The Judge Rotenberg Center, a school infamous for using electroshocks on students has become the target of #Disability rights group #ADAPT  as part of a broader campaign to improve life for disabled people. 

Disability rights groups hostile to Judge Rotenberg Center

The Judge Rotenberg Center is a school in Canton, Massachusetts. The school is marketed towards parents of severely developmentally disabled children, particularly those with a propensity towards self-harm. Many students are ethnic minorities. What makes the school unique is also what critics, from disability rights activist groups like ADAPT, to President Obama, say makes it dangerous: It subjects students to electrical shock and is the only school that does so.

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Two weeks ago, the state of Massachusetts asked the court to lift its ban on regulation of the practice. However, many parents defend the school.

On paper, Judge Rotenberg Center only uses shocks from devices called Graduated Electronic Decelerators, when a student is doing something that is potentially dangerous towards themselves or others, which is the only legally permitted purpose of the shocks. In practice, according to critics, the school tends to us them for any random reason. Reasons include talking out of turn, a person covering their ears, even panicking when they see someone get shocked. The school says the shocks are painless and that they are better than a cocktail of psychotropic meds, but ADAPT, former students, staff and a video of a shock session that the school tried to keep from being admitted into evidence during a lawsuit, tend to disagree.

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They claim that the treatment is torture and the school violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Warning, this video is disturbing.

ADAPT lists demands of the Judge Rotenberg Center

At least 100 members of ADAPT took to the streets at Halloween to demand that the school cease using the electrical shocks, eventually blocking the entrance of the school that has been condemned by the United Nations. They used the holidays focus on scary imagery to draw attention to what they say are real life horrors disabled people face in the Judge Rotenberg Center. Some of them even showed up in costume.

“You see things like this in a Halloween House of Horrors, but they are the reality in JRC all year long,” said Nancy Hyson-Houghton, an organizer with ADAPT’s Massachusetts chapter.

ADAPT further demands that the state of Massachusetts and the Food and Drug Administration make the practice of electrical shock illegal in any and all circumstances. The FDA is currently debating banning the practice and has been since April. 

ADAPT criticized by Judge Rotenberg Center

ADAPT's direct actions have always drawn criticism and this case is no exception.

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The group, famous for being confrontational, was criticized by the center. The center said that blocking the entrance created a fire hazard and made it hard for students who wanted to get home at the end of the day. Several members of ADAPT allegedly attempted to force their way into the building. 

Several people have been charged with trespassing and the chief of police threatened to arrest the group. However, a member of the group made a comment on Facebook that summed up their reaction to the threat.

"Like that scares ADAPTers." #News