Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

"60 Minutes" To Look At Abuses At Fernald
April 29, 2004

WALTHAM, MASSACHUSETTS--This Sunday, May 2, the CBS News magazine "60 Minutes" will feature a segment on abuses children endured while at the continent's oldest institution housing people with mental disabilities.

According to the program's website, the story will focus on former residents of the Walter E. Fernald School for the Feebleminded, now known as the Fernald Developmental Center.

The segment comes with the release of a new book by Michael D'Antonio, entitled "The State Boys Rebellion".

In the book, D'Antonio tells about the eugenic sterilizations that took place at the facility during the mid-part of the 20th century, along with government-sanctioned radiation experiments that were conducted on young residents.

Reporter Bob Simon talked with former Fernald resident Fred Boyce, whose story is featured in the book.

"They didn't have to look for homes for you so they could dump you off in these human warehouses and just let you rot," says Boyce, who spent 11 years at the state-run facility. "We thought for a long time that we belonged there, that we were not part of the species . . . [not]supposed to be born."

There are still around 250 people housed at Fernald Developmental Center, despite a February 2003 order by Governor Mitt Romney that the institution be closed by this coming October, and the residents be moved to other facilities or into the community. Parents and employees have used the courts and the local community to slow the moves to a trickle.

The 156-year-old facility is the oldest institution in the Western Hemisphere.

"Abuse Cited At Bay State School" (60 Minutes - CBS News)
Excerpt from "The State Boys Rebellion" By Michael D'Antonio
"Fernald Developmental Center -- Oldest Institution In the Americas" (Inclusion Daily Express)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.