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  • Petitioning Robert A. DeLeo

This petition will be delivered to:

Speaker of the House
Robert A. DeLeo
Director, Judge Rotenberg Educational Center
Glenda P. Crookes
Director of Clinical Services, Judge Rotenberg Educational Center
Robert E. von Heyn
Director of Treatment, Judge Rotenberg Educational Center
James Riley, Ph.D.
Vice Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Jennifer L. Flanagan
Ranking Minority Member, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Michael R. Knapik
House Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
Kay Khan
Senate Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
Michael J. Rodrigues
Chair, House Ways and Means Committee
Brian S. Dempsey
Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Stephen M. Brewer
Ranking Minority Member, House Ways and Means Committee
Viriato Manuel deMacedo
Vice Chair, House Ways and Means Committee
Stephen Kulik

Judge Rotenberg Educational Center: Please Stop Painful Electric Shocks on Your Students

    1. Gregory Miller
    2. Petition by

      Gregory Miller

      Berry Creek, CA

At a “special needs school” in Canton, Massachusetts, children and teenagers with autism and other disabilities are being administered electric shocks as a means of controlling their behaviors.  As a former Teacher’s Assistant, I regret having participated firsthand at this school - The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC).

The human rights abuses taking place at the JRC are well documented. The United Nations is aware of the JRC and has called these shocks “torture”, and says that “The prohibition of torture is absolute.” Yet the school continues to use a powerfully painful electric shock device on students to control their behaviors. These devices are reportedly much stronger than police stun guns and were created by the founder of the Judge Rotenberg Center.

The Judge Rotenberg Center must immediately stop its practice of shocking special needs students.

Rather than shocking students for only severe behaviors, student behavior plans at JRC dictated that we shock certain students for even the most minor of behavioral issues like closing their eyes for 15 seconds while sitting at the desk, pulling apart a loose piece of thread, tearing an empty used paper cup, or for standing up and raising a hand to ask to go to the bathroom. In some classrooms, very often students who observe their peers being shocked react in fear by standing up out of their seat, yelling or crying, or throwing down their task -- and are then shocked for these reactions.

A non-verbal nearly blind girl with cerebral palsy was shocked as part of her behavioral plan for making a moaning sound and for attempts to hold a staff’s hand (her attempts to communicate and to be loved).

In 2002, 18 year-old Andre McCollins was strapped down and shocked for hours at the JRC. He begged for the shocks to stop and when they did, he was left in a catatonic state for days which resulted in permanent damage. Video of Andre’s shock treatment was sealed until recently and you can view it here.

The JRC’s founder, Dr. Matthew Israel, resigned after being charged with misleading a grand jury by destroying video footage of other students being shocked.

Not only does the JRC need to immediately stop this practice but Massachusetts legislators need 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 help.

Demand that the JRC stop shocking students now!

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Decision-maker Joan Millman responds:

      Joan Millman

      I am writing in response to your correspondence in support of stopping shock treatment at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts.

      I am the sponsor of legislation in the New York State Assembly (A3820) which would prohi...


    2. Forbes: Autism SHock Therapy Practiced in US is Torture, Says UN Official

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer
      Autism Shock Therapy Practiced In US Is Torture, Says UN Official - Forbes

      Some practices used as "therapy" for autism in the United States amount to torture, a U.N. representative says. The U.N.'s Juan Mendez is the organization's special rapporteur on torture, and in his report examining torture worldwide, he's called out the only facility in the United States that uses "skin shocks" to 'treat' people with severe mental illness or developmental disabilities, including autism.

    3. Testimony to the FDA

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer
      Autistic Hoya: Letter from Former Teacher at Torture Center

      Trigger Warning: Extremely detailed descriptions of abuse and torture of disabled people. Before reading this letter , please read the letter from an autistic survivor of the torture at the Judge Rotenberg Center . The letter on this page was sent from Gregory J.

    4. Judge Rotenberg Center Survivor's Letter (scroll down to Dec.15 post)

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer
      FDA meets on school shock device, warns of violations

      FOX UNDERCOVER - The devices used by a controversial Canton school to administers painful electric shocks to its disabled students for treatment was the subject of a meeting today held by US Food and Drug Administration regulators who say the Judge Rotenberg Center is using unapproved and illegal machines.

    5. Protests in Maryland as JRC meets with the FDA

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer
      FDA meets on school shock device, warns of violations

      FOX UNDERCOVER - The devices used by a controversial Canton school to administers painful electric shocks to its disabled students for treatment was the subject of a meeting today held by US Food and Drug Administration regulators who say the Judge Rotenberg Center is using unapproved and illegal machines.

    6. ABC Nightline Multi-Restraints and Deaths in Schools Across the Country

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Includes Andre and Cheryl Mc Collins among other violence against students with disabilities across the country. Shows a national bill has been introduced to stop the violence from a national level, which would definitely impact the Judge Rotenberg Center.

