Saturday, December 22, 2007

School Prankster Orders Electro-Shock of Teen Boys

(Boston, Massachusetts) Seven staffers at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center, a group home for developmentally disabled youngsters, have been fired for unknowingly participating in a hoax last August when two boys were given dozens of electric shocks.

A prank caller ordered the shocks be given in the early morning hours of August 26th. After the two boys, ages 16 and 19, were awakened in the middle of the night, their arms and legs were bound and shocks were administered.
From 2 to 4:45 a.m., one teenager received 77 shocks, while another got 29, according to the report by the state Department of Early Education and Care, which licenses group homes.

As the two youths screamed, other residents woke up and insisted the accused teenagers had violated no rules. One even told staff that the caller might be a prankster.

Staff members did not realize their mistake until one of them called the central office and determined that no punishment orders had been given for the teenagers.
The Rotenberg staff members were fired for failing to stop the cruel treatment even though there was sufficient reason to doubt the validity of the caller's orders.

Fortunately, authorities have identified the prankster and are considering the possibility of criminal charges.

Notably, the Rotenberg facility is believed to be the only special education center in the U.S. that employs electro-shock treatment. Although it remains controversial, many officials and parents are convinced that the treatment is effective for hard-to-teach children.

Outrage is essentially absent which is the exact opposite of the avalanche of worldwide outrage that thundered when American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison pretended to use electro-shock on terrorist detainees. Maybe readers can reconcile the difference.


Anonymous said...

The recent prank incident is being covered by sources like USA Today, Fox News, and the Associated Press, which means that now is the time to contact the governor:

Deval Patrick at 617-725-4005 out of state or 888-870-7770 in state.

KateGladstone said...

I don't know that "outrage [over intentional electrocution of students] is essentially absent: given that nearly every major newspaper and magazine in the USA has by now covered the story and has demanded that such practices much stop. In January of 2008, the legislature of Massachusetts will — finally! — hold hearings on a bill to ban the electrocution "training" practiced at that school.

Mike Pechar said...


You missed the point. In comparison to the 40+ above-the-fold front page stories in the New York Times regarding Abu Ghraib and the pretend electroshocks of detainees, there has been little mention of the Massachusetts story.