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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    05.16.18 @ 11:48 AM
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    Default ''we would be taken to the White House and beaten."

    Inquiry urged into remains buried at school for boys

    Convinced the 32 unmarked graves at the Florida School for Boys in Marianna are the bodies of boys abused and killed there decades ago, four former residents of the school are demanding the governor and state and federal attorneys investigate.

    Standing on the steps of the U.S. Courthouse on Monday, the men recounted painful memories of their classmates who disappeared decades ago after brutal beatings or torture at the school for delinquent boys. They asked Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to identify the remains to bring the families peace.

    The graves were on what officials once called ''the colored side'' of the school. The men now believe they remain unmarked ''to hide the nature of those children's deaths,'' said Michael O'McCarthy, 66, who resided at the school in 1958-59.

    ''Given the institution's meticulous records . . . there is no practical reason that the identity of the children buried there was not recorded,'' he said.

    Gov. Charlie Crist said he is supportive of an investigation and the Department of Juvenile Justice ''will cooperate with any investigation and turn over every document,'' said Frank Penela, department spokesman.

    On Monday, the men recalled stories of boys who mouthed off to a supervisor and were shoved into a tumbling clothes dryer and left alone. Others were sent to the torture chamber known as the White House for beatings, and never returned, they said. And then there was the boy who mixed orange juice with rubbing alcohol and got intoxicated.

    ''He never came back to the cottage. He never returned to school. He just literally vanished off the face of the earth,'' recalled Bryant E. Middleton of Fort Walton Beach, now 63.

    In 1959, Middleton conspired with the missing boy to spike their orange juice but, rather than get drunk, Middleton got sick.

    ''The last I saw of him, he was very intoxicated and I saw a very important staff member -- one that we all feared on a daily basis -- walk over and grab him and bring him up to the administration building,'' he said. ``That boy was never seen again.''

    The men learned of the graves six weeks ago when the Department of Juvenile Justice invited five of the men back to the school to dedicate a plaque outside the white cinder-block building -- the so-called White House. The ceremony was held to mark an end to a dark and brutal chapter of Florida's history.

    O'McCarthy is now project director of the group that calls itself ''The White House Boys'' and he believes the location of the grave provides reasonable evidence that the victims are African-American male children.

    ''We are shocked and puzzled . . . that neither the Florida governor's office, the Department of Juvenile Justice nor Florida Department of Law Enforcement have launched an investigation into these remains,'' he said.

    Dick Colon, 65, of Baltimore, one of the White House Boys, recalled working in the laundry in the late 1950s with some black boys. Colon went into the restroom and when he came out, the room had been cleared and one black boy was tumbling in the dryer.

    `` I think about it very often because I feel guilty. I could have walked over there and opened the door and try to give him some help, but what would happen to me if I were to do that? So I just walked out to the street and that particular kid was never seen again.''

    Roger Kiser, 63, of Brunswick, Ga., believes he witnessed two to three deaths during his stay at the school in 1958-59 and again in 1960. One was a white boy who was shaking cream to make butter under the dining table -- but a school attendant suspected him of masturbating. He was taken away ``and never seen again.''

    Another time, he saw one of the school staff members order two boys into the tumble dryer.

    Later, their bodies were hauled away and he and others were ordered to say nothing about it, he said.

    They were warned, Kiser said, that if they were caught talking ''we would be taken to the White House and beaten. Corporal punishment was the means by which they controlled us,'' he said. ``We lived in daily fear.''

    The men are also asking for the investigation to include the school's use of the boys for slave labor, sexual abuse, sex trafficking and kidnapping for sexual assault.

    Four former residents of the school on Monday asked Crist to launch the investigation. They call themselves the White House Boys after the concrete building, where, they claim, the beatings and torture were carried out.

    The White House Boys -- Roger Kiser, Michael McCarthy, Bryant Middleton and Dick Colon -- found each other on the Internet, after Kiser started a Web site. They began to talk about experiences at the reform school and eventually decided to go public, and call for an investigation.

    The four believe many of the boys who were sent to the White House were killed and their remains buried on the grounds of what is now known as the Dozier School for Boys.

    Reached at his home in the Florida panhandle, Middleton, 64, was told by a CNN producer that the governor ordered the probe.

    "My god! That's remarkable. My god! That's all I ever wanted," he said. "That will begin a lot of the healing for those that survived that school."

    "Some of us will never get over the brutality, the sexual assaults and the fear. But this is a major step in the right direction," he said.

    Middleton told CNN he was "an incorrigible youth of 14 or 15" when he was sent to the reform school for breaking and entering. During a 30-minute phone interview, he recounted story after horrific story about his time there.

    Middleton said he took six trips to the concrete White House, where he endured brutal beatings. He says boys were regularly struck with a metal-reinforced double strap with a long wooden handle.

