Petition Closed
Petitioning Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and 22 others

Massachusetts Representatives: Please Stop Painful Electric Shocks on Students at JRC in Massachusetts!


Hi, my name is Gregory Miller. I used to work at a school in Massachusetts named The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) where we used powerfully painful electric shock devices (45 – 91 milliamps, at 66 volts) on students to control their behaviors. These devices are much stronger than police stun guns (1-4 milliamps). Unlike stun guns, the electrodes most commonly used at school are spaced 3 – 4 inches apart so that the electrical volts passing through the flesh create the maximum amount of pain with those amps and volts. The United Nations is aware of JRC, has called these shocks at JRC “torture”, and says that “The prohibition of torture is absolute.” Please see the attached video of a student named Andre getting shocked at JRC, covered by Fox News.

Rather than shocking students for only severe behaviors, JRC also shocks students for minor behaviors, such as closing eyes for 15 seconds while sitting at the desk, pulling apart a loose piece of thread, tearing an empty used paper cup, going to the bathroom in one’s clothes after signing that they need to use the bathroom for over two hours, standing up and raising a hand to ask to go to the bathroom, blowing small bubbles in saliva between one’s lips, and shocking a non-verbal nearly blind girl with cerebral palsy for making a moaning sound and for attempts to hold a staff’s hand (her attempts to communicate and to be loved).

I would greatly appreciate your help to protect my former students by petitioning Massachusetts legislators to make these shock procedures illegal. These students are among Massachusetts’ most vulnerable citizens and have no voice of their own to describe their pain. They need YOUR voice!

Whether you are an American, or are from elsewhere within the United Nations, I urge you to please CLICK on the Petition Letter tab to carefully read the petition that is based on what I have personally witnessed at JRC, and sign the petition.  Then please invite as many friends as you can through www.Change.Org, email, Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, to sign this petition.  Please value these student lives enough to let Massachusetts know that Americans do not condone shock procedures in this country. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Gregory Miller

Please check back often for PETITION UPDATES.

Letter to
Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo
President of the Senate Therese Murray
House Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Kay Khan
and 20 others
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Jonathan Hecht
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Nick Collins
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Tricia Farley-Bouvier
Senate Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Michael J. Rodrigues
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Sonia Chang-Diaz
Senate Brian A. Joyce
Massachusetts State House
House of Representatives Sánchez, Jeffrey
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Robert L. Hedlund
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Patricia D. Jehlen
House Vice Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Marcos A. Devers
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Angelo M. Scaccia
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities James J. O'Day
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Jason M. Lewis
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Chris Walsh
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities George T. Ross
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Kimberly N. Ferguson
Senate Vice Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Kenneth J. Donnelly
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Susan C. Fargo
Massachusetts State Senate
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Massachusetts State Legislatures.

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- Whereas, the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) of Canton, Massachusetts is the only place in the world that specializes in delivering extreme pain as a behavioral treatment for autistic individuals and delinquent youths;

- Whereas, for the first time ever, YOU, including families of students at JRC, Massachusetts judges, legislators, and American citizens and voters, are allowed to see through video what electric shocks and torture look like on a student inside of JRC in Massachusetts, as recently reported on Fox News:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/12/judge-rotenberg-center-trial_n_1420633.html

- Whereas, the United Nations has declared the treatment at JRC to be deemed as torture that the US government should end: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/shock-therapy-massachussetts-school/story?id=11047334&page=2#.T5RJsu0jipF

- Whereas, JRC uses shock devices (45 – 91 milliamps, at 66 volts) that are much stronger than police stun guns (1-4 milliamps) (see p.14):
http://www.mdri.org/PDFs/USReportandUrgentAppeal.pdf
http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/the_shocking_truth/

- Whereas, some students have had to have periods of approximately 4 - 5 weeks off the shock devices in order to allow the bloody scabs to heal on their arms, legs, and torso;

- Whereas, JRC receives court consent to administer electric shock to control very severe behaviors, Massachusetts legislators do not directly observe the students with autism actually receiving high numbers of shocks for minor behaviors that are never included in JRC’s marketing materials, such as closing eyes for 15 seconds while sitting at the desk, pulling apart a loose piece of thread, tearing an empty used paper cup, going to the bathroom in one’s clothes after signing that they need to use the bathroom for over two hours, standing up and raising a hand to ask to go to the bathroom, blowing small bubbles in saliva between one’s lips, and shocking a non-verbal nearly blind girl with cerebral palsy for making a moaning sound and for attempts to hold a staff’s hand (her attempts to communicate and to be loved);

- Whereas, students who just observe their peers being shocked react in fear by standing up out of their seat, yelling or crying in reaction, attempting to pull their own electrodes off their skin, and/or pushing the arm of the staff away from the remote control… and are then shocked for these reactions;


- Whereas, non-verbal students with autism who receive the most electric shocks at JRC are not able to speak for themselves to describe the psychological harm they experience for simply being in the classroom while watching their classmates get shocked;

- Whereas, many parents may not have given “informed consent" because they signed papers without being permitted to actually see for themselves what “treatment” by electric shocks at JRC actually looks like, as now viewable on Fox News (see link above);

- Whereas, the electric shocks have not been demonstrated in studies to show that they reduce behaviors of students once they graduate from JRC and are away from the threat of fear and pain;

- Whereas, the academic and working conditions at JRC have been terrible, including approximately 40 students in a single room forced into labor to complete meaningless tasks such as counting 12 popsicle sticks and wrapping them with a rubber band in a large room without windows, all day long, 7 days a week, which arguably may lead to many student behaviors for which students are shocked;

- Whereas, there is now a wealth of accumulated data and resources on JRC from over the years for concerned legislators and American citizens to read that describes the abuses taking place within JRC, including:
http://thetruthaboutjrc.wordpress.com/
- - Former JRC staff and author of this petition describes what JRC looks like from the inside:
http://canton.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-a-former-judge-rotenberg-center-worker-speaks-out
http://canton.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-former-teacher-s-aid-at-judge-rotenberg-center-comments-on-fox-tv-video-of-jrc-shock-treatments - comment_3113986

Therefore, we the undersigned strongly urge the Massachusetts state legislature to ban the use of aversive procedures.