06:22 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Patricia Rivera, assistant director of clinical services at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, in Canton, Mass., demonstrates use of the Graduated Electronic Decelerator, or GED, at the school, Friday, May 5, 2006

    US Court Grants School Permission to Use Electric Shock on Children – Reports

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    A US educational center for special needs children has reportedly retained the right to use electric shock therapy in its operations despite objections from local authorities.

    After a lengthy legal battle with Massachusetts state officials, a school for special needs children, known as the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), secured its right to use electric shock therapy, ABC News reports.

    According to the news agency, the state authorities had been trying to end this practice since 2013, but the Bristol County Probate and Family Court decided otherwise.

    The electric shock treatment is performed at the JRC via devices known as gradual electronic decelerators (GEDs), which are used for “aversive conditioning,” i.e., delivering a negative stimulation whenever a patient performs some unwanted action.

    In the JRC, this particular treatment is reportedly used to prevent violent aggression or self-injury.

    "No one loves our children more than we do; we have tried and continue to try everything available to them, including positive behavior therapies and medications to help our children, but as the Court found – there is no evidence that any alternative treatment would be effective to treat our children and keep them safe,” the JRC Parents’ Group said in a statement, adding that "it is a treatment of last resort."

    However, as ABC News points out, the use of GEDs is considered controversial due to the “unclear intersection of medical use, ethics, who has the ability to administer the shocks, state supervision and the judiciary system,” while the FDA previously reported that electroshock therapy, including GED, can result in physical effects, including “burning of the skin, trauma, including contusions, falls, oral injury, and fractures, seizure complications or impacts on the heart.”

    READ MORE: Norway's Psychiatric Patients Given Shock Treatment Without Consent

    Also, in 2011 and 2012, the FDA announced that the JRC was not following guidelines regarding the use of GEDs.

    The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center is currently the only school in the United States to use electric shock therapy in order to control the behavior of special needs students.


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