Washington, DC--April 11, 2012-- FOX-25 in Boston aired today a portion of a video showing an extreme case of electric shock and restraint used on Andre McCollins while he was a student at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts. JRC has fought court battles to keep the video from being released to the public.
The video shows JRC staff subjecting 17-year-old Andre to extremely painful electric shocks over a period of 7 hours, while he was restrained face-down, screaming for help. This was Andre's punishment for refusing to take off his jacket when he came into school that day. This is what JRC calls treatment. McCollins' family is now suing the school, claimingthat JRC tortured Andre.
In 2010, Disability Rights International (DRI) issued an urgent appeal to the United Nations concerning the practices at JRC. The United Nations agreed with DRI that the restraint and shock practices amount to torture and asked the U.S. government to investigate. The Justice Department has failed to respond to the United Nation's accusations of torture. Despite the recent success of DRI along with many other advocates in banning shock treatments for all new admissions, JRC still tortures children currently in the school. Additionally, behind closed doors, there is no way to be sure that new admissions are protected. It is crucial that the Obama Administration puts a final end to the cruel treatments practiced at JRC, and ensures that they cannot be replicated anywhere else in the United States. Please take a moment to write to Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, and demand that the United States take a stand against torture in its own backyard.
Update, 4/18/2012: DRI applauds the National Council on Disability for their bold letter to the Justice Department demanding immediate action to protect the children in the Judge Rotenberg Center.