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Full Rigor Podcast: Florida School for Buried Boys

Edmund D. Fountain/Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool, File

The former Dozier School for Boys in the city of Marianna, Fla is the site of unthinkable abuse with dozens of bodies found buried in makeshift graves on the property.
Spanning the school’s 111 year history, there were reports of abuse, beatings, rape, torture and murder of students.

The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys opened in 1900 and closed in 2011, after more than a century of notoriety for its depraved treatment of students. Allegations of beatings, sexual abuse and forced labor were made against the school over the course of its history, although school officials denied wrongdoing. The horrific conditions were finally confirmed in 2010. The school closed in 2011 after an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found widespread abuse. From its opening from it had no fence…white and colored students were segregated until 1966.

A cemetery was located in the North Side, known as the Boot Hill Cemetery. Most of the graves were unmarked, and records of many of the documented 100 students who died at the facility were lacking. A 2014 report from an extensive forensic investigation, carried out by University of South Florida beginning in 2011, said the buried remains of 55 students were found, including numerous remains found outside the cemetery boundaries, in the woods or brush areas.

Bones, teeth, and artifacts from grave sites were sent to the University of North Texas Health Science Center for DNA testing. In January 2014, the University of South Florida announced that excavations have yielded remains of 55 bodies, almost twice the number documented in official records.

In late March 2019, an additional 27 “possible” graves were identified during a pollution clean-up on the Dozier site.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis directed state agencies to work with Jackson County officials to “develop a path forward.”

Listen to Full Rigor Podcast here.