Can zapping emotionally challenged children with painful electrical shocks - like cattle - actually help them? The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts claims it does. But as Anderson Cooper reported last week, there’s a new push to close the school.
The renewed effort to shutdown JRC comes after a graphic video surfaced that school officials didn't want the public to see. The video shows Cheryl McCollins' son, Andre, receiving 31 electric shocks from school staff in a seven hour period. His family’s attorney says he was later treated for post traumatic stress disorder.
However, another mother, Marie Washington, said JRC saved her son's life by using the shocks to treat him, instead of medications. Washington calls the program a "godsend."
JRC is a special needs school for children as young as 3-years-old. Their website says they've 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."
Critics disapprove of the method used by the school to change students' behavior. JRC calls the shocks "aversive therapy," opponents call it torture. They invented the device used to administer the shocks, and they're the only school using the technique.
Tonight, Anderson explores the medical research behind the shock therapy. He'll speak with one of the top autism researchers in the country, Kevin Pelphrey, who’s the Director of Yale’s Child Neuroscience Laboratory, and Nathan Blenkush, Director of Research at JRC, who has worked at the school since 2006. Tune in to AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Editor's note: Watch Gary Tuchman's 2011 report and read about the recent update in the Demiraj's fight to stay in the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security has granted asylum to an Albanian immigrant, his wife and teenage son after a years-long deportation battle.
According to a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, Edmond and Rudina Demiraj and their teenage son, Rediol, were all granted asylum "for an indefinite period." The letter also said that asylum status for each person may be terminated if the family "no longer has a well founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances."
CNN first reported on the Demiraj case last fall. The Department of Justice was then threatening to deport the family to Albania even after Edmond Demiraj promised to testify in a human trafficking case.
CNN's David Mattingly asks a North Carolina Pastor about his controversial sermon in which he told fathers in his congregation to give "a good punch" to sons who act effeminately. Pastor Sean Harris also said if girls are "butch" they should be reigned in, and he denounced same-sex marriage.
He issued a retraction, but there's more to the story. Watch the preview and tune in on Tuesday at 8 and 10 p.m. ET for the full interview on AC360°.
Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, is facing a mandatory 20 years behind bars. She had pinned her hopes for freedom on a motion for a new trial; that motion was denied Thursday in a Florida courtroom.
In late April, Alexander spoke to CNN as an inmate in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida. "This is my life I'm fighting for," she said while wiping away tears. "If you do everything to get on the right side of the law, and it is a law that does not apply to you, where do you go from there?"
Alexander is referring to Florida's "stand your ground" law, a law that has come under scrutiny since the killing of Trayvon Martin. Unlike the Martin case, which involved one stranger killing another, Alexander's case involved her gun and her abusive husband.
On Monday, 80-year-old Helen Collins and her husband took off together in a small twin-engine plane. The Wisconsin couple had spent hundreds of hours flying together with John piloting and his wife by his side. In an instant, Monday's flight turned into a nightmare when her husband suffered a fatal heart attack and lost consciousness at the controls.
Collins, who doesn't have a pilot's license, took charge of the plane, low on fuel, and began attempting an emergency landing at Cherryland Airport, about 150 miles north of Milwaukee. Friends on the ground made contact and provided guidance and reassurance.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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