(Article by James Achisa, Political Blind Spot) -- For years there were rumors about the nearly 100 boys who died while at the Dozier School for Boys. The institution itself, located just west of Tallahassee, was formerly known as the Florida State Reform School, and the Florida Industrial School for Boys.
State records indicate that 96 boys died while “attending” the school in which they were incarcerated. The Dozier school was opened around the turn of the twentieth century, and became notorious for allegations of abuse and brutality.
Now, an excavation has uncovered the remains of 55 people, all apparently children, in a disturbing graveyard. This totals 24 more than officials recorded, and five more than researchers from the University of South Florida believed they would uncover.
In August of 2013, Florida officials voted to begin exhumations of the bodies at the now-shuttered school, and researchers from the University of South Florida located and excavated the bodies from September through December.
A team of nearly 50 researchers began exhumation of the bodies back in August of 2013, but have only now released the results of their months-long findings.
Erin Kimmerle, a USF associate professor and project leader, said that, “This project has always been about fulfilling a fundamental human right for families who, like all of us, have a right to know what happened to their loved ones and are entitled to bury their relatives in a manner in which they deem proper.”
Kimmerle and her dig team were granted a permit to at the site back in 2011. But using ground-penetrating radar, they discovered that there suspicions about the murdered students was correct, even before the dig began.
Police are now working with the team and contacting families of students who went missing at the school, in order to obtain DNA samples to match against the remains found.
The question on many Floridians’ minds is “how could school staff have gotten away with it?” How could the school have murdered so many children, without ever being stopped? This should be a wake-up call about how society disregards the rights and lives of those being punished – even sometimes for fairly trivial offenses – even when the incarcerated are children.
(Article by James Achisa)