Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children & Judge Rotenberg Center
By Allison Donald
Two hundred members of National ADAPT traveled to Canton, Massachusetts on Halloween to visit the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children and the Judge Rotenberg Center. Both facilities have much in common. Both facilities are surrounded by picturesque neighborhoods.
The Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children and the Judge Rotenberg Center are isolated and controlled. In the case of the Judge Rotenberg Center allegations of abuse have been made for years and they have used electric shock on people. The children locked away are out of sight, out of mind. These young children and adults are seemingly forgotten because they are in a “safe” environment with professionals who could watch them so the neighbors can sleep at night.
The administrations of both facilities were caught off guard by ADAPT’s visit. The Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children was more receptive to National ADAPT when they were informed that all we wanted was to bring the kids some candy for Halloween. It gave members of Massachusetts ADAPT an opportunity continue to put pressure on the state to adopt budget policies that would make it possible for institutionalized children to be at home with their families.
This was in stark contrast to the reception National ADAPT received at the Judge Rotenberg Center. As members of National ADAPT ascended onto the front steps and packed the entrance the staff looked confused about who we were and why we didn’t line the road and protest like other groups had. The tension between Judge Rotenberg Center employees ratcheted up once the police arrived and they realized we were not going anywhere.
ADAPT kept up constant chants. We wanted the administration and residents alike to know that the torture of people with disabilities is egregious and should not and would be tolerated in any circumstance.
National ADAPT put the Pappas Rehabilitation School for Children and Judge Rotenberg Center on notice. ADAPT and disability rights activists are watching and they will be held accountable for the treatment of people with disabilities. FREE OUR PEOPLE!