New York to pull students from the Judge Rotenberg Center?

27 Feb

The press release below was just forwarded to me. New York City Councilmember Vincent Gentile is calling for students from the city (roughly 1/2 of the total) at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) to be pulled from the school.

The JRC is facing other pressures, including losing medicaid funding for students in their care.

GENTILE CALLS ON CHANCELLOR TO REMOVE ALL NYC CHILDREN FROM CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOL ONCE AND FOR ALLCITY HALL – In light of recent developments, Councilman Vincent J. Gentile, a long-time advocate for New York’s most vulnerable, is calling on New York City Department of Education Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott to remove all New York children from the infamous Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts once and for all. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services saying it would no longer allow federal Medicaid money to be used by anyone who lives at a facility that employs electric shock intervention, even if that person is not receiving the treatment themselves. Massachusetts has begun notifying the families of its students that they must either move to a new facility or unenroll from state benefits immediately.

“CMS made the right decision – no federal tax dollars should be going to an institution that uses these electric shock techniques on children. It’s time New York State and New York City to do the same – no city or state money should go to support an institution which subjects its students to these cruel and unusual forms of ‘behavior modification’. The Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts where 120 NYC developmentally disabled students currently attend, is in gross violation of the most fundamental standards of humane treatment of people with disabilities”, Councilman Gentile said. “With CMS pulling its funding, we are one step closer to shutting down Rotenberg once and for all.” As a New York State Senator, Councilman Gentile introduced legislation to mandate oversight and accountability when developmentally disabled students are sent out-of-state for education and treatment. Then, in late 2009, Councilman Gentile sponsored “Billy’s Law” which requires the Department of Education to provide the City Council with bi-annual reports monitoring all out-of-state residential facilities that house New York State children for specialized educational services – both pieces of legislation passed unanimously. “It is a sad fact that our City still sends children to this Center, and sadder still that it is our tax-payer dollars that fund about half of the children at this school,” Gentile wrote in a letter to Chancellor Walcott. “I know that with your leadership, we can finally remove our children from this barbaric facility. I am asking that you immediately develop a plan, if one does not already exist, to bring these students home and that you share it with my office and the New York City Council.” New York City Education officials have paid more than $13 million last year to treat 120 city kids at Judge Rotenberg Educational Center outside Boston, which until now was the only clinic in the country that uses electric shock treatments to discipline students.


By Matt Carey

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8 Responses to “New York to pull students from the Judge Rotenberg Center?”

  1. Anna the Flutist February 27, 2013 at 23:22 #

    That’s the place that shocked a kid into a state of extreme stress! They don’t deserve money if that’s what it’s going to.

  2. Rachel February 28, 2013 at 03:59 #

    This is great news. Glad to see the tide is turning.

  3. VMGillen February 28, 2013 at 19:13 #

    I always liked Gentile – remapping pulled him out of my district. BUT I hope he, and everyone else, keeps in mind that most JRC students end up there because there are NO placements available in-state, not simply because people are into JRC methodolgy. We are now looking at a 6% across the board spending cut to medicaid programs serving people with Developmental Disabilities, because the Feds discovered NYS used Medicaid $ earmarked for supporting people with developmental disabilities for general operating expenses, and have rightly demanded repayment. The State is hitting the disabled for recoupment: the people who never got the funds to begin with, had no say in how the money was spent, and can least afford the cuts due to budget cut-backs due to fiscal constraints (as opposed to ouright theft). So, yeah, shut down JRC, bring our people home. BRAVO! But where will they go?

  4. Anna the Flutist March 1, 2013 at 00:52 #

    This school does not deserve the blessing of students.

  5. psychtld March 18, 2013 at 12:10 #

    This is good news!

    • vikafira October 20, 2013 at 17:56 #

      JRC runs commercials in NYC on all radio stations round the clock now. Very strange way of pulling NYC students out…

      • psychtld January 24, 2014 at 10:21 #

        I’ve a feeling that this is how JRC is responding to the moratorium on sending students there….

      • psychtld August 16, 2014 at 07:52 #

        Eek…. that’s bad…..

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