School wins right to continue shocking disabled students – National & International News – THU 8Jul2021

A court has ruled that a Massachusetts school for disabled children can continue using electric shocks on students to "correct" bad behavior.

School wins right to continue electric shocks on disabled students. Miami: Rescuers say “no chance” of more survivors. Haiti president’s killers posed as US agents.


School for disabled children wins right to continue shocking students

The Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Mass., has successfully challenged the FDA’s ban on the use of electric shocks on its disabled students to “correct behavior”. The Center is the only school in the US that administers electric shocks to its students. The Mental Disability Rights International (DRI) and the United Nations have criticized the practice and consider it a form of torture.

The shocks are administered via anklets equipped with Graduated Electronic Decelerator shock devices. When a student misbehaves, staff can activate the device remotely, delivering a powerful shock.

According to the school’s website, the school hosts “emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems, as well as those with intellectual disabilities or on the autism spectrum”.

Last resort?

Advocates of the practice, including the children’s parents, consider electric shock an effective means of discouraging aggression or self-harm. They even argue it is more humane than use of pharmaceuticals. After the ruling, parents of students at the school said, “We have and will continue to fight to keep our loved ones safe and alive and to retain access to this life-saving treatment of last resort”.

Troublingly, a 2006 report by the New York State Education Department found that the shocks were anything but a last resort. That investigation found that staff used shocks when students exhibited, “behaviors that are not aggressive, health dangerous or destructive, such as nagging, swearing and failing to maintain a neat appearance”.

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Miami condo: Rescuers admit “no chance” of more survivors

Rescue workers at the site of the Miami condo which collapsed two weeks ago today have announced that the mission has shifted from rescue to recovery. As of yesterday evening, a total of 54 bodies had been uncovered, as well as sundry human remains. 86 are still unaccounted for.

At the site, rescue workers, officials, survivors and victims’ families were led in a brief ceremony of remembrance by local clergy. Many of them embraced and wept at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Extraordinary efforts, slim odds

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava summed up the situation at a news conference. Levine Cava said the decision to transition to recovery was a difficult one. She recognized the extraordinary efforts of the rescuers under difficult and dangerous conditions.

“They’ve used every possible strategy, and every possible technology available to them to find people in the rubble,” she said. “They’ve removed over 7 million pounds of concrete and debris from the mound… They ran into a building they were told could collapse, and they braved fire, smoke, torrential rain, and strong winds in the hopes of finding people alive”.

Work will continue to recover and identify the remains of as many victims as possible.

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Haiti presidents’ assassins posed as US agents

Following a shootout, Port-au-Prince police believe they have killed four of the men who murdered President Jovenel Moïse in his home yesterday. They have also detained two other men in connections with the murder. Other suspects remain at large.

So far, officials have not identified any of the suspects. But police chief Leon Charles has described the assailants as mercenaries. Yesterday, witnesses stated that they believed the men were foreigners, as they spoke English and Spanish. It’s not certain how many men took part in total.

Video from Moïse’s home has also confirmed earlier reports that his assassins posed as US drug enforcement agents. Audio from the tape captures one man speaking into a megaphone in English saying, “This is a DEA operation”.

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