Saturday, May 5, 2012

Together, WE Can Stop Massachusetts School From Torturing Students

Ok, so, on the facebook blog page, there are over 10,000 members.  And, it's growing daily.  There are almost 600 people subscribed to the blog, itself.  And, there are other outlets with scores of other people reading it.  We need every single one of the people reading this to a.) SIGN the petition; b.) SHARE this blog post.  You'll understand in a minute.

When I checked my inbox today, I had a notification from about a Special Needs school in Massachusetts that basically electrocute its students.
In 2002, a special needs student named Andre McCollins was allegedly strapped down and electrocuted for hours, leaving him with permanent brain damage, all because he refused to take off his jacketThe people torturing Andre were officials at his school. You can watch what happened on video.
The video was shot at a Massachusetts school for special needs kids called the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC). Gregory Miller used to be a teacher there, and he says electrocuting kids as punishment is extremely common -- even for minor offenses like raising your hand to go to the bathroom.
"A non-verbal, nearly blind girl with cerebral palsy was shocked for attempts to hold a staff member's hand -- her attempts to communicate and to be loved," Gregory says.
Gregory desperately wants to help the kids at the JRC --that's why he started a petition demanding that the JRC stop using electroshock to punish kids. Click here to add your name.
Gregory says the JRC's founder created electroshock devices which are even stronger than police stun guns to punish students for bad behavior. An official at the United Nations said that using these devices on children is considered torture.
According to the Boston Globe, the JRC’s founder resigned after being charged with misleading a grand jury by destroying video footage of other students being shocked.
Gregory believes that if thousands of people sign his petition, his former bosses will capitulate in the intense pressure generated by a national spotlight.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
I.  Was.  Livid.  Reading that was bad enough.  Watching this video, which school officials tried desperately to keep "sealed", revealed an unfathomable level of brutality.  Staff on student.  Bullying to the inth degree.  Andre McCollin restrained, faced down, and electroshocked 31 times during the course of the day.  This is a whole different level of bullying, actually.  It's called torture.  It's called criminal abuse.  And, every pair of eyes who reads this can play a part in bringing it to a screeching halt.  For the students, the special needs students!, being brutally abused by this staff, it can't end fast enough.  Imagine your son or daughter, your neighbor's kid, or even a total stranger!, being subjected to being restrained and being zapped by electroshock devices that are stronger than police stun guns...for hours!!  Is you blood boiling, yet?  Good.  Sign the petition.  Share this blog post.  Encourage OTHERS to share it.

This taking ending bullying to a whole different level.  We have the power, in numbers, to make this change.  I've already signed.  Your turn.

"How I Feel": 11-Year-Old Girl Talks about Being Bullied

A member of the facebook blog page sent me a message that she'd gotten through yet another friend.  I'm so glad she did.  The story I read was heart wrenching.  It was heart wrenching because, with this, one can see that it doesn't get any clearer that there's a major injustice being afforded young people all around this country, and around the world.
How I feel: I want to leave the underworld that I’m in. I get hurt, cussed at and flipped off every day. Where ever I go at (school name) I feel like I get killed and go to the underworld. Whenever I see and /or hear the place, I get afraid. I don’t want to lie, I don’t feel safe, and I don’t want to get hurt. All I need is an apology from the whole 5th grade classes. I need to feel safe. The teachers aren’t listening at all. I even get threatened at (school name). It’s named after a solder, but nobody is that in my class. I feel that I am better in jail than (school name). I don’t need education, I need safety. I don’t need to lie about the cussers, I tell the truth. I think their motto isn’t true. I think it’s a lie. I’m scared!!! I’m better in an underworld than in (school name). I just want to be on earth, not the “H word” (hell)”.
This girl is just 11-years-old.  At that tender age, she's already having to go through now only the bullying that we're seeing far too much of today, but yet again an administrative staff that does nothing to intervene or prevent it.  And, because of their lack of responsibility in this case, her musician, single-parent dad has to embark upon a crusade to draw attention to the situation.  It shouldn't have to be that way.  Luckily for her, she has a father who is committed to making sure his daughter's well-being is a priority in her school.

[I'm going to leave her anonymous for now.  Her father will make comments to the blog if and as he sees fit.]

As part of his mission, he had his daughter write, in her own words, exactly how being constantly bullied made her feel.  On the up side, hearing a first-hand, first-person recant of what it's like to have to endure constant bullying it extraordinarily powerful.  The down side, of course, is that she and her dad have to go to this length in the first place.

The part that really got under my skin, however, was the girl saying that her "...teachers aren't listening at all."  How can that be?  How can it be possible that, in today's world, with bullying and teen suicides being in headlines around the world and almost daily, the school administrators can even think of taking the easy way out and not pay attention to a student who's reaching out for help?  Worse, there are those who simply say they don't believe the bullying is taking place!  Once again, I have to say that there needs to be accountability.  What my hope is, of course, is that the father will provide the necessary information, i.e. school name, name of administrators, etc., so that a massive email and phone call campaign can descend upon that school.

Things are only going to continue to change as long as people like this courageous and devoted dad continue to stand up and speak out again the environment of hatred and intolerance that we're witnessing today.  Keeping bullying, and all of the tragic aftermath that comes with it, on the back burner and out of the headlines is a travesty.

Kudos to you, dad, for stepping up and forcing this issue to be looked at on your daughter's behalf.  Whether you know it or not, your efforts will have a ripple effect on countless other students who are also dealing with being bullied.