• Demonstrators protest electric shock "therapy" used at Canton facility

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh

    Updated:

    A new protest today over a controversial "electric shock" treatment used at a Massachusetts school.    

    This time demonstrators took their case to Washington, where some of those protestors were arrested.

    The outrage over this treatment is something we have been following for years.

    Demonstrators say children and adults who go to the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton are forced to wear a device, which delivers electric shocks as a form of punishment.

    Wednesday afternoon, disability rights advocates demonstrated outside of the Department Of Health and Human Services. They want the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of electric shock devices on people with disabilities.

    The Rotenberg Center treats children and adults with severe developmental, emotional or behavioral disorders. In some cases, it uses what is called "aversive therapy," where an electric shock is delivered in order to stop aggressive or self-damaging behavior.

    It is the only facility in the country using the treatment.

    Seven years ago, Boston 25 News obtained a video of a teenage patient screaming in pain as the electric shock therapy was used. The center eventually reached a legal settlement with the teen's family.

    In 2014, the FDA said the therapy is not safe. It has also written a final rule banning the treatment, but they have not yet published it.

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    Last year, demonstrators held a similar protest outside the Canton facility. They disrupted traffic and forced police to respond.

    In a statement to Boston 25 during that protest, the Judge Rotenberg Center said: 

    "Aversive therapy" is used as a last resort and only when it has a court order allowing it to do so.

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