      <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nXvT_1iml5A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      121129 ABC Nightline JRC Andre McCollins Restraints Abuse

      ABC Nightline Nov.29, 2012, shows many students being abused and even killed in schools across the country including Andre Mc Collins at the Judge Rotenberg Center. More importantly it shows schools that successfully manage student behaviors without shocks and without restraints, and action to improve standards in schools nationally.

    7. Al Jazeera TV Coverage

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Click on "More" to watch the coverage.

    8. Radio interview on popular Boston Talk1200 Jeff Katz talkshow

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      This talk show gave me the opportunity to speak more than other newspaper and television coverage. The interview was very short, yet Jeff Katz actually included what I had to say.

    9. FDA looks the other way while school uses electroshock torture on autistic

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      (NaturalNews) A special needs school in Canton, Massachusetts, known as The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is once again in the news, this time for its use of a controversial form of therapy that is no longer officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to a recent report by CNN's Anderson Cooper, the FDA has essentially refused to even address JRC's continued use of electroshock therapy, despite the fact that the agency announced an investigation into the matter roughly two years ago.

      As we reported last year, JRC has a 20-year legacy of using electroshock therapy on its students, a process that involves attaching electrodes to students' arms, legs and torsos, and delivering "moderately painful" jolts of electrocution when students get out of line. At that time, school officials and even some parents helped mount a million-dollar campaign to protect the practice from being outlawed...

      Click "More" to read the article.

    10. Autistic Self Advocates and Allies Campaign for Electric Shock Ban

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Article in Autism Self Advocacy Network website by Shain Neumeier, who visited the State House with Cheryl McCollins and Greg Miller.

    11. Mother Seeks Ban on Shock Therapy Treatment That She Calls “Torture”

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Describing some of the methods used at the Judge Rotenberg Center like “something out of Clockwork Orange,” former teacher’s assistant Gregory Miller got ready to deliver over 260,000 signatures to state officials on Beacon Hill to push for a ban on electro-shock treatments at the behavioral school.

      “This is sick. Absolutely sick. I am embarrassed that I used to work there,” said Miller, standing outside the State House with Cheryl McCollins, whose son had experienced the shock therapy.

      With photos of some of McCollins’ son Andre’s injuries, and recording sheets showing why the school felt it necessary to administer shocks, Miller said Andre was allegedly shocked repeatedly for tensing up his muscles during the treatment—an “unnecessary” amount for a reaction anyone would have when being subjected to the pulses from the machine.

      “They are using an excuse to shock students while they are already getting shocks,” said Miller. “They are [already] in a total state of helplessness.”

    12. CBS WBZ4 They fought to end the use of shock therapy

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      June 20, 2012: "They fought to end the use of shock therapy. Today, two advocates will ask members of the Massachusetts legislature to see what the shock actually feels like. Cheryl's son was shocked 31 times in the Judge Rotenburg Center in Canton. She and a former Teacher's Assistant are leading the charge to end the use of the treatment. So they will deliver a petition to the statehouse today with thousands of signatures in support of a bill banning the practice, and again, asking lawmakers to try it themselves."

    13. WWLP TV Ch22 Bill would ban school's shock therapy

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      BOSTON (WWLP) - A former staff member of a controversial Massachusetts school that administers shock therapy is now saying that lawmakers should ban the practice outright.

      Gregory Miller, a former teacher’s assistant of the Judge Rotenberg Center , is inviting lawmakers to try shock therapy themselves, so they have a taste of what his students felt everyday.

      Miller handed petitions with move than 250,000 signatures from across the country, asking lawmakers to ban shock therapy and torture in Massachusetts.

      Joining him was Cheryl McCollins, whose autistic son Andre was shocked so severely at the Judge Rotenberg Center that he was left in a catatonic state for three days and suffered severe burns to his body.

      Click "More" to see.

    14. UN Officially Announces Investigation; Day of Lobbying

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Cheryl McCollins returns with Greg Miller to the Massachusetts State House on June 20, this time to see the Conference Committee members who are voting on Amendment #548. They arrive with Andre's behavioral recording sheets that clearly show that Andre was shocked 19 times for tensing his muscles and 9 times for yelling and screaming for a total of 28 shocks out of 30 that day. (Video reveals 31 shocks.)

      Mr. Mendez, the United Nations top world authority on torture, is interviewed on Fox News and officially announces on Fox News the start of the UN Investigation.

      Click "More" to watch the video.

