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JRC Child Abuses

June 8, 2010

The following quotes are pulled from the New York State Education Department review of the JRC, with comments underneath.

JRC employs a general use of Level III aversive behavioral interventions to students with a broad range of disabilities, many without a clear history of self-injurious behaviors.

JRC employs a general use of Level III aversive behavioral interventions to students  for behaviors that are not aggressive, health dangerous or destructive, such as nagging, swearing and failing to maintain a neat appearance.

Many of the students observed at JRC were not exhibiting self-abusive/mutilating behaviors, and their IEPs had no indication that these behaviors existed. However, they were still subject to Level III aversive interventions, including use of the GED device. The review of NYS students’ records revealed that Level III interventions are used for behaviors including ‘refuse to follow staff directions’, ’failure to maintain a neat appearance’, ‘stopping work for more than 10 seconds’, ‘interrupting others’, ‘nagging’, ‘whispering and/or moving conversation away from staff’, ‘slouch in chair’, as well as more intensive behaviors such as physical aggression toward others, property destruction and attempts to hurt/injure self.

“Level III aversive” is the four or five point restraint (restraining all four limbs, and possibly the head) and/or the remote skin “shocks” (more on those later.) I can see a real justification for severe interventions of this sort if what they’re preventing is genuinely self-destructive behavior – if you can train someone to not severely injure themselves (or someone else) through pain, then you’ve substituted pain for serious physical harm (which is a good trade if you can do it without causing permanent psychological harm) and eventually you can take them off of the pain aversion therapy and (if it worked) they still won’t try to hurt themselves.

This is not what they’re doing at the JRC.

They are applying this level of aversion therapy to “failing to maintain a neat appearance” – what is that, drooling on yourself to much? Letting your shirt get untucked? Spilling food? I went to school one day in 2nd grade with my pants on inside out (some combination of not noticing, and then not thinking it was important enough to change once I did notice) – would I have gotten strapped to a board and fried with a homemade device for that?

Note the list in the third bullet point:
— failure to maintain a neat appearance
–stopping work for more than 10 seconds
–interrupting others
–whispering and/or moving conversations away from staff
–slouch in chair

I don’t know about you, but I’ve done all of those at least once per week each during my school career. And none of those are really that serious, worth a detention at most. This is an unnecessary amount of force to acquire  instant obedience.

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