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Maia Szalavitz Headshot

Ban Aversive "Therapies" for Kids Now

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It's been just over a year now since 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson died at the hands of guards in a Florida teen boot camp. Proving the dangers of the "tough love" approach, one of them spoke to ABC News recently, giving the usual excuse that the boy was beaten to death because the guards thought he was faking his health complaints. They went on to ensure that Martin was no liar about his injuries-- by murdering him themselves.

Now, New York State is trying to regulate the use of tactics like electric shock, food deprivation, sleep deprivation and other "aversives" AKA punishments in schools to which it sends emotionally and learning disabled children. Happily, the state will ban all such "education methods" after two years-- planning between now and then to set up programs that will provide research-demonstrated, positive approaches.

But the state shouldn't allow one more second of potentially deadly schooling for our most vulnerable students-- for more about why such tactics should be banned immediately in the U.S., read my op-ed from the New York Times here.