HOUSE OF HORRORS
Johann Wagener 3-31-13
For over a century the Florida School For Boys in Mariana Florida was a dumping ground for young boys that the Florida State Courts and Law Enforcement Agencies deemed to be an appropriate punishment for those who in any way broke the law. Including, for example, minor infractions like the theft of an empty soda bottle that one of the unfortunate inmates was caught trying to redeem for a nickle.
Having been an inmate there myself in the late 50’s (convicted for eloping with my future wife) I can personally attest that there was little or no effort to hide the fact that this institution was much more than a school but rather a penal colony where torture, beatings, rape, and even murder wore condoned.
The Florida School for Boys, also known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys (AGDS), was a reform school operated by the state of Florida in the panhandle town of Marianna from January 1, 1900, to June 30, 2011. For a time, it was the largest juvenile reform institution in the United States. A second campus was opened in the town of Okeechobee in 1955. Throughout its 111-year history, the school gained a reputation for abuse, beatings, rapes, torture, and even murder of students by staff. Despite periodic investigations, changes of leadership, and promises to improve, the allegations of cruelty and abuse continued. Many of the allegations were confirmed by separate investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2010 and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in 2011. State authorities closed the school permanently in June 2011.
As a result of diligent and determined efforts of a group of remaining survivors who call themselves “The White House Boys” http://www.officialwhitehouseboys.org/ have succeeded in bringing these atrocities to light and were able to get the attention of local, state and federal authorities (not to forget the media) so that justice for the victims is now imminent.
I want to encourage you to sign a petition supporting these efforts using this link;