Suffer the Little Children is an NBC documentary which aired in 1968, challenging institutionalized neglect and abuse of people with disabilities. The Pennhurst State School, opened in 1908, was a state-funded institution that provided shelter for those suffering from mental illness, criminals, orphans, and more. Unfortunately, it quickly became overcrowded and a human rights movement was born to revolutionize America’s approach to mental health care.

This powerful documentary tells the shocking story of those living at Pennhurst and highlights the devastating consequences of treating individuals with disabilities as second-class citizens. It reveals scenes of isolation rooms and restrained patients left in their own filth for days on end, heart-breaking interviews with parents desperate to save their children from a life of neglect and mistreatment, as well as a look into the rampant corruption that kept this system running throughout the years.

What makes Suffer The Little Children so unique is its ability to raise awareness about this dark chapter in our nation’s history while giving us hope for a brighter future. It will leave you feeling inspired by the courage of those fighting for change and moved by the resilience and strength displayed by those who survived Pennhurst’s horrors.

If you’re looking for a historical reflection on disability rights or simply curious about what happened at Pennhurst State School, don’t hesitate to watch Suffer The Little Children; it provides an important message about how far we’ve come in terms of care for individuals with special needs but also how much further we have yet to go.