Shocking behaviour

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Students are not allowed to talk to one another unless they have been noted as having been very well behaved. As the children suffer serious behavioural problems this reward does not come often.

More often than not they will be given an agonising electric shock.

The Rotenburg Centre, near Boston in the US, hosts children as young as nine years old wearing ten pound backpacks, with wires leading to their limbs and torso. Misdemeanours such as swearing or shouting can be punishable with a shock. One journalist who tried the "therapy" reported that it felt like being attacked by a swarm of wasps.

Children are often strapped down and shocked repeatedly for previous offences, noticed when watching surveillance camera footage. They even sleep and shower attached to the electrodes.

Many suffer nightmares and suicidal tendencies after leaving the school. One autistic child had severe burn marks from the electrodes.

Despite the fact that over its 36-year history six children have died after receiving various techniques of negative reinforcement, it doesn't bother director Matthew Israel. The school makes over $56 million annually, thanks to the $220,000 annual fee, paid in public money.