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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Man Recalls Horrors Of Florida Reform School

Dick Colon, a member of the White House Boys, walks through grave sites near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., Oct. 21, 2008. (Phil Coale/AP)

Dick Colon, a member of the White House Boys, walks through grave sites near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., Oct. 21, 2008. (Phil Coale/AP)

Roger Dean Kiser was 12 years old when he was first sent to the Florida School for Boys in Marianna. That was in 1959.

The state-run reform school became the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

“You don’t see, hear or say anything. And if you do, they’re going to get you, and they’re liable to beat you to death.”

In the 1950s and 1960s, former residents say they were beaten and some of their friends were killed.

“The first thing I noticed is men would come into the dorms at night and the boys would be taken out,” Kiser told Here & Now. “Some would never come back.”

Kiser says he was brutally beaten, witnessed rapes of boys by staff, saw boys taken to be beaten who never returned and even witnessed the death of one boy.

“I’ve only been able to describe it almost as a concentration camp,” Kiser said. “You have to be very careful — you don’t see, hear or say anything. And if you do, they’re going to get you, and they’re liable to beat you to death or you’re liable to disappear in the middle of the night.”

Roger Kiser kneels at the grave of a fellow inmate at the Aurthur G. Dozier School for Boys following ceremonies dedicating a memorial to the suffering of the White House Boys, Oct. 21, 2008, in Marianna, Fla. (Phil Coale/AP)

Roger Kiser kneels at the grave of a fellow inmate at the Aurthur G. Dozier School for Boys following ceremonies dedicating a memorial to the suffering of the White House Boys, Oct. 21, 2008, in Marianna, Fla. (Phil Coale/AP)

Kiser says the title of his 2009 book, “The White House Boys: An American Tragedy,” refers to the small building where boys were brought to be beaten.

The Dozier School was closed in 2011, but questions remain as to how many of the “disappeared” boys are buried on the school grounds.

Researchers have found evidence of nearly 100 bodies buried on the property.

Earlier this month, the Florida legislature approved the exhumation of the bodies. The digging is slated to begin Labor Day weekend.

Kiser said the “disappeared” boys will finally be reunited with their families and receive proper burials.

“I think the governor, the state of Florida, owes every one of these boys a public apology,” he said.

Guest

  • Roger Dean Kiser, a former resident of the Dozier School for Boys and author of “The White House Boys: An American Tragedy.”

Transcript

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

Researchers from the Anthropology Department at the University of South Florida are getting ready to delicately plow the grounds of the now-closed Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. For decades, boys sent to this reform school said young inmates were beaten, even tortured, that some disappeared, that some were killed.

A 2009 investigation found no criminal activity, but more former students came forward. Then radar detected over 100 bodies buried on the campus in unmarked graves. Investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed many of the allegations. The school was closed in 2011.

Earlier this month, Governor Rick Scott and the rest of the Florida Cabinet voted to allow the independent university researchers to exhume the bodies, to complete an investigation but also return the bodies, whenever possible, to families and descendents.

Now this is a terrible story. A warning: It's very difficult to listen to. But some of the boys, now grown men, are relieved it's finally being heard. Sixty-seven-year-old Roger Kiser lived at Dozier from the age of 12 to 15. His book about his experiences there is called "The White House Boys: An American Tragedy," and he joins us from the studios of WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida. Roger, welcome.

ROGER DEAN KISER: Thank you.

YOUNG: Quite a story. First of all the title, "The White House Boys"?

KISER: Yes.

YOUNG: And what does that refer to?

KISER: Basically it's a small building in the Dozier School where they actually beat boys with a leather strap, two piece of quarter-inch leather about three feet long with a piece of sheet metal sewn in between.

YOUNG: All right, well this is a terrible story on so many levels. Tell us first: How did you end up at that school? And that's part of the terrible part of the story, how some of the young boys made their way there. It was originally called the Florida Industrial School for Boys, and you went in 1959 why?

KISER: I was raised in Children's Home Society in Jacksonville, Florida.

YOUNG: An orphanage.

