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    Posted July 29, 2015 by

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    Often times we hear stories of corruption within our correctional system. When attempting to put things in perspective we rationalize by thinking "deadly criminals usually inspire this sort of thing." Often in these cases it's our nature is to turn our backs because somehow two wrongs will create a right.


    In the process of turning our backs to many painful realities we also manage to miss out on horrid truths and events, some that will go on for lengthy periods of time if allowed. One such truth is the story of the Dozier School for boys AKA the Florida School for Boys. For those not familiar, this is the reform school where very recently the University of South Florida uncovered the graves of 55 students.


    The school was opened for over 100 years and throughout is history, rather than reform the youth in the state of Florida, it often forced it into a struggle for survival. The school was a den of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Often times this abuse would lead to death. A very real truth about this place is the fact that during the dark period of segregation, the biggest level of discrimination was aimed not at blacks, but at orphans.


    There was equality in the school, in relation to punishment. Students would be subjected to lashings with thick leather belts, usually in a building referred to as the "White House." These lashings would leave students bloody, frightened and in deep pain, the kind of pain that never goes away. The students at Dozier were often there for offenses that were not always criminal in nature, calling into question the legality of many of the stays.


    What exactly did this school do for the youth of Florida? Beyond the abuse, which is well documented, did it foster greater understanding of societal norms? No, this school created a greater sense of darkness, loss, and desperation in children that often came form abusive homes, when they actually had homes.


    The exhumation of bodies by the University of South Florida was a huge revelation of the abuse, remains were found with blunt force trauma to the head, among other horrible revelations. This are not things that can in any way be undone, but they can be prevented from ever happening again. This particular story has been circulating for over eight years now, you may ask why not sooner. The fact is that the survivors of these tragedies that are now coming forward have been carrying their scars for too many years, more than humanly bearable.


    As a society we owe it to these brave survivors, to the fallen, and to the irreversibly scarred, to speak about this in terms of helping create change. Let's ban together and stop it from happening again. The upcoming documentary "Boys School" will delve deep into the stories of the survivors, as a way to illustrate the hurt left behind by a school that was supposed to help reform youth, not twist it and destroy it.

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