A horrifying video of a student being restrained and shocked for hours at the Judge Rotenberg Center was shown in court Tuesday at the start of Andre McCollins’ trial against the center, and it may be enough to get the facility shut down once and for all.
The video shows a 2002 incident in which 18-year-old McCollins was restrained, face-down, on the floor, and then given 31 shocks as he screamed and fought, all because he had refused to take off his coat. While the center had fought for years to keep the video sealed, it was used not only in court, but by a Boston Fox affiliate that got permission to air it over objections from Rotenberg’s lawyers.
Despite a revealing 2007 exposé (McCollins wasn’t the only student subjected to the inhumane treatment) that led to local and state investigations and ongoing lawsuits, the school, in Canton, MA, has managed to stay open. It bills itself as a special needs school, and “is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons.”
“I never signed up for him to be tortured, terrorized, and abused,” McCollins’ mother Cheryl testified in court Tuesday. “I had no idea — no idea — that they tortured the children in the school.”