SSN Commentary

Time To End Public Funding of Judge Rotenberg Center

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University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Originally published as "Time To End Public Funding of Judge Rotenberg Center," CommonWealth, April 20, 2021

AS MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOLS embark on widely-publicized reopenings, one school will likely continue to remain at the margins of public scrutiny – despite being the focus of a federally-mandated ban, and despite its historical association with several preventable deaths. 

Based in Canton, the Judge Rotenberg Center is a 50-year–old privately-operated, publicly-funded residential and day school enrolling students with intensive needs stemming from autism, psychiatric conditions, and/or intellectual disabilities. It is unique in the nation for continued reliance on a backpack-like contraption (the founder’s grotesque invention) which staff have used to administer electrical shocks in harmful ways as part of “aversive therapy.”