Mom Sues School Over Shocking of Autistic Son

Judge Rotenberg Center shocked boy 31 times that day
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2012 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2012 2:25 AM CDT

A deeply disturbing video of an autistic teen being restrained and shocked at a facility in Massachusetts was played in a Boston-area courtroom yesterday. The teen's mother is suing three workers at the Judge Rotenberg Center and the center itself, alleging that they tortured her son and left him with permanent damage, reports the New York Daily News reports. The video was taken on a day in 2002 when Andre McCollins was shocked a total of 31 times, the lawsuit states, as he desperately called out for help and screamed in pain. "I never signed up for him to be tortured, terrorized and abused,” his mother told the jury. “I had no idea, no idea, that they tortured the children in the school."

After the shocks, the teen was "essentially in what we would call a catatonic condition," an expert witness testified. "That means a condition that occurs with people who are acutely psychotically disturbed, and they let him stay in the facility basically sitting still, not eating, refusing fluids for the most part for days. They’re lucky he didn’t die." The facility—the only one in the US that still uses electric shock treatments to discipline children—insists the jolts were legitimate treatment for aggressive behavior. In 2010, a United Nations official urged the US government to investigate the center. (Read more Judge Rotenberg school stories.)

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