Federal, N.Y. state bills seek to end electric shock treatment for people with disabilities

File Photo A therapist wears a remote shocking device on his belt as he monitors Joshua Wood, an autistic student at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Mass. on July 15, 2014. Photo Courtesy: AP

(New York Daily News): New York state is renewing two recent pieces of legislation.

One of them is a long-running fight over the practice of using electric shocks on people with disabilities as a behavior modification tool and the second one is the role of New York taxpayer dollars in funding the only school in the country doing it.

The Judge Rotenberg Center, a residential school for kids and adults in Canton, Mass., has ignited controversy for decades for its use of a device that shocks people with disabilities to prevent what the school describes as dangerous or violent behaviors.

Despite multiple attempts by lawmakers, parents and disability rights advocates to halt the practice it remains legal.

And the school continues administering electric shocks to roughly 50 adult residents as reported on New York Daily News.

The New York Daily News has stated that the proposals pending in New York’s state Legislature and Congress could soon change that.

A bill by New York state Sen. Jabari Brisport (D-Brooklyn) would block the state from sending public money to the school if it continues using the practice — stopping an annual flow of more than $20 million in taxpayer dollars from New York school districts and the state’s office for adults with disabilities that make up a major source of the school’s funding, according to Brisport.

Roughly half of the school’s 300 residents are from New York, including 62 students whose tuitions are covered by the New York City Education Department after education officials determined they couldn’t be served in other public or private schools in the state.

The DOE spent more than $8 million last year on those tuition costs, according to department data.

News Source (New York Daily News)