hat tip to mzchief for turning Masoninblue’s attention to this important issue. Mason will be covering the ‘tough love homes.’ This article is cross-posted at Firedoglake.com/MyFDL.
Please take a few moments to look at the faces of some of the surviving ‘White House Boys,’ who were abused juvenile inmates at the now-closed North Florida Youth Development Center, that was run by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Other names for the jail were Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys (at inception) and the Florida Industrial School for Boys. The ‘school’ closed last year, after running for 111 years, and the surviving White House Boys are now calling for a stop to child abuse.
On the campus was a building called The White House because of its color, where boys were placed in leg irons, beaten, raped, abused and tortured. Guards administered beatings with a three-foot leather and metal strap, and the beatings were often so severe that the boys’ underwear would become embedded into the skin to such a degree that surgical intervention was required to remove it.
A total of 31 unmarked graves on the site have also raised concern, and local anthropology students are working to recover the bodies and reunite the remains with family for proper burial.
The fates that befell boys across a century at the state’s oldest reform school, here on the outskirts of town, are hard to imagine. They came here to be reformed and some never left. • Eight burned to death in 1914, locked inside a tinderbox dormitory. More than 20 died from influenza and pneumonia. One boy was murdered by his peers while locked inside a 7- by 10-foot building for days. Another died, according to school records, during a tonsillectomy. Records suggest at least 81 boys met their deaths in state custody in the 111 years the school was open.
After a Florida judge threw out a class action lawsuit involving 87 survivors who alleged sexual abuse and assault (sodomy with a stick), Florida Governor Charlie Christ ordered Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. They did, and without opening a single grave to confirm its contents, the investigation concluded, and no criminal charges were filed, because the law enforcement folks found that the school never did anything wrong to the boys. Source- wiki.
Child advocate and author of The White House Boys: An American Tragedy, Roger Dean Kiser, established an activism/memorial website called thewhitehouseboys.com. Some of the surviving White House Boys will be traveling to Washington on June 22, to speak and rally in support of a bill to end United States corporal punishment.
The United States currently incarcerates more juveniles (and adults) than any country in the world. Source- wiki. In some states, such as Kentucky, where the ‘system’ loves to lock up people earlier and for longer, there is no need for any crime to be committed; juveniles are locked up for status offenses such as truancy.
At the same time the government locks people up for child abuse, the government carries out abuse. Is there any chance the madness will stop? What can we do about this issue?