The state of Florida is now investigating whether dozens of students were killed and buried at the Dozier School for Boys, a one-time reform school in the city of Marianna.
Dozier School for Boys Investigation
A group of former students who call themselves “The White House Boys” came forward this week and claimed guards at the Dozier School for Boys abused students, often to the point of death, during the 1950s and 1960s. Some of the children, they believe, were buried in shallow graves on the grounds. Each grave has a small metal cross above it.
Governor Charlie Crist called upon the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine if their claims were true. “Questions remain unanswered as to the identity of the deceased and the origin of these graves,” Crist told the agency. He ordered officers to see what, if anything, was beneath those metal markers. No official records exist.
The White House Boys
The White House Boys say their moniker comes from a concrete building where they witnessed the torture taking place. The four recount stories of boys being struck with leather and metal straps, even being placed inside drying machines. Black students received the worst of the beatings, the four say, and had their own separate room for punishment.
“I saw one of them murdered,” Roger Kiser, one of The White House Boys, told a Florida TV station. “He was put in the dryer because he got into the face of the counselor. They had the boys put him in the tumble dryer. I saw him about 30 minutes later, when he was brought out dead in a white blanket and thrown into the back seat of a car.”
The White House Boys located each other on the Internet, and — after reliving some of their experiences — decided to bring their story into the spotlight.
The Florida School for Boys Today
The Dozier School for Boys is now a state-run “high risk residential commitment facility.” Young men ages 13 to 21 go there following court orders. The Dozier School houses 135 young men, more than half of whom are considered sex offenders.
Roger Kiser’s Story: The Video
Roger Kiser recounts his memories of the Dozier School for Boys in an emotional story. Some of the images and language may be disturbing.