‘School of Shock’ Gets Facebook Group, College Activism


Our current issue‘s cover story, on a facility in Massachusetts that uses electric shock to discipline special needs and other kids, “School of Shock,” has garnered a huge onslaught of responses, prompting legislation in two states and getting literally hundreds of comments on our site. One reader, Brandeis University student Nathan Robinson, was especially outraged by the painful electric shocks administered to autistic and retarded students at the school, and decided to take action himself.

Robinson, who will graduate in 2011, convened an impromptu, late-night meeting of Brandeis students to make fliers and talk about the issue. In the process, the students formed a Facebook group (Massachusetts Students United Against the Judge Rotenberg Center), which now has more than 300 members. Robinson holds regular meetings where concerned citizens coordinate an old-fashioned letter-writing campaign. The group, Robinson says, is trying “to spread the word among students as best we can.”

Read more about Robinson’s efforts here, and our story on the school and related articles here.

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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