June 2012, CNN’s investigative programme “Keeping Them Honest” with Anderson Cooper looked into why shock is being used on children with disabilities in the United States.

The programme looked at one specific school, the only school in the United States that electrically shocks students- Judge Rolenburg Center. The school claims that electric shocks and other forms of what they term aversive therapies are the only way to control some students who are a danger to others or to themselves.

The use of shock only came into the spotlight when the public saw video of the student  Andre McCollins being repeatedly shocked approximately 31 times over a 7 hour period. Andre McCollins is no longer at this school and his family have settled a lawsuit against the center and the video is part of the trial.

The images from this video caught the attention of the UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez.  He is the United Nations point person on torture. Mendez is looking for answers from the US Department of Justice. This department had launched an investigation into the center two years ago, and when asked about it, would only comment to say that it was still on going.

The Judge Rolenburg Center claims that no one else will take the students they have enrolled at their school and that the electric shocks are better than the use of prescription drugs. However, an investigation by New York state officials found that students were being shocked for a wide range of behaviours including nagging or swearing, neither of which are aggressive or dangerous behaviours.

The National Council on Disabilities and many other critics said that use of shock at the Judge Rolenburg Center school was contrary to federal policy and at odds with Mental Health Research.

For the full transcript of the CNN “Keeping Them Honest” investigative programme; Click here

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