I recently blogged about the U.S. Department of Justice opening an investigation on the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC). Many of the children in the care of the JRC are subject to electric shocks as part of their program.
EducationNews.org picked up the blog piece I wrote and copied it to their own blog, with one major difference. They added an introductory paragraph taken directly from the JRC’s website.
The JUDGE ROTENBERG CENTER (JRC) is a special needs school in Canton, Massachusetts serving ages 3-adult. For 38 years JRC has provided very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems and developmentally delayed students with autistic-like behaviors.
This changes the tone of the story dramatically and gives the reader the impression that I believe that the JRC is “very effective”.
Here is my comment on their blog:
As the person who wrote (most of) the piece above, I am both glad that Education News has decided to pick up this story and, quite frankly, angered at the way it has been handled.
I was not contacted before Education News ran this piece. Had they done so, I would have certainly given permission to run the piece–as it was written. The opening paragraph was added to my piece without permission. That paragraph is how the Judge Rotenberg Center portrays itself, being a direct quote from the home page of the JRC website:
” The JUDGE ROTENBERG CENTER (JRC) is a special needs school in Canton, Massachusetts serving ages 3-adult. For 38 years JRC has provided very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems and developmentally delayed students with autistic-like behaviors”
“JRC has provided very effective education and treatment” frames the piece in a completely different manner than I intended.
Again, I would gladly give permission for the use of this piece, in its original form.
For the record, I am the parent of a child with multiple disabilities. In my state, aversives are illegal. Under no circumstances would we allow the JRC to operate here.
I would encourage readers to read the letter and addendum and ask again can we “condone treating persons with disabilities in a manner that would not be tolerated if applied to other segments of the population”?
Education News has yet to respond either on their blog or via email.
I am glad that the news is getting out about the investigation (more on that soon). I’d be totally fine with Education News copying my post–if they did it accurately. I want this message out there, but don’t tag the “JRC is very effective” message to my name (or pseudonym, as it is).
(note, I corrected EducationNews.com to EducationNews.org, and added a link to their post)