Feds Warn School Featured in ABC News Report: Shock Devices Violate Law


"Nearly 4 years ago when we brought her to [the Rotenberg Center], she spent about 10 months on a positive only program," the mother's statement said. After petitioning to have her daughter treated with the skin shock therapy, "the impact was almost immediate. She comes home for visits, has a roommate at school, goes out to dinner with staff and friends; she attends classes and enjoys learning and working in the dining hall."

No other school in the country uses this type of treatment. In 2007, ABC News Correspondent Cynthia McFadden visited the Judge Rotenberg Center where she spoke to Dr. Matthew Israel, the school's founder and developer of the controversial treatment. A staff member attached the device, known as the graduated electronic decelerator, to McFadden and administered the two-second skin shock therapy to the surface of her skin.

"It hurts a lot," said McFadden after being shocked. "I'm glad it's over."

"It's intended to hurt," said Dr. Israel at the time of McFadden's visit. "If it didn't hurt it wouldn't be effective. It has to hurt enough so that the student wants to avoid showing that behavior again."

The technique has come under fire from numerous human rights and disability groups, including the United Nations, which has called the school's practice "torture."

The mother of the boy who appears in the video is still angry 10 years after the incident during which he was shocked. The school had parental and court approval.

"I can't believe they call themselves human and do such a thing to someone who is so vulnerable and can't help themselves," said Cheryl McCollins. "I cannot believe that they actually got away with it."

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