It has been called the Florida school for boys, the Dozier school or simply Marianna, but under any title, this facility has a disturbing past. One of the men who found himself thrust into this school lives in east Idaho and wants more people to know about the events that he says took place there.
The man, who doesn’t want to be identified by name described his desire to get the story out when he said that, “we’re talking a lot of boys killed, disappeared, never came home. Bring this story out, tell the world.”
How did this man end up living at the school? He was living with his family, including an alcoholic and physically abusive father. He ran away from home for the first time and a Florida judge found him, “ungovernable.” He was in the dozier school for nine and a half months at the age of fifteen. This man told me that once you’re in, there were severe consequences for trying to escape.
In speaking of the nearby prison’s help finding boys, the former Marianna student said, that, “They would get the dog boys from ACI (Prison) they would go out in the swamps and look for you. I guarantee you right now you will find remains of children in those swamps who tried to get away, who went rabbit. But if the convicts caught you, Lord, have mercy on you, Lord have mercy on you.”
The school was finally closed in 2011 after years of reports of mistreatment, beatings and boys who came to the school and were never heard from again. The University of South Florida is currently working to unearth some of the graves on that school property. The man that I spoke to said that these graves shouldn’t be considered such since they were essentially ragged holes with bodies put inside. This man’s time in Marianna has left him living with pain all these years.
The former Dozier student explained that, “Had I known what the future was going to hold for me for the next fifty years to go through this mental anguish; the hate that I have, I would prefer to have been one of the victims thrown in a hole.”