The US Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion is set­ting its sights on the device that delivers painful elec­tric shocks to stu­dents at the Judge Roten­berg Center, charging an advi­sory panel to weigh whether to ban them for good.“FDA is con­cerned that they present a sub­stan­tial and unrea­son­able risk of ill­ness or injury,” the agency wrote in an exec­u­tive sum­mary for the hearing.

The Judge Roten­berg Center in Canton is the only place in the country to use the shocking devices, which it calls Grad­u­ated Elec­tronic Decel­er­a­tors, or GEDs. The Roten­berg Center says the devices work when other treat­ments have failed to stop its most dif­fi­cult clients from engaging in severely destruc­tive behavior.

The shock therapy has been con­tro­ver­sial for decades, and scrutiny was renewed in 2012, when video of former stu­dent Andre McCollins being restrained and shocked for hours was pub­li­cized. McCollins’ mother was suing the Judge Roten­berg Center over the events that day, which left McCollins hos­pi­tal­ized. The case set­tled out of court while the jury was deliberating.

Sev­eral com­ments made to the FDA advi­sory panel have urged mem­bers to review the video, which first aired on FOX 25.

Oppo­nents to the shocks also say there are now other, more effec­tive and humane methods of treating the extreme behav­iors that Roten­berg Center stu­dents have had.

Jean Flatley McGuire, a former assis­tant sec­re­tary for the Mass­a­chu­setts Exec­u­tive Office of Health and Human Ser­vices who now is a pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, wrote to the FDA urging a ban on the shock devices.

Read the article at Fox 25 →