School of Shock

Why are we treating autistic kids like enemy combatants?


UPDATE: The “School of Shock” is currently under federal investigation for its controversial treatments. Read about it here.

This is the photo essay companion to Jennifer Gonnerman’s piece on the Judge Rotenberg Center, a facility where autistic, mentally retarded, and emotionally troubled children from eight states are subjected to food deprivation, social isolation, and even electric shocks.

At the Rotenberg Center, students as young as nine and ten receive shocks for misbehaving. Employees wear remotes bearing a picture of each child around their waist so they don't shock the wrong kid.

At the Rotenberg Center, students as young as nine and ten receive shocks for misbehaving. Employees wear remotes bearing a picture of each child around their waist so they don’t shock the wrong kid.
 

GED device TK
 

Director TK TK
 

Monitoring room TK
 

Students use good-behavior points to "buy" goods from this school store. If they’re really good, they can also go to the "Big Reward Store," an arcade that is the only place where some are allowed to socialize freely.
 

Students who receive electric shocks carry the device around in a backpack and wear the electrodes 24 hours a day; some are also monitored at all times by at least one Rotenberg Center employee.
 

At the Rotenberg Center, the staff, too, are constantly under surveillance. They can’t have casual conversations with each other and if they are caught failing to shock kids when the rules say they should, they can be fired.
 

Reward Room 2

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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