Dozier

Cabinet To Get Final Report On Dozier School

Jan 14, 2016

University