KISER: Yes. And there was very little for us to do. So of course kids get into trouble. We were climbing the oak tree, climbing the pine trees. And one night we went out. The Jaycees in Jacksonville had bought the girls some bicycles, and we'd never ridden bicycles before.

So one night a bunch of us went out of the dormitory, got on the girls' bicycles, was riding them around the grounds. Matron Mother Winters and caught us, called the police. The next thing you know, we're in front of the judge, and he sent a bunch of us off to the Florida Industrial School for Boys.

YOUNG: How old were you?

KISER: I was 12 or 13 at the time.

YOUNG: Well, and we understand that there were other things in your background that might have provoked you to run away from the orphanage on occasion.

KISER: Well, I was molested from probably the age of six or seven up until I was about 12, and that was one of the reasons I kept running away.

YOUNG: This is a tough, tough story, and I'm imagining that when you were sent away from that orphanage, you thought maybe things would get better at the Florida Industrial School for Boys. It was a campus and from what we can hear kind of attractive.

KISER: Well it was actually beautiful. It was like driving onto a college campus. We drove in, there was manicured lawns, beautiful buildings. There was a swimming pool, a football field, a gymnasium. It had everything. I thought, well, I'm, you know, in heaven here. Little did I know that there was a monster hiding behind every blade of manicured grass.

YOUNG: Well, that sounds pretty extreme, but what we're hearing, and this is also now coming out of Florida, Florida officials, it was right out of Dickens. What were some of the things that you witnessed.

KISER: First of all, I guess the first thing I noticed, I was in one of the cottages, and men would come in at night, and boys would be taken out. Several times we walked into the bathroom, and we saw some of the men had the boys bent over the sink, and we knew what was going on there. I won't go into the details of that.

Then all of a sudden they would take boys, and some would never come back. And in one case there was a nine-year-old boy, I don't remember his name, he was taken out, and they - when the word got back to us, they said that the nine-year-old, when they took him out, was taken into the white house to beat him, that he had ran off.

And he was sent to ACI, the Appalachia Correctional Institution. Well, you don't send a nine-year-old to Appalachia Correctional Institution for running away. So we knew right then that the stories we were hearing about boys being killed and boys disappearing was probably true.

YOUNG: Did you actually witness a death?

KISER: Yes, I worked in the hospital, and on this one occasion, I had worked the day shift, went back to the cottage, and my cottage father told me to report back to the hospital, I had to work the evening shift. I went back to the hospital, there was a boy brought in probably around eight, nine, 10 years old. And he - his legs were just torn up.

And he was laying on the little - not a gurney but sort of a stainless steel table, and Nurse Womack(ph) told me to take his boots off. Well, I started taking his boot off to cut his pants off, and blood was coming out of his pants leg into the boot. And so I ran out into the hallway and started throwing up.

And she said you get your you know what back in here, and you do your job, young man. Well, we waited for the doctor, which never came, and so she told - another boy showed up, I don't remember who that was, and they had us carry the boy by the arms and the legs down the hallway into the main ward and put him in the bathtub.

And when they left, I stood there, the boy wasn't moving. And I started splashing cold water on him to try to get some of the blood off. And she came in and told me to sit out on the back deck, which I did, again waiting for the doctor. And then I guess about a half-hour later, the doctor still hadn't showed up, she came in and said you go down there and start cleaning up the emergency room there and clean up that blood off the floor.

I said what about that boy? She said there's nothing more we can do for that boy. So I knew he was dead right then.

YOUNG: That's Roger Kiser with, as we said, a disturbing description of the Dozier School for Boys in Florida, which was shut down in 2011, and now anthropologists are soon to begin exhuming bodies found buried on the campus, a move pushed by former students like Roger. His book is "The White House Boys," a tough conversation but a voice that wants to be heard. And we'll have more in a minute, HERE AND NOW.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

YOUNG: It's HERE AND NOW, and welcome back to our conversation with Roger Kiser, and again a warning, it's a tough conversation. He was an inmate at eh now-closed Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. His book is called "The White House Boys: An American Tragedy," a graphic description of what he and other former students say was decades of torturous punishment and even murder of boys at the school.

