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lunes, 14 de marzo de 2011

School lobbied to keep electric shock

Published: Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A school for the disabled in Massachusetts lobbied Congress to kill a bill that would have banned its use of electric shock, documents show.

The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, which takes students from seven states at public expense, is the only school in the country that uses electric shock to modify behavior, The Boston Globe reports.

Last year, the House passed a bill banning restraints to control students. It did not explicitly mention shock devices but the measure would have covered the center's practices, lawmakers said.

School officials and parents say electric shock, condemned by some as cruel, are needed as a last resort to keep severely disabled youngsters from hurting themselves or others.

The bill died in a Senate committee after Rotenberg paid $100,000 to the law and lobbying firm led by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, 2010 disclosure forms released in January show. Parents and students were brought to Capitol Hill to make the school's case.

Massachusetts agencies have twice tried to close the center, and bills banning electric shock have repeatedly been defeated in Boston.

A United Nations investigator last called the practice torture and urged a federal investigation of the school.

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