Rep. Stanley Asks Ways and Means to Support Records Access Bill

In a letter to House Ways and Means, Rep. Stanley urged favorable action on legislation he cosponsored relative to accessing public records. The bill amends current law to create access to public records, currently under the custody of the state secretary, that were created more than 75 years ago for historical and genealogical purposes. These records contain some of the only information ever obtained about the hundreds of residents of the Fernald State School and other state hospitals and schools.

Students from Gann Academy recently initiated a project to determine the names of the individuals buried at Metfern and provide a proper burial for these individuals. Their work is instrumental in ending the stigma of disability which perpetuates and violates the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With passage of this bill, Gann Academy and others will be able to uncover the hidden lives of those individuals who were institutionalized in state facilities. Moreover, the importance of public access to these records becomes especially important to family members who have a deep desire to know the stories of their relatives and family members – uncles, aunts, cousins, parents or grandparents – whose memory has been lost.