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Karlis

Mystery graves: Florida boys' reform school

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Mystery surrounds graves at boys' reform school - Marianna, Florida

Scientists are sifting through 100-year-old paperwork to determine who is buried in this makeshift cemetery on the grounds of a former Florida reform school for boys.

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These places were notoriously brutal and abusive in the past, although they have a much harder time getting away with it today.

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Marianna, Florida (CNN) -- This Florida panhandle town is the home of a mystery that has been lost to time.

A small cemetery buried deep into the grounds of a now-defunct boys reform school dates back to the early 1900s. Rusting white steel crosses mark the graves of 31 unidentified former students.

Former students said the deaths were at the hands of abusive administrators, but a 2009 state investigation determined there was no evidence of criminal activity connected with any of the deaths or of abusive treatment.

But the investigation did not clear up the mystery over the fate of 50 other students who died at the school and whose bodies have not been accounted for.

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I keep getting Deja Vu that I've seen this as a movie already?

-Sorry if this has already been posted. I did a forum search and didn't find anything.

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I keep getting Deja Vu that I've seen this as a movie already?

-Sorry if this has already been posted. I did a forum search and didn't find anything.

This is absolutely a movie plot.....possibly a foreign movie ? I know I've seen it .Can't recall now .

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This is absolutely a movie plot.....possibly a foreign movie ? I know I've seen it .Can't recall now .

I just googled The White House Boys. There is actually a lot of stuff out there on this.

We have a similar grave site that is currently being moved here in Central New York... This place has always intrigued me. There is only one remaining building that has just been completely refurbished and currently being used by the Community College.

Deaths at the Poor House.

Deaths and burials of inmates seem to have been handled in two ways. Early on, the Poor House buried their own dead behind the Poor House complex on what has been called "Poor House Knoll" or "Bunker Hill". During epidemics we know they were buried there in mass graves. There is also a one-acre plot called Willow Grove behind the Walnut Grove Cemetery on Onondaga Hill that was a county burial ground for some years before the present Loomis Hill Cemetery. Deaths of inmates were kept on 2 pages at the back of the earliest ledger, 1827-1831. The next ledger, 1831-1836, contains one page of Deaths. By 1896, continuing through 1973, the deaths are listed in 4 separate ledgers. One page shows several deceased inmates were picked up by Syracuse Medical College. Pasted inside the back cover is the State Law which said, in essence, that corpses not claimed by relatives or friends within 24 hours after notice of death, were to be sent to the nearest medical college for the purpose of teaching medicine, anatomy or surgery.

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UPDATE

TAMPA, Fla. — Anthropologists have found evidence of 98 deaths and more graves than previously identified at a now-closed state reform school in the Panhandle, according to a report released Monday.

An interim report released by the University of South Florida in Tampa says the researchers found at least 50 gravesites at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, about 60 miles west of Tallahassee.

That's 19 more than had been identified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a 2010 investigative report. The university's researchers also believe there may be even more gravesites than those they've found so far.

The FDLE was unable to substantiate or refute claims that inmate deaths were caused by the school's staff, or that staff members physically and sexually abused them. The school opened in 1900 and was closed last year as a cost-cutting measure.

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UPDATE

Thanks for the update. :tu:

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No problem. :)

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As requested by a Florida Senator, I hope the Feds do get involved to assist.

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Boys school probe stirs painful memories

MARIANNA, Florida (CNN) -- Leaning against his cane, Bryant Middleton shuffled toward the makeshift cemetery. Tears welled in his eyes as he leaned down to touch one of the crosses.

"This shouldn't be," he said. "This shouldn't be."

Thirty-one crosses made of tubular steel and painted white line up unevenly in the grass and weeds of what used to be the grounds of a reform school in Marianna, Florida. The anonymous crosses are rusting away but their secrets may soon be exposed.

When boys disappeared from the school, administrators explained it away, said former student Roger Kiser.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/12/15/boys.school.memories/index.html

Greetings'

Here is an older article with a bit of background information.

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White House Boys child abuse case.

At the Florida Industrial School For Boys in Marinna,FL atrocities took place from at least the 1940's through the 1960's which until recently were kept hidden inside the victims. One victim started a website and support system for these boys now men who were beaten beyond my comprehension. Thanks to this brave man Roger Dean Kiser author of The White House Boys: An American Tragedy I am able to tell you their story. Thank you Mr.Kiser and all the brave White House Boys for allowing this blog to be written.

rdkmainphoto.jpg Roger Dean Kiser thestrapaaaaaaa.jpg an example of the paddle used on these boys

Many of these boys were not sent to the reform school for any crime,they simply weren't wanted or were orphans. They were taken to a building at the school behind the mess hall called the White House and were told to lay on a filthy mattress on a bed frame with springs. They then had to hold onto the metal bed frame and bite the nasty pillow while they were beat with a leather strap that had a metal strip inside for reinforcement. The wounds were horrendous. They bled down there legs and had blackness from their lower back to their knees. Many of these men have permanent scars on their bottoms and upper thighs. Some have disc damage from being so hard. One man even lost his fertility from the beatings damaging his testis. Here is the recollection of the school doctor's dau.: From "For Their Own Good" St.Pete Times

Dr. Wexler is dead, but his daughter remembers helping her father, who had poor eyesight, when their family lived on campus. Sheila

Wexler says she occasionally treated boys who had cuts or welts on their behinds. "But if they needed a stitch," she says, "it

would only be a few." Would you beat your child until they only need a "Few Stitches?" A casual, horrific statement that shows the Mindset at Marianna.

whitehouseceremony.jpeg The White House Boys at the sealing of the white house for good by Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice.

Dozier_20graves_202-211x211.jpg cemetery at the school

There is a cemetery at the school,now called the Arthur G. Dozier School that records say only contains boys who died in a fire or flu epidemic. The boys who died in the fire it's reported were shackled to their beds unable to escape in 1909. There are other boys there too such as a boy called Owen (his Middle Name) Smith who was shot in the back of the head by police for running away from the horrors. Another boy died of cancer after being sent home 3 times after beatings paralyzed him. Every time his mom got him walking they make him come back and beat him paralyzed again. His tumor was removed once but ultimately killed him after it spread to his lungs. It is safe to say these beating hastened this poor boys death.

Michael_O.jpg Michael O'McCarthy

You're probably wondering who these monsters were. The names of some are known: R.W. Hatton,Arthur G. Doizer Mr. Mitchell and Troy Tidwell the so called one armed man. Tidwell and Mitchell are still alive. The other have passed and have had to tell the Lord the truth on their respective judgement days. Troy Tidwell is being sued for the abuse he dolled out on these boys. I watched his deposition and saw an 87 (Now 89) year old man smile sadistically at times and lie through his dentures or play dumb throughout. It made me angry. Thank you Mr. Kiser for you help on this blog and for the pictures.

Finally I would like to say goodbye to a brave White House Boy who passed last year, Michael OMcCarthy. Thank you sir. http://www.thewhitehouseboysonline.com/

http://www.thewhitehouseboys.com/

tidwellclose.jpg Troy Tidwell giving deposition

http://genkidjericho.blogspot.com/2011/08/white-house-boys-child-abuse-case.html#!/2011/08/white-house-boys-child-abuse-case.html

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Proof supporting the White House Torture Chamber beatings

By Roger Dean Kiseron December 16, 20102010-12-16 17:31:26

Florida law at the time did not allow beating or corporal punishment for adults in jail. It did allow whipping or strapping children. But the children's bureau of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare said in its guidelines for juvenile lockups: "Corporal punishment should not be tolerated in any form."

http://www.zimbio.com/Arthur+G.+Dozier+School+for+Boys/articles/fah9OraUp5j/Proof+supporting+White+House+Torture+Chamber

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Okay some of the info you've shared seems to be conflicting. When I think of a reform school, I think of juveniles who have committed crimes. Yet the source you quote in post #12 states:

Many of these boys were not sent to the reform school for any crime,they simply weren't wanted or were orphans.

I don't believe that abuse of orphans just for the sake of abuse happens anymore and hasn't for a long time. I would, however, readily believe that all manner of physical and mental abuse has been and will be meted out on juvenile criminals, no matter how petty the crime.

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Reading Lady Kasey's post I having worked in the Superintendant's office of a "reform" school in (state's name) I did not see the "White House" happening today at least not in this state. Of course there is always the chance of an isolated monster but there are systems in place to locate any mistreatment and address it. I worked at a maximum secuity facility and at times we held over 300 youths. I can clearly remember at one point generating just a list of those youths who had been incarcerated for a homicide and I had a full page of names, single-spaced of those youths who had committed a homicide.

I am sorry to say that there are no such systems in place to protect those who are assigned to "guard" or control these youth. I can think of a couple of incidents in particular. One in which the housing unit had a total power failure at night. No windows, no light what so ever and one guard in charge of approx 35 youth ages 16 to 22. Of course, the youth began converging on this guard and his control system computer which would open all the doors while the guard was on the phone trying to call for assistance. One youth in particular kept approaching and reaching for the controls. The guard requested this youth to stand back, again and again and finally as the youth reached again, the guard slapped him in the face - What would you have done in the dark in that situation. The guard was fired for mistreatment of a youth.

The second situation is even more sad. With recent budget cuts, etc. youth are being merged into housing units, causing a larger numbers. This particular guard was relatively new and, again, he was alone with over 30 youths. When he did not reply to an hourly count, they went to check on the unit. The guard had been pushed in a closet and beaten to death by three of the youth. One of which was wearing the guard's hat when they got to the unit.

This guard's wife was seven months pregnant at the timea with 2 other small children. He had only worked there about 3 months when he was left alone in the unit with youth that were just transferred to him and who he did not know. No charges were filed on two of the youth that had participated and the story was never released to the press because the state did not want to admit for cost saving more youth were assigned to each living unit.

The past is horrifyiing and I'm not in any way justifying it or minimizing it. I guess what I am saying is the reverse swing can go too far.

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Still and all, Duncansmom, you clearly worked in a reform school. The juveniles sent to that particular facility were there because they broke the law in some way. Not because they were simply unwanted or had been orphaned.

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We can't change the past or bring these boys back. I just hope the investigation into each of their deaths is thorough and it must be said, there will be some at least who have died of disease or other non-criminal causes but I suspect given their age, death is inherantly unnatural in a nurtured environment and there will be evidence of crime also.

How sad.

Edited by libstaK

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