In addition to reports of physical and sexual abuse, the Fernald School became known primarily through experiments with low-level radioactive substances on students.
In 1953, the director of the institution sent a letter to the children's parents, in which he drew attention to a scientific investigation that was taking place at his school. This document was about drawing blood from the children every now and then and adding an extra portion of calcium to the cornflakes.
The children should also benefit: trips to the beach, baseball, etc. This eventually led the parents to agree to the director's request. What they didn't know, however, was that the calcium was radioactive . Cynically, these children were internally assigned to the "science club". Only they were not the researchers themselves, but the "guinea pigs".
- Massachusetts Department of Education. Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments. Part II, Chapter 7.