    15. Mass Residents: Please sign Cheryl McCollin's MA petition & call!

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Cheryl McCollins, the mother of Andre, has created a petition specifically asking for support for Massachusetts Amendment #548 that bans torture in Massachusetts. This Wednesday is the deadline for the Conference Committee of six members vote whether Massachusetts accepts Amendment #548! Senator Brian Joyce says that JRC has very powerful lobbyers. We can be certain that JRC's uninformed parents are also visiting these politicians daily, so please DO see Cheryl's petition as well as call the Conference Committee members. Their numbers are:

      Rep. Brian Dempsey 617-722-2990 
Rep. Stephen Kulik 617-722-2847 
Rep. Viriato Manuel deMacedo 617-722-2390 
Sen. Stephen M. Brewer 617-722-1540 
Sen. Jennifer Flanagan 617-722-1230 
Sen. Michael Knapik 617-722-1415

      Thank you! 
Click "More" for Cheryl's new petition.

    16. June 12 Anderson Cooper 360 on Behavioral Rehearsal Lessons at the JRC

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Includes Anderson asking the JRC about the highly torturous Behavioral Rehearsal Lessons (BRLs) that are included in the Mental Disabilities Rights International (MDRI) report to the United Nations. The author of this petition and other former JRC staff are ready to verify that the BRLs in the MDRI report are greatly tamed down. Actual BRL horrors include staff attacking a student with a plastic knife while the student was tied in a restraint chair, unable to defend himself, then shocking him, in front of 40 student onlookers, who in turn got shocked for their reactions, 3 times per week over months. JRC's Attorney Flammia calls the report a pack of lies taken off the internet. It is highly questionable to what extent parents of students in the JRC are informed for what reasons their non-verbal children are shocked for at the JRC, often up to 20 - 30 times per day for some students. Watch "A Clockwork Orange" for the theory.

      Click "More" to see Anderson asking JRC about BRLs.

    17. Reached 250,000 signatures
    18. June 7 Anderson Cooper 360 on the Judge Rotenberg Center

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      June 7 Anderson Cooper 360 coverage of the Judge Rotenberg Center. Includes statement by the current UN Rapporteur on Torture, as well as attempts to communicate with the FDA and the US Department of Justice.

      Click "More" to watch the full story on YouTube.

    19. Occupy JRC Event in front of JRC

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Someone recorded this on their phone in front of JRC.

      Click "More" below to see a portion of the protest.

    20. Protesters rally against Judge Rotenberg Center

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Fox News covering the demonstration in front of the Massachusetts State House on TV.

      Click "More" to see the story.

    21. Boston Globe: Protesters urge ban on use of shock therapy at center

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      The article covers the protest in front of the Massachusetts State House.

    22. Time for Mass. lawmakers to close abusive Judge Rotenberg Center

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      Time for Mass. lawmakers to close abusive Judge Rotenberg Center. - Boston.com article

      Covers the protest at the Massachusetts State House and in front of JRC this weekend.

      Press "More" to read the article

    23. UN calls for investig. of US school's shock tx of autistic children at JRC

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      New announcement that the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture is considering taking more action. The previous UN Rapporteur on Torture, who you can see on ABC news in the video compilation above the petition, was responsible for President O'bama launching an investigation through the US Department of Justice. That investigation went nowhere, with no conclusion either way. So now it is up to the new UN Rapporteur on Torture to decide whether to bring the matter back to President O'Bama, or to investigate by the UN. Please also note that according to New York Attorney Ken Mollins, Ken Mollins visited the office of then Governer of Massachuetts Mitt Romney whose office told Mollins that Mitt Romney was highly supportive of JRC.

      Click on "More" to read the article.

    24. AC360 Interviews Senator Joyce, JRC called Barbaric, House of Horrors!

      Gregory Miller
      Petition Organizer

      One of the best overviews of JRC yet! Yet it still keeps repeating the false idea that the students at JRC have behaviors much more severe than students elsewhere in the country and world that can only be helped by GEDs. But Anderson also reiterates from two nights ago that JRC has no peer review studies, and he has an expert in the field point out the barbaric and unnecessary practices. MA Senator Joyce points out that the ideas behind the GED shocks stem from work done in the 1930s on gay people to try to make them not gay. Unfortunately the video is clipped off before we can hear the rest of what Senator Brian Joyce has to say about his Amendment 548 that bans the aversives from MA that has just passed the MA Senate, and is now going to a MA Conference Committee. This is now the greatest opportunity to make change, thanks to Anderson Cooper's coverage, Fox News, and Cheryl Mc Collins.

      Press "More" to see the video.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Amber Ciccanti BURLINGTON, NJ
      • about 13 hours ago

      This is absolutely disgusting and this should be outlawed.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Wendy Lepore TELFORD, PA
      • 1 day ago

      Because I am a human being!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Danielle Bowser YORK, PA
      • 3 days ago

      It is important to me that child abuse in any form be stopped. I view this as abusive to say the least.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ari Goldman SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • 3 days ago

      Its a human rights issue.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alicia Leer SNOHOMISH, WA
      • 3 days ago

      My son is 4 years old and Autistic, I don't use shock collars on my dogs let alone my child! Outrageous doesn't even begin to cover it!!!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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