The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into whether a Massachusetts special-needs school violates federal disability laws by disciplining students with electric-shock therapy.
The first federal probe of the Canton-based Judge Rotenberg Educational Center follows demands from more than 30 disability-rights groups. They say the facility’s use of “painful and dehumanizing behavioral techniques violates all principles of human rights.” They want the school to end the use of shock therapy.
School supporters, including the parents of students with autism, developmental disabilities, or emotional troubles, defend the schools methods. A school lawyer says the facility is safe and has always cooperated with authorities.
A version of this article appeared in the March 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Justice Department Opens Probe Of Mass. School’s Use of Shocks