Editor's Note: The following is a press release:
More than 200,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org calling for the to stop its practice of giving electric shock treatments to students with special needs, for instance, Autism, as a form of therapy.
Greg Miller started the petition on Change.org after video of a student with Autism being shocked for hours was released.
Miller was a teacher’s assistant at the Judge Rothberg Center from 2003-2006, and during that time, he said he not only witnessed the shocking of students but also shocked many of them himself. Miller says the students would receive shocks for even the most minor of behavioral issues and that other students would watch in fear as their peers received the shocks.
“I want to help these students and put an end to this practice all together in Massachusetts,” said Greg Miller about his campaign on Change.org. “Not only should the JRC stop shocking students, Massachusetts legislators should ban the use of shocks altogether.”
Students at the center wear electrodes on their bodies that are attached to a small device carried around in a staff member’s backpack or fanny pack. When the student engages in forbidden behavior, a staff member administers a shock. Students may wear the electrodes as much as 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The United Nation’s former Special Rapporteur on Torture investigated the shocks at the Judge Rotenberg Center and condemned them as torture. In 2002, 18-year-old Andre McCollins was strapped down and shocked for hours at the JRC. He begged for the shocks to stop and when they did, he was left in a catatonic state for days which resulted in permanent damage. That video footage wasn’t released until recently, and Andre’s mother has signed Greg Miller’s petition.
“Thousands of people are signing Greg’s petition on Change.org because they are concerned for the safety of young people at this center,” said Change.org senior campaigner Jonathan Perri. “Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it’s clear Greg Miller won’t stop until he’s made a difference.”
Live signature totals from Greg Miller’s campaign: