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FDA looks the other way while school uses electroshock torture on autistic students

Monday, June 25, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: electroshock, torture, students

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(NaturalNews) A special needs school in Canton, Massachusetts, known as The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is once again in the news, this time for its use of a controversial form of therapy that is no longer officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to a recent report by CNN's Anderson Cooper, the FDA has essentially refused to even address JRC's continued use of electroshock therapy, despite the fact that the agency announced an investigation into the matter roughly two years ago.

As we reported last year, JRC has a 20-year legacy of using electroshock therapy on its students, a process that involves attaching electrodes to students' arms, legs and torsos, and delivering "moderately painful" jolts of electrocution when students get out of line. At that time, school officials and even some parents helped mount a million-dollar campaign to protect the practice from being outlawed because they claim it is highly effective (http://www.naturalnews.com/031656_electroshock_students.html).

FDA withdrew support for GEDs, but never again addressed the issue

In 2010, the FDA reportedly withdrew official approval for graduated electronic decelerators, also known as GEDs, which are devices JRC uses to discipline its most severe students. The school says the device is only used with court approval and parental consent, and works far better and more safely than pumping up these same children and adults with pharmaceutical drug cocktails, which are the only other alternative.

But not everyone is convinced that GEDs are safe, and some even consider them to be torture. And yet the FDA, which withdrew approval for the devices, has failed to offer an opinion on the matter. This, of course, has prompted many to question why the FDA even disavowed its blessing on GEDs in the first place, if it had no real intention of making a statement one way or another about their use.

"They sort of give a little bit of a wink and a nod to the notion of, 'We are definitely on this, we are definitely moving forward, we just can't tell you about it right now," said CNN reporter Tom Foreman about the FDA's dubious position on electroshock therapy. "It's really been quite a number of months since the last sign of any action on this, so that begs the question, 'When, if at any time, will they take action?'"

In a statement responding to all the press, JRC has stated that aversive therapies like GEDs are only used as part of court-ordered treatments on students who "struggle with violent, abusive or mutilating behaviors toward themselves or others." The center adds that GEDs and similar therapies are used only after all other therapy options have been exhausted.

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