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State Formally Apologizes for Atrocities at Dozier School for Boys

April 26th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Florida officially apologized today to hundreds of men who were abused at a state run boys school in the 1950’s and 60’s.
The two dozen survivors stood as their names were called. They came to personally hear the apology..some from as far away as Texas.
“We say to you… We apologize. We are sorry,” read Senator Darryle Rouson on the Senate Floor.
For decades, the state turned a blind eye to abuses at the panhandle boys school.
At least 500 have said they bore witnesses to the horrors.
Charles Fudge was one of four brothers sent to the reformatory.
““It is something you live with every day. You remember your cottage number, your locker number,” said Fudge.
Johnny Lee Gaddie says many more were killed that the 55 bodies recovered.
“They was feeding the boys to the hogs. The hogs will eat anything. And they eat the bone,” said Gaddie.
The States apology came too late for those who died, but for survivors, the apology did bring some solace.
Some would like to see the state do more.
“If they could just make restitutions to these families that lost their children up there,” said survivor, Robert St. Clair.
The apology may not be able to mend the wounds of those that suffered, but the Sate’s commitment to never allow it to happen again may hopefully prevent future wounds.
Survivor Robert Staley says he sees the State improving on that front already.
“Things where they’re taking boys and they’re not just sending them on the pipeline to prison like they were. They’re keeping them in group homes, they’re trying to do something,” said Straley.
Still uncertain is whether lawmakers will spend one million dollars to build two memorials and rebury the bodies unearthed at the boys school.
The House bill includes the money for the memorials and also the possibility of some restitution for victims. The Senate says it will be considering adopting those previsions.

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