Bodies continue to be identified after being exhumed from the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. The now defunct school was the host of a special brand of evil that marginalized and abused some of the most vulnerable in society: children.
The University of South Florida has been engaged in a project to exhume and identify bodies found in unmarked graves on the property. After the project found bodies that were not accounted for in official records, the project’s scope and impact grew.
Horror stories is the best way to describe the tales of what happened there. From beatings, to institutionalized rapes and assaults, to the murder and abuse of elementary school-aged boys, the stories of experiences there can only be described as horror stories.
The university has uncovered the remains of fifty one bodies to date from the school. Along with recovering the remains, the school is making an effort to obtain information from any surviving family, in order to record what happened.
“Maybe I’ve been doing this too long, but I’m not surprised at what horrible things people do to one another,” Erin Kimmerle, team leader from USF, said. “It’s just really sad the way people treat one another, which may be in part what’s captured the public’s attention on this – just the sense that it’s not right.”
From Huffington Post:
There was the 6-year-old boy who ended up dead after being sent to work as a house boy. And another boy who escaped but was later found shot to death with a blanket pulled over his body and a shotgun across his legs. Then there was the “rape dungeon” where boys were taken and abused.
For decades, Florida governors and citizens turned a blind eye to the terrible truth behind the fences of Dozier. It was well known that the school was abusively harsh. A common scold to misbehaving young men as late as the 1980’s would be to “straighten up, or you’ll be off to Marianna.”
Too long have both the powers that be and the public at large failed the young men, children, that were abandoned to Dozier. It’s too late to save them from the terrible conditions they were forced to endure but it is not too late to remember them and ensure that such a tragedy can never occur again.