Now some background: Initially Florida blocked a University of South Florida anthropologist from exhuming graves at the school. Last spring, the state attorney general petitioned the governor to reconsider. Governor Rick Scott and other lawmakers recently voted to allow the exhumation, and it will begin Labor Day weekend.

Of the many employees the now grown students accuse of torturing and killing boys, only one is alive. A class action suit was brought against Troy Tidwell, but a court found the statute of limitations had run out. That suit was thrown out. And after that an attempt was made to pass a bill in the Florida legislature giving compensation to the victims and their families, but that proposal never made it to a vote.

Again, this is very difficult to hear, but Roger, as you know, Troy Tidwell said that what happened to students like you was just spanking. You write very graphically about the white house, the building where you and others say these beatings occurred. You say you were brutally whipped, paddled.

KISER: And when that paddle came down on me, I thought my head would explode. I came off the bed, jumped up onto the end of the bed springs and jumped into the corner, and they just started beating the hell out of me with the leather strap. When they got done, I was so bloody that when I went into Dr. Curry's office, which was the psychiatrist, the secretary said who are you.

And I said I'm Roger Kiser. And she knew me well. She says oh my God, you go over to Mr. Hatten's office. So I walked into Mr. Hatten's office, and I knew I couldn't sit down because when they beat you, you were almost like hamburger. And when I turned around, I sort of mumbled, one day I'm going to come back here, and I'm going to tell what you people are doing here.

And I turned around. He pointed right into my face, and he says that's a good way to wake up dead tomorrow morning, sonny boy. I knew right then that they were killing boys.

YOUNG: Was this just a group of sadists? What - I mean what is your sense of, now from this distance, what is your sense of how this happened and how it was allowed to happen?

KISER: Well basically, at the time I didn't think it was sadistic or anything, that's just the way it was. And of course it probably wasn't as bad on me in the reform school as would have been for someone who was raised in a family. But I was already institutionalized. So I was used to that type of treatment.

I've only been able to describe it almost as a concentration camp, and you realize you have to be very careful. You don't see, hear or say anything. And if you do, they're going to get you, and they're liable to beat you to death, or you're liable to disappear in the middle of the night.

YOUNG: Look, we know that you finally got out of Dozier when you were 15, lived on the streets because you didn't want to go back to the orphanage, which was also a terrible place. When did you start trying to get the state to pay attention to Dozier?

KISER: I actually said a few things to some ministers and schoolteachers when I got out. But nobody would listen. Nobody would believe that. I probably started governors all the way from I think his name was Governor Askew, there's five or six governors. Never heard anything until I finally got a letter back from Jeb Bush.

And all they did was apologize to me, they didn't do anything. And then I guess probably a few years had passed. I started working on the book. I've been working on this now for 22 years. And I went into classmates.com, and it asked me, you know, what school I went to up at Spring Park Elementary. And then it said what high school. Well, I didn't go to high school, only for two weeks at Lanyon here in Jacksonville.

So I said what the heck, I put down Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna. And about three or four days later, I went back in, and there was about five or six guys that put in the same thing who had been there. So I started talking with them, and this is when everything started to form.

And Robert Straley, which is another White House Boy, a friend of mine, contacted me, and that's when we started forming The White House Boys.

YOUNG: Well, and pushed to have Dozier looked at. The state finally agreed to send investigators in. The press found out about these unmarked graves that were on the campus, and the ball starts rolling to where we are today. Investigators found records indicating how people died, 96 people died, all young people except for two adults, disease, trauma, drowning. Seven young boys died trying to escape. One 16-year-old was shot.

Now we have anthropologists from the University of South Florida going to exhume the bodies. What do you hope that they find?

KISER: Well, I know what they're going to find. They're going to find a heck of a lot more bodies than what they think are up there. They're going to find a couple hundred bodies. They're going to find them in the dump. Some bodies they'll never find.

YOUNG: How validating has this been for you?

