Former JRC Teacher Says Student Given Electrical Shocks for Political Reasons
Shain Neimeier's report for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network on the continuing efforts to ban electrical shocks at the Judge Rotenberg Center includes some disturbing allegations from former JRC teacher Gregory Miller:
In talking to people at the State House, it was inevitable that Representative Jeffrey Sanchez’s nephew Brandon, who has been attending JRC since before it started using contingent electric shock as an aversive and who has been on the shock devices for over 20 years, would come up. Miller told legislative aides that he had actually worked extensively with Brandon while at JRC, and that his behavior was completely unchanged by the use of contingent electric shock. In particular, he talked about five or six weeks periods where Brandon would be put on what JRC called “GED vacations” so his skin could heal from all scabs and minor burns caused by the shocks, and how he was his behavior was neither better nor worse during these periods. When he asked his supervisors why Brandon was still receiving shocks, Miller was told that it was for “political reasons” – if Brandon was thought to no longer need the shocks, JRC would lose its support from the state legislature. Miller also addressed comments made by Brandon’s father, Representative Sanchez’s brother, at legislative hearings over past attempts to ban aversives, to the effect that he “would rather blow [Brandon’s] brains out” rather than see him go off the shock device. “Before you kill him,” he told legislative aides, with the intention of these words reaching the Sanchez family, “Send him to me.”
Especially if you live in Massachusetts, it is important that you take action to help end this practice, which the United Nations is asking the federal government to investigate as torture.
From Shain's article:
The conference committee will likely make its decision on Amendment #548, as well as the less restrictive compromise ban established by Amendment #555. ASAN would encourage Massachusetts residents to (continue to) call and email the members of the conference committee in order to express their support for #548 in order to ensure a total ban on the use of electric shock and other aversives so as to effectively protect the human rights of people with disabilities. The conference committee members’ contact information can be found at the link below: