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Now the school’s sickening legacy is the subject of Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier, a documentary directed by Heidi Burke that airs on LMN on Friday night. The Florida School for Boys, as it is also known, opened in Marianna, in the Florida Panhandle, in 1900. Boys were sent there for crimes like smoking cigarettes and skipping school.
Based largely on Montgomery’s articles, Deadly Secrets convincingly makes the case that the decades of abuse at Dozier were, in fact, no secret at all. Once at Dozier, they were subject to whippings and, often, rapes, prolonged incarcerations and, sometimes, outright murder.
A Florida A&M University history professor advising the task force argued it would be a "slap in the face" to have a memorial situated somewhere else in the state.
University of South Florida researchers concluded a multi-year investigation of the campus and exhumed dozens of bodies buried there.
Their final report says nearly 100 people, including two adult staff members, died at Dozier between 19.“The task force is also charged with recommending the location of a site for the re-interment of unidentified or unclaimed remains that were part of a forensic investigation conducted by the University of South Florida at the school,” the release said.
“At this meeting, the task force members will also vote on their recommendations to be included in the final report to the Legislature.”Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics.
He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter.
Under legislation (SB 708) passed this year, the panel was set up “to submit recommendations regarding the creation and maintenance of a memorial honoring the children who lived and died” at the school in Marianna, Jackson County.
The school, opened in 1900 about 60 miles west of Tallahassee, was shuttered in 2011.While I was at UNT, someone told me a story even more disturbing than the one I was covering: In the swamps of Florida, there was a reform school where boys were tormented by the very people charged with protecting them. The UNT Center for Human Identification was working with researchers from the University of South Florida to figure out to whom those remains belonged, doing the unglamorous but necessary work of putting names to bones.My curiosity spiked, but Dozier had already been the subject of an excellent Tampa Bay Times series by Ben Montgomery, whose relentless attention to the abuses there made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Milton, was the descendant of slave owners, and he and his successors ran the reform school like a cross between a penal colony and plantation (there were black and white boys at Dozier, but the school was segregated).Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press.Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. Task force meets to discuss unidentified remains from Dozier school A task force met Wednesday to determine how to remember dozens of unidentified children found at the Dozier School for Boys.State Attorney Glenn Hess, the lead prosecutor for six north Florida counties, told state investigators in late May there was not enough evidence to pursue murder charges and that too much time had passed to charge anyone with abuse.