KISER: I was before the Senate when they made the vote with the governor, and I suppose I went a little numb when they voted, and I knew that the truth was finally going to come out. But what meant a lot to me was we received - after they voted, we received a standing ovation. The policemen stood up, the military people stood up, everybody stood up and clapped.

And it almost brought me to tears because through the years, we have been called nothing but a bunch of liars, a bunch of former juvenile delinquents who were after nothing but money, to put money in our pocket or to sell books. We were called by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement nothing but a bunch of old soldiers who couldn't get their war stories straight.

So that's what meant a lot to me. That was the vindication I got.

YOUNG: Roger Kiser, again his book is "The White House Boys: An American Tragedy." He lived at the Dozier School for boys from the age of 12 to 15, and the state of Florida is getting ready to exhume the bodies of boys who disappeared during their time there. Roger, are you going to go? Are you going to be there?

KISER: Well, I think the University of South Florida wants to try to keep themselves separate, and I think they should, you know, be independent from us or the state.

YOUNG: Right.

KISER: So that things are done legitimately. We are planning possibly to go up to Marianna before they start exhuming next week and possibly have some sort of a service for the boys because they're going to, in a sense, I guess, see light for the first time in a long time.

YOUNG: And a proper burial.

KISER: Yes.

YOUNG: Roger, thank you.

KISER: Well, I appreciate the time to be on, thank you.

YOUNG: And again the state of Florida has commissioned researchers at the University of South Florida to exhume the bodies. They'll be led by anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who led the investigating team that previously found causes of death for boys ranging from drowning to infectious disease. We'll continue to follow this story for you and see what they find this time around.

But if you live in Florida, we would love to hear from you. Do you think your state should revisit compensation for the boys and their families? Let us know at hereandnow.org.

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

Here are some other stories we are following today. Syrian rebels say hundreds are dead, including women and children, after the government allegedly used chemical weapons in a massive attack outside Damascus. Also an Egyptian court has ordered the release of Hosni Mubarak, the former leader. It's not clear if that order will be appealed.

And 70 percent of American workers have seen their wages stagnate or even decline for the past decade. Economists can't agree on how to fix the problem. Those and other stories coming up later on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And tomorrow here on HERE AND NOW, gay service members who get married will soon receive the same benefits as their straight colleagues. We'll speak with a 34-year-old Air Force major who is now planning his wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You know, when I was in college, I gave a speech on why I thought don't ask, don't tell should be repealed. It kind of seemed like a pipe dream at the time. Then obviously now within two years, that's gone. I can get married and have the federal government recognize it. I'm very hopeful and happy that things are going so quickly.

HOBSON: We will have that full conversation tomorrow on HERE AND NOW. The latest news is next. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Mike Sapp

    Thank you Roger my friend, for your long term dedication to exposing the truth of what really happened at Dozier. You deserve the best, you never gave up, just re-routed your search for justice for us all. I have the utmost respect for your forage ahead at all cost approach. Damn the torpedoes my friend

  • Bill98

    It’s too bad that those who were responsible for this atrocity will never pay for their crimes. But, at least the truth can be known.
    As for the orphanage, I don’t think that I ever heard who was responsible for the abuse that occurred there. That story should come out, as well.

  • Survivors of New Bethany

    People have a hard time believing anything occurs in the USA, as horrific as what happened to a countless number of boys, under the state’s “watchful eyes of children.” Since the Dozier School was closed in 2011 and researchers
    found evidence of nearly 100 deaths at the school… until all the boys’ bodies
    have been exhumed and identified, Floridians need to put a hold on the Dozier
    School land.

    If the land ends up in commercial hands, people will be walking in parking lots and stores, covering the bodies of an unknown number of dead children! The children deserve identification and proper burials. I’ve read accounts of siblings missing a sibling and it seems Florida would like to dispose of the Dozier School’s history in a manner similar to which the boys’ bodies were disposed.

  • bigmouthbass

    I am in tears. Sir, your courage and diligence is extraordinary; your story is unfathomable. May God bless and keep you and all who experienced such atrocities at such an evil place. My prayers are dedicated to you today.

