Willowbrook State School

If you’re in the Albany area on March 23, you might want to check out this free “first look” at a new documentary, The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook.

Produced by the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council in partnership with OGS Media Services, the film highlights lessons learned from the school and its closing, the resulting changes, and Willowbrook’s legacy. A panel discussion, moderated by NEWS10 ABC Anchor Christina Arangio, will follow.

Staten Island’s Willowbrook State School, the largest institution in the world for people with disabilities, was open from 1930 until 1983 — more than 10 years after Geraldo Rivera’s infamous expose in 1972 brought to light the school’s horrifying conditions.

A lawsuit was filed in February of 1972 in response to Rivera’s expose. In 1975, “the school committed to making the proper improvements to keep it open. The school failed to make those improvements,” and was finally closed in 1983.



Note: The program contains images that may be disturbing for some viewers, as well as archive material with outdated language referring to people with developmental disabilities; usage is solely for historical context.


Date: March 23, 2023

Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: The Egg South Mall Arterial Albany, N.Y. 12203

Register here for tickets.

Photo: New York Public Library/Picryl

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