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Family Petitions To End School's Shock Treatments

A family that settled a lawsuit against the Judge Rotenberg Center, a Canton school for disabled children that offers skin shock treatment, has organized a petition to end the controversial therapy.

The Associated Press reports:

Cheryl McCollins and a former staff member at the Judge Rotenberg Center ... on Wednesday delivered a petition signed by more than 223,000 people demanding that state lawmakers ban the practice.

As WBUR's Rachel Gotbaum reported last year:

Over the years the center has been a target of numerous lawsuits and attempts to shut it down by lawmakers, parents and advocates of the disabled, who say the practice amounts to the torture of children.

McCollins and her son, Andre, of New York, filed the lawsuit alleging malpractice against the school. As the Patriot Ledger reported last month:

The lawsuit contends that in 2002, Andre McCollins received 31 electric shocks over a seven-hour period while he was also restrained face down, resulting in permanent physical injuries and a reversal of his psychological well-being.

A video of the shocks being administered to the teen was shown to the 12-person jury. He pleaded with staff members not to do it and screamed in pain afterward, the video showed.

The McCollins case was settled in late April for undisclosed terms.

Supporters, as Rachel reported, say the school helps disabled children lead normal lives and keeps many children who injure themselves and others alive.

The center is the only known school in the country that offers such skin shock treatment.

This program aired on May 9, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital manager. He occasionally reports on economic and transportation policy, climate and social issues, and politics.

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