  • Florida Bob

    Florida Republicans are always demanding personal accountability, it is about time they start practicing what they are preaching.

  • Ms Babbs

    Thank you Roger for standing up again for the children that the monsters at FSB / DOZIER abused, caused mental damage by their actions and killed many we are sure. Those boys that are crying out from the graves at the school will tell the rest of the story! Many kind thoughts and Blessings to you and family. I know it has been a long and costly fight for the truth TO BE TOLD.JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL !!

  • RobertT1977

    I live in Florida and I believe the state has done everything they possibly could to cover this story up. They knew what was going on since the 1950′s and they did nothing. It’s another part of the corrupt political and justice system in Florida. The surviving men and the relatives of those killed at this disgraceful institution should receive compensation from the state of Florida. It’s the least that can be done.

    • EyemNotFree

      The Florida Bar does not handle cases of kidnapping torture or inquisitions by the Bush cartel.
      We need to violently overthrow the US government and to raze Harvard and the other plutocratic education terrorists like my ancestors should have done in 1776 when they chased the British from Boston.

  • karen

    Thank you for speaking out about the abuse and neglect suffered by the children of Dozier. Your courage is not only admirable but may help other children who have been abused and neglected while under the State’s care. Children sent to residential facilities are often forgotten, thrown away – even by their own families. As a society, we don’t value our children enough to protect them by providing skilled, dedicated and trained staff when they are in our care. Abuse continues in such facilities but since these records are confidential, the public is unaware. Abuse reports and investigations for State run facilities need to made public (without identifying children) so there can’t be another Dozier.

  • Daisey Jayne Needlework

    Is Florida going to do the right thing? Each and every child that died by murder or otherwise should be accounted for. What kind of people would let this happen and then continue to cover it up?? No land should be sold until this is throughly and transparently resolved, then these children can rest in peace. And if any of the murderers/abusers are still alive they should pay for what they have done to our most vulnerable… And anyone found to have covered this up should pay for what they have done. These people should be ashamed, how do they live with themselves?

  • Ruby Bea

    From casey anthony to zimmerpig to this.. Fla ALWAYS comes down on the wrong side of history.. Fla is truely the ahole of the united states

  • Gsguy

    I lived in FL in the 50′s and 60′s and ran the streets since about 10. Through the intervention of my 6th grade teacher I was spared a trip to Mariana in ’62. For being with another kid who had allegedly swiped a pie from the front of a supermarket.
    Any “staff” from those days need to be tried and sentenced for child abuse, first. And then… .

    • nlcatter

      florida was populated by racist morons, so no surprise

  • JackNelsonSteward

    It took me a long time to start to wonder: What does a correctional institution for BOYS need with a CEMETERY!?

    Did you ever wonder about that?

    No matter who the kids were, those who ran Dozier knew where they came from because they got there through the courts. What need did they have of a place to bury kids?

    • SomeOtherDude

      The place existed from 1900 ’til 2011. At its peak in 1967, there were more than 800 boys there, plus many staffers lived on campus. Assuming there was an average of 400 kids per year for a period of 100 years, don’t you think there should be at least a few deaths, and don’t you think a few had no other place to be buried?

      I think there were actually around 100 deaths (mostly due to a fire and a couple of influenza outbreaks) over the years, and about half of those (mostly in the very early 20th century) are thought to be buried at “boot hill,” along with a couple of hound dogs and a peacock named Sue.

      I hate to be in the position of defending this god-awful place, but all human populations require CEMETERYS. All human populations have need of a place to bury kids,

      The real question is — are there substantially more bodies there, or in other places on campus? I kinda doubt it, but I wouldn’t be shocked.

      • JackNelsonSteward

        Those kids were placed there by the courts. They came from somewhere that “somewhere” was known. They were minors. They had families.
        Even in the event of catastrophes and epidemics, the places where those kids came from were known to the state.
        No there aren’t very many circumstances I can think of where a correctional institution for CHILDREN needs a CEMETARY.

        • SomeOtherDude

          You don’t know what you’re talking about. Dozier wasn’t strictly a correctional institution until it’s late years. Prior, there were always plenty of kids who were orphans or abandoned by their parents (often because they were retarded or gay) or who somehow wound up as wards of the state.

          But the simplest reason it needed a cemetery was because in 1914 neither the state nor the poor families of those (mostly black) kids cared to bear the expense of shipping their bodies around the state. That is, the same reason that every other institution of Dozier’s size and scope has/had a cemetery.

          • JackNelsonSteward

            I was talking about what I knew and thought. Yes, I did know what I knew and thought.
            There was more to know, and you brought some of it.
            I think what you’ve said makes sense.
            Thanks. I think you are correct.
            I also think we need to somehow sort all this out because it’s clear to me that some VERY bad things happened there. It also seems that there may be families in the state of Florida whose cousins and brothers and sons “disappeared” somehow while there and they deserve to know where they are.

          • SomeOtherDude

            Of course bad things went on there. but they were relatively mundane bad things. Picture a place with 800 or so boys, mostly of less than sterling character. Add a staff of mostly low paid punitive-minded rednecks who saw their job as keeping order and getting things done on time. Add a couple of higher ranking rednecks whose job it was to hand out punishment (a stupid grading system, beatings, or detention) based on behavior reports of the lower rednecks,

            Now imagine what most likely went on in such a situation. Well, that is exactly what happened. But torture chambers, walls dripping blood, daily gang rapes, murders by the score, mysterious disappearances by the dozens, etc? No.

            Remember that we kids were the bad people. The majority of the really bad things like rape and attempted murder that went on were boy on boy — not staff on boy.

          • JackNelsonSteward

            I’m native to the state, Dude, born down the coast from here just before the middle of last century. I’m well-acquainted with the mind-set you describe (“punitive-minded … ” etc.)

            Body parts in pig swill, though, isn’t “mundane bad things.” That’s SERIOUS bad things, seems to me.

            I appreciate you bringing what you saw there. I hope you keep doing that. I hope many other eyewitnesses will also speak clearly of what THEY saw there and we can spend some time separating fact from fiction about the place and settling this thing.

            If there were crimes committed, let’s reveal them. If not, let’s clear that up as well. Whatever the truth IS … let’s hear it.

          • SomeOtherDude

            Yeah, body parts in hog swill would be a bloody bad thing — if and only if it actually happened. But I know of no one who has actually ever testified that any such thing ever happened.

            And again, I was actually there and know what a crap-hole the place really was. I knew lots of kids that worked on the farms and in the processing plant. I never heard of any such thing, and I know of almost no one who might have gone missing.

            Now, I have a hard time believing stuff like that, especially since I’ve seen these claims grow fantastically over the last 5 years. I really don’t understand why people without a sliver of knowledge of the place are so willing to believe such outlandish tales. Geez — what’s next — organ harvesting?

            Like I said, the bad things that happened there were run of the mill bad things one would expect in the environment that existed there. Unfortunately, those aren’t quite as sensational or newsworthy.

          • JackNelsonSteward

            I heard a man in an interview describe exactly that: a hand, I think it was, literally in hog slop.

            Thank you for continuing to say what YOUR experience was and what you saw … and didn’t.

            The more people who do so the more accurate a picture we’ll get of that place.

          • SomeOtherDude

            The guy in the interview above specifically said he worked in the hospital. Therefore, he didn’t work at the hog farm. So at best, he’s maybe repeating something that maybe he heard. Or maybe not.

            But just think about it a minute. Why would someone, after killing some kid for some reason, chop off his hands and put them in the swill from the kitchens where somebody might see them. Do you really think the place was SO bad that there wasn’t a single decent person who might call the authorities?

            The place was around 1400 acres, and that was surrounded by woods and swamps. It had a dump. The whole are was rural and sparsely populated.

            So imagine you killed a kid. Your first thought is — I’ll cut his hands off and put them in a swill barrel? C’mon. That’s something out a cheap crime novel.

          • JackNelsonSteward

            I don’t recall hearing him speak about where he worked.
            I’m not in the business of evaluating veracity. I don’t have enough familiarity with the place to do so.
            I don’t know HOW bad the place was, or wasn’t. There are a number of people who have come forward speaking about things they saw there and right now I think it’s time to encourage more people to do so. That way we can get a clearer and clearer picture of the place.
            I know that a lot of the boys I grew up with were terrified of the place and that the mention of “Marianna” or “the reform school” was enough for me to re-evaluate actions I might be considering.

          • SomeOtherDude

            The interview is transcripted above. It clearly states that he worked in the hospital. The hands in the swill is in his later comments. No way he saw hog swill in the hospital. Maybe it’s a rumor he heard — who knows.

            Yes, you are probably in the business of evaluating veracity. If not, then you are in the business of buying bridges and swamp land — or any other sensationalistic bilge that someone wants to sell.

          • JackNelsonSteward

            We are talking about two different interviews.

            I said I HEARD a man in an interview claim to have seen body parts in hog swill, did you remember that?

            Here is the quote from ten days ago: “I heard a man in an interview describe exactly that: ”

            I HEARD an interview, I think it was broadcast on WMNF. That’s not the interview TRANSCRIBED above.

            Are you just automatically hostile or are you having a bad day?

          • SomeOtherDude

            Really?

            The person most often cited in Dozier stories *IS* the guy (Kiser) transcripted above. And the only mention of hands in a swill bucket anywhere on this page is from him, right?

            But OK — a search found nothing about “hands in a swill bucket” on the WMNF web site either.

            So. if you wanna put it that way — as an actual eyewitness to the history of that place (and a pretty astute researcher on the history of the place), I am automatically a little hostile to know-nothings who “heard something somewhere, but I can’t really say where but it sounds to me like something pretty awful happened,,,”

            You shouldn’t be so automatically defensive when what you imagine you know is challenged. Especially when it’s challenged by someone who knows a heck of a lot more about the place than you do.

            Or are YOU just having a bad day?

          • JackNelsonSteward

            I’m not “automatically defensive.” You didn’t just “challenge” what I “imagine I know.”

            “Yes, you are probably in the business of evaluating veracity. If not, then you are probably in the business of buying bridges and swamp land — or any other sensationalistic bilge that someone wants to sell.”

            That has nothing to do with challenging what I imagine I know. It’s an aggressive insult, unnecessary in this conversation.

            I started out asking questions.

            Maybe you could stop being such an ass..

          • SomeOtherDude

            Physician, heal thyself.

          • JackNelsonSteward

            I am not a physician.

            Good bye.

      • Suzi

        I wen to The Ohio State University for 7 yrs with an enrollment of 60,000+ a yr and we had no cemetary and I dont recall more than a handful of students dying during my stay…something is rotten in Florida

        • SomeOtherDude

          You didn’t go there in 1914 and it probably wasn’t full of poor black kids either. All of the “official” burials there were before WWII. So try appreciating the different context just a little bit.

          • Suzi Sullivan

            No youre missing the point because you really have none..and Columbus Ohio is kinda borderline? Whats your point saying that? Im born and raised in Florida not far from Marianna and this place has been talked about for years but your conjecture is as stupid as your sarcasm

          • SomeOtherDude

            OK — maybe you just need it said simpler — the point you think you made is dummmmmm. A reform school in FL in 1914 was very little like a modern college campus.

            The controversy isn’t about the existence of a graveyard. It’s whether or not there are people there other than those that are supposed to be there.

        • SomeOtherDude

          And BTW — why do the make y’all say “THE” Ohio State University?

  • SomeOtherDude

    I was there.

    You should take the more sensational claims about Dozier with a giant block of salt. It was never the place that it was advertised to be, or that it should have been. Things happened there that should never have happened to kids. The whitehouse was real ; we were viciously beaten for trivial reasons — far beyond any level that any parent (or substitute) would find commensurate with offense or goal.

    But consider Hanlon’s Razor — Never attribute to malice that which is explained by stupidity. The staff were mostly dumb *ss minimum-wage rednecks who couldn’t get much beyond “a good kick in the *ss ‘ll fix ‘em.” I never feared staff would rape or kill me — they just seemed to think of me as an insubordinate object to be dealt with. I can’t say as much about the guys in the bunks next to me. But then, I didn’t think the staff cared much about that either.

    This place should be exposed as the hell-hole it really was — not the imaginary hell-hole it wasn’t.

    • JackNelsonSteward

      When an eyewitness describes body parts in hog swill it’s hard to imagine much “more sensational claims” than that unless someone comes forward to describe a dedicated torture room … except that someone basically already did.
      When it is fully exposed, we will know what “it really was” and what “it wasn’t.”

      • SomeOtherDude

        Like I said, I was actually there. You weren’t. I actually made a few trips to that “dedicated torture room” (the whitehouse was actually a building). You didn’t. Don’t bother explaining to me what you think you know.
        I *AM* an eyewitness to what went on in that place, and I’ll tell you that you should keep a normal, healthy level of skepticism about most anything you read, particularly this subject.

        • JackNelsonSteward

          I appreciate the fact of your being an eyewitness. I was speaking of what another eye witness said, not trying to school you. I ONLY know what eyewitnesses have said’
          … and, I am eagerly awaiting what YOU have to say about that place. It is my earnest hope that all of the people who are eyewitnesses to what happened there stand up and speak as you have.
          Personally, I’d rather you speak about what you saw than warn others what they should NOT believe.
          Just tell it …

    • nlcatter

      people were in concentration camps and never saw gas chambers, and yet they did exist so stfu someotherdude

      • SomeOtherDude

        Since you were never in a concentration camp, I’m guessing you know nothing about that subject either. So stfu yourself.

  • AuthorRDK

    The worst is yet to come. There are many boys who will never be found. The horrors of seeing severed hands in the hog pin slop buckets and boys burnt in the incarcerator will never be proven. Those responsible are now dead, except Troy Tidwell. Many of my stories are on web site http://www.thewhitehouseboys.com. Thank you all for the very kind words.

    • JackNelsonSteward

      Please keep tellin’ it …

  • AuthorRDK

    If I am not mistaken about 20-30 young kids came to the facility and died within 30 days of coming to the school. 30 young healthy children dying and no one looks into that? This is why such horrors were allowed to continue for so long. No one questioned anything the school did. They were the largest employer in the area and what they did and said was the law at hand..

  • nick

    government legislators and workers – both a bunch of lazy incompetents,!

  • Ian Driscoll

    Maybe the Florida legislature could reconsider giving these victims compensation that they deserve? These boys (now adults) did just have their childhood ruined (some actually lost their lives) due to a bunch of sadistic adults and coupled with an oblivious government who called those who survived liars. Compensation would be the classy thing to do Florida.

  • RussLetica

    May they all be return to their families for a proper burial. So that the life they represented is remember and never forgotten.

    So we never forgot what was allowed to happen to children in this country by Governments and Churches who ran these Child Prison Camps.

  • Steven James

    A bunch of raging homos running the show UNCHECKED what do you expect . Fortunately Heaven will deal with these creatures. God bless these victim…

  • jeanette lyn

    OMG, how sad. There should be a movie made of this, so sad

  • EyemNotFree

    I am a victim of being drugged kidnapped and having my back broken by the Bush Cartel and the CIA when I was a child. I still have the inquisition device in my back to prove it.
    Violently overthrow the US Government and throw Florida Governor Jeb Bush in one of the prisons he had built.

  • Irish Republican

    Print the photos, names and addresses of the abusive guards.

  • J. S.

    I was one of those boy’s there during that time when I knew it was happing and just like Kiser I knew to keep my mouth shut. I got my finger twisted by one of the cottage father’s as there were known and my finger as of this day it has remain that way. No one said anything about the brutal treatment that went on in the place known as “THE HILL”

  • MamaSue

    There is an especially hot place in hell awaiting Troy Tidwell

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