By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
February 5, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Once they started looking, researchers found 30 more bodies than they had anticipated in unmarked graves at the Dozier School for Boys.
Many remain unidentified, but for those who survived, the state apologized last April.
The self-named White House Boys - the name coming from the cinder block house where they were beaten - called the apology a big step forward.
"I can sleep a little better now," said Robert St. Claire. "The truth is finally out in the open."
Now, the state may create a registry of the survivors as a first step toward possible compensation for the abuses.
Called the Victims of Reform School Abuse, the legislation requires survivors to provide proof from the state archives that they were sent to Dozier between 1940 and 1975.
If the legislation passes, victims would have until October 1 to register with the state. A certified list of victims would then come back to the legislature and lawmakers could choose to compensate them.
“Whether it's scholarships for their children, whatever form it comes in, it could be compensation, monetary compensation. But those decisions will be made once we’ve identified a class," said state senator Daryl Rouson (D - St. Petersburg).
One 75-year-old former resident wrote Senate Sponsor Rouson, saying he left Florida and hasn’t come back since his beatings at Dozier. He vowed to come back if and when the White House where the atrocities took place is torn down.