Dozier

A bill funding a unique facility to help solve cold cases is starting to move forward in the Florida House.

Funding for a first-of-its-kind facility did not survive the Governor’s veto pen. That’s despite being named for an abused victim of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys.

Deadlines Loom For Dozier Memorials, BP Settlement Funds

May 29, 2017
USF DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Gov. Rick Scott has until next week to decide on a proposal to create memorials for the victims of the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. He also has one week to act on a measure that will send BP oil-spill settlement money to Northwest Florida counties hard hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Last week, the Florida House formally apologized to the former wards of two now-closed reform schools for the abuse they say they suffered. Now, the Florida Senate is now doing the same.

Two bills offering a formal apology to former wards who say they were abused in a Panhandle reform school and creates memorials for those buried on the property passed their first House committee Thursday. After hearing some horrific stories, some Florida lawmakers issued apologies of their own.

Final recommendations on a memorial for the unclaimed remains uncovered on the Dozier School for Boy grounds are now heading to the Florida Legislature. But, during the final meeting of the panel tasked with making those suggestions, tensions were pretty high.

Lawmakers Hope Dozier Bill Will Help Healing

Mar 9, 2016

A measure intended to help heal a community and people who suffered at a former reform school where the remains of 51 boys have been unearthed is headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

 Florida would pay to rebury students whose remains were once interred on the grounds of a now shuttered reform school, under a bill passed by the Senate.


Florida may pay for burials of students whose remains were once on the grounds of the now shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

Florida's Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys was a horror tale come to life.

"There's just too many stories," Roger Kiser, who was at the school in the 1950s, told NPR in 2012. "I know of one [boy] that I personally saw die in the bathtub that had been beaten half to death. I thought he'd been mauled by the dogs because I thought he had ran. I never did find out the true story on that. There was the boy I saw who was dead who came out of the dryer. They put him in one of those large dryers."

The Dozier School for Boys in the Florida Panhandle town of Marianna closed in 2011, after allegations by former inmates of decades of torture and abuse.

University of South Florida researchers have been working for years to identify dozens of remains found in unmarked graves on the site, and they've just released their final report.

In June of 2013, Robert Stephens of Tampa received a phone call from his sister. She told him that an uncle they had never met had died at the Dozier School for Boys in 1937 under mysterious circumstances.

She added that University of South Florida researchers wanted Stephens to submit a DNA sample to see if they could identify his 15-year-old uncle as one of the bodies believed to be buried in an unmarked graveyard on the now closed reform school’s grounds.

For years, claims of abuse, beatings, rapes and murder of students by staff have come from those who survived the Dozier School for Boys,  the now-closed state-run reform school in the Florida Panhandle.

Many families are still wondering what happened to their loved ones, and some are getting answers as researchers from the University of South Florida identify remains that have been exhumed from the grounds of Dozier.

Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Cabinet voted Tuesday to allow University of South Florida researchers to exhume bodies at the now-closed Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The secretary of state had turned down the request, but Attorney General Pam Bondi took up the cause. The research team wants to find out whose bodies are buried at the old reform school, allegedly the site of widespread beatings.