Well Being

Shock in a Backpack

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The Graduated Electronic Decelerator is the name of the FDA-approved aversion therapy device used to administer electric shocks to discipline students at the Judge Rotenburg Center. The electric shock transmitted is said to be low-wattage and no more than a “skin-sting.” The Center's founder and director, Matthew Israel, a Harvard-educated psychologist, refined and patented the Graduated Electronic Decelerator.

A Long Island parent, Evelyn Nicholson, has filed a lawsuit against the Rotenburg Center on behalf of her son whose “aversion therapy program” included use of the Graduated Electronic Decelerator. The Westside Gazette report K. Chandler wrote in Lawsuit claims school is using painful shock therapy to correct children with behavioral problems on April 20:

Derisively described by some critics as primitive and barbaric, this aversion therapy technique is carried out through the use of a backpack that students are made to wear with electrodes attached to their arms, legs and torso. The pain, which results when the transmitter is deployed, has been compared to the pain from a bee sting.

According to Rotenberg administrators, the electric shock lasts for a period of two seconds although it is not at all clear whether the individual deploying the transmitter is restricted to shocking the student just once or is allowed to repeat the procedure (if they fail to obtain compliance), with successive bursts of electrical shocks — not unlike Taser usage – which would no doubt exacerbate the effect of the so-called “bee sting” exponentially.

No doubt.

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Read Autism Vox on Too close to shock.