ADAPT goes to FDA to take on Judge Rotenberg Center

The group is demanding the FCC finalize rules banning the facility's controversial electric shock treatments

By Matt Stafford, May 17, 2017

FDA Logo

#ADAPT (Americans Disabled Attendant Programs Today) was still in Washington D.C. on May 16. They were continuing protests that started on Monday. Instead of the White House, their target was the Food and Drug Administration.

They group was there to fight a battle that #Disability rights groups have been fighting for years -- ending electroshock treatment of disabled kids at the #Judge Rotenberg Center.

ADAPT and other groups say the treatment is torture

The Massachusetts-based Judge Rotenberg Center, named for a judge who greenlit the practice in one of the first battles with disability rights groups and concerned government officials, has claimed that the practice is relatively painless and is only used as a last resort when there is imminent danger.

According to advocates, the school is deceiving everyone. Former students and teachers who left because they disagreed with the practice have said in sworn testimony that the school uses the shocks for any random reason. ADAPT and many other organizations, including the United Nations, have called the practice torture.

The school disputes this, but a formerly sealed video footage of the electroshock treatment seems to support the advocates' statements. The school vigorously fought the release of this video in court.

Furthermore, ADAPT and other disability rights groups claim that the Judge Rotenberg Center is willfully misleading the FDA and judges who approve the use of the devices.

According to advocates, the school not only uses the devices far beyond the scope it claims to, they're using devices that are far stronger than the school lets on.

The shock devices, described by the school as no more painful than bee stings, are stronger than most police tasers.

ADAPT demands FDA to stop stalling

Though the FDA has talked about banning the devices since the Obama administration, even holding long public comment periods, the agency has been dragging its feet. This is in large part due to the school having a lot of lobbying clout.

Another big factor in their favor is the fact that they can call upon numerous parents to flood the comments. The parents believe that the treatment done by the Judge Rotenberg Center is the only thing that keeps their kids from killing themselves via self-mutilation or harming other people.

Survivors of the school who have transferred to programs that focus on positive reinforcement say that the latter programs did more for them than constant fear of being shocked for twitching wrong. Groups like ADAPT also point out that because many of the kids can't speak, the parents don't have the full story.

During the protest, they met with some FDA officials as they walked by as chants of "finalize the rule" echoed through the area.

Some heated exchanges ensued. One exchange posted on Facebook featured a disability rights activist standing in front of the unnamed FDA officials telling them that they should finalize the rule banning electroshock treatment.

"It's not a matter of looking at it, having to think about it, what have you," the activist said, "The only thing that's needed is for the person in charge of this place to say, 'Boom! It's done'."

Aftermath of ADAPT protest

During the protest, 81 people were arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace. One of them (who goes by Spitfire) was arrested on his [sic] birthday. (S)He took it as a reason to celebrate considering (s)he'd been arrested so many times before. One ADAPTer, Johnathan Ayala, couldn't help but point out the irony on the group's Facebook page.

"For protesting things that disturb the peace, like using electric shock on children and people with disabilities, somehow ADAPT protesters are disturbing the peace, huh?"

Here's a video of ADAPT's official statement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT6Uy1a85Ik

Judge Rotenberg Center Shock Totture Video, https://youtu.be/ZtRGQRtwh2U

http://us.blastingnews.com/news/2017/05/adapt-goes-to-fda-to-take-on-judge-rotenberg-center-001704507.html

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