    "You could hear it coming through the air and when it hit your body, the pain was unbelievable," he recalled. "They just beat you to the point of unconsciousness, or you could no longer understand what was happening to you."

    He recalled another occasion in which he and another boy decided to get drunk. They mixed orange juice with rubbing alcohol. It make Middleton sick and his friend intoxicated. A guard confronted the other boy, and began to treat him roughly, Middleton said.

    "He dragged him to the administration building and I never saw him again. He never came back to work or to the cottage," Middleton told CNN. "He literally disappeared off the face of the earth."

    Colon, 65, is a successful electrical contractor in Baltimore, Maryland. But in the 1950s, he acknowledged, he was a wayward youth who gritted his teeth through 11 beatings inside the White House.

    Colon said he remembers entering the laundry one day, and his life, he said, has never been the same. Inside a large tumble dryer, was a black teen.

    The White House boys, who are all white, told CNN that black kids at the school were beaten even more savagely than white kids.

    "I said to myself, 'What's going to happen to me, if I take him out?' " he told CNN. He recalled being about 15 feet away from the boy in the dryer. He thought about helping him, but was afraid.

    "I said to myself, I can't do it, cause I'm gonna be the next one in the God-d-- dryer if I take him out," he said.

    "I turned my back and walked out and it torments me every day of my life."

    Colon established an educational trust fund at the same campus, for high academic achievers, today operated by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

    At least one former student says the school was strict but fair.

    "They were justified in giving me these paddlings because, hey, I was wrong," Phil Hail of Anniston, Alabama, told The Miami Herald.

    Hail remembers going to the white building once for getting low grades in 1957, he told the Herald.

    "Was [the school] run with a very strict hand? Yes, it was ... Were the paddlings very severe? Yes, they were," he said.

    Another question no one seems able to answer: Why was there no outcry from the parents of boys who disappeared? Why did no one look for them?

    Colon and Middleton say it's a valid question. They firmly believe that bodies will be found, and they will be the bodies of both black and white boys.

    "I believe, in my own heart, that there has been a cover-up", said Middleton.

    Added Colon, "White, African-American, they're all there ... I believe they will find crushed skulls, and broken bones -- and hopefully, one day, the murderers."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.Ē -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    03.07.10 @ 05:18 AM
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    As horrible as this story is, the only reason Governor Charlie is getting behind it is to take the pressure away from a potential political bruhaha...

    ...along with allegations of his own impropriety by spending $450,000 in taxpayer money (complete with only the best hotels and meals) on a European "fact finding" trip...
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    03.03.18 @ 06:52 PM
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    Why didn't the families of these poor kids say anything? If they did why didn't anybody do something about it? Where are the staff that did this?

    This is so heartbreaking. It makes me sick.
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  4. #4
    Eruption ChrisTheEdHead's Avatar
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    03.11.12 @ 11:55 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithjc View Post
    Why didn't the families of these poor kids say anything? If they did why didn't anybody do something about it? Where are the staff that did this?

    This is so heartbreaking. It makes me sick.
    Unfortunately, Florida (and most of the south) was a different place in the late 50's & 60's. A black kid (and his family) would have had NO rights to anything. The family was probably told he died of "pneumonia" or "attempting to escape" or something, just like the Nazi postcards informing relatives that their family member had died of "complications from pneumonia" in a concentration camp.
    I just hope those responsible are still alive and are brought to justice.
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  5. #5
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 12:35 PM
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    Yep, FL, even into the 70's, still had the mindset of the "old" South. You also have to remember that Marianna is so far North in FL that it is better described as Southern GA or AL than Northern FL.
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  6. #6
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    05.22.18 @ 04:23 PM
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    unfortunately, the deaths of disadvantaged children in the custody of juvenile services, foster care and programs designed to rehabilitate them are still occurring. In 2000 a law was passed to track these deaths by requiring such caregivers to report these deaths within 24 hours.....

    many of these deaths occur during restraint of the children either through crushing chest or head injuries and asphyxiation while restrained, and many are suicides.

    the coaltiion against institutionalized child abuse even keeps a log of these deaths.

    Ii think recent studies say something like 3 out of 10 adolescents have personality disorders and we have a system that cannot deal with it.

    I learned this first hand with a foster child situation I help in dealing with the child in the home....the only solution was "take it to court, have her declared deliquent and the court system will place her in a custodial situation"

    I just wanted her to get the intensive pyschiatric care her psychologist prescribed for her without putting her back into the court system...but who can afford $40,000 a year worth of care without insurance coverage?

    it turned out badly, unfortunately, when they decided to place the girl with her crack head sister and did no follow up....she was homeless and bouncing around from couch to couch within 6 months

    our system frequently doesn't work even now



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