JRC wins legal battle to use ELECTRIC SHOCK on children with disabilities

FDA has overturned its ban on electric shock treatment for disabled children at the Judge Rotenberg Center. 

  • The Judge Rotenberg Center won the battle that will allow them to continue using electric shock treatment on aggressive disabled children. 
  • DC Circuit has concluded that using electric shocks can be considered medical treatment, meaning that the FDA has no control over the case. 
  • The United Nations consider the electric shock treatment as “torture.”

The Judge Rotenberg Center, a school for children with disabilities in Massachusetts, has won a legal battle that will allow it to continue using electric shock, Unilad reports. The shock treatment was being applied to constrain aggressive or self-harming behavior in both children and adults.

The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) had previously barred electric shock use for children.

Credits: Reuters

However, the school board and some parents opposed the ban. Following their demands, the court of appeals for the DC Circuit has concluded that using electric shocks can be considered medical treatment. Therefore, the FDA has no control over the case.

The Judge Rotenberg Center believes the electric shock treatment is beneficial for their students. 

As per Reuters, in a statement released after the ruling, the school administration said:

“With the treatment, these residents can continue to participate in enriching experiences, enjoy visits with their families and, most importantly, live in safety and freedom from self-injurious and aggressive behaviors.”


The parents’ association added:

“We have and will continue to fight to keep our loved ones safe and alive and to retain access to this life saving treatment of last resort.”

The Judge Rotenberg Center remains the only school to use electric shock treatment.

Meanwhile, the United Nations still considers the use of electric shock on children as “torture.” 

WARNING: The following video shows the use of shock treatment taking place at the Judge Rotenberg Center.

Speaking to Massachusetts News, attorney Max Stern, who represents parents of children that attend the school in question, described one of the cases in which they had used the treatment:

“One client of ours is a woman who hit her head against the wall so many times that her retinas were detached. It was not until she went to multiple various other institutions, not until she got to JRC and got this treatment that she was able to get this behavior under control so she could have surgery to make it possible for her to see again.”

According to a New York State Education Department report, electric shock has allegedly also been used to treat much less extreme situations than the one mentioned by Stern. The report claims that the Judge Rotenberg Center overlooked “the potential negative effects, such as depression or anxiety, that may result from the use of aversive behavioral strategies with certain individual students.”

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