The horrific story of Florida’s Dozier School for Boys warrants a resounding “WTF.” This week, 55 bodies were exhumed from the cemetery and surrounding grounds of the shady boys Reformatory School just west of Tallahassee, Florida. The school, intended to reform boys without family, with a criminal background, or who may just have had a attitude problem, has been in existence since 1900 and was not shut down until 2011. Over the past decade, hundreds of men, now in their 60’s and 70’s, have come forward to tell their violent and disturbing stories about their time at Dozier. These 300-some men, referred to as “The White House Boys” because of the beatings and punishments they received in a building on campus known to them as The White House, have banded together to share their stories of Dozier and bring the corruption and evil of this institution to light.
However, the public and state’s knowledge of this brutality has done nothing to bring justice to the former staff and those responsible. Even though many of the White House Boy’s accounts have claimed witness to beatings that ended in death, and records show that at least 81 boys died while at the school, state investigators have been unable to find evidence indicating a former employee’s responsibility. Many of the records at the institution claim that students died in fires, building collapse, and other freak accidents, and many of the remains of these deceased boys are not located in the cemetery, have not been found, and have no report of where they are buried, but are likely hidden deep in some remote corner of the campus.
Now that state legislators have finally voted to exhume the bodies, many of the remains have been excavated and are being researched, the identities and causes of death will be more accurately determined. But the question that I cannot seem to find a logical answer for is how the State of Florida allowed this institution to exist for over 100 years? And an even more frustrating question, why has no one been able to find evidence to hold someone responsible for the deaths of at least 81 children until now, when justice is likely too late?