Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi has asked a judge to allow the exhumation of bodies of the young boys at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fl. The purpose of the exhumations is to identify the bodies and establish their cause of death.
This may be the first time that you have heard about the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. This was a reform school operated by the state of Florida. It opened in 1900 and was permanently closed in 2011. At one time it was the largest facility of its kind in the U.S.
Alumni of this school are nicknamed “The White House Boys”. The White House was concrete building on the property that was used to “punish” the children. You see, Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys used torture, beatings, humiliation and other violent treatments to keep the boys in line. The stories are sickening and terribly tragic.
Here is an Pulitzer Prize winning series written by Ben Montgomery and Waveny Ann Moore for the Tampa Bay Times
It was this series that first made me aware of the atrocities at this school. For Their Own Good
Every time I read about this school I can’t help but wonder how these abuses took place in a state-run institution and why after so many reports this climate of child abuse was allowed to flourish. There were letters from parents of these kids to state officials begging for help. Some kids just disappeared. How many more schools were there like this across our nation?
It makes me ill to think that we failed these children. Many of the residents were incarcerated for minor infractions such as running away. Some were as young as nine years old.
I can’t even put in words how deeply saddened I am every time I hear a story about the White House Boys. This is one of many dark chapters in Florida’s history.