Florida lawmakers seek list of reform school victims


Sen. Darryl Rouson

Two Democratic lawmakers have filed proposals that would lead to compiling a list of living victims from two notorious reform schools as a possible step toward providing compensation.

The proposals (SB 1374 and HB 1077), filed by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, seek to have the Department of State certify the names of juveniles sent to the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the Florida School for Boys at Okeechobee.

More than 500 former students have alleged beatings, mental abuse and sexual abuse at the schools. In 2017, the Florida Senate and House passed resolutions formally apologizing for the abuse of juveniles sent to the schools.

The abuse at the Dozier school, which closed in 2011, has drawn widespread attention in recent years, in part because of the discovery of unmarked graves on the site.

“The identification process (in the bills) is a crucial part of helping those affected by the atrocities that occurred at Florida’s Dozier School for Boys,” Rouson said in a prepared statement.

“It will allow us to ensure that those who endured the mental and physical anguish of attending Dozier are duly compensated for the harm inflicted upon them by the state of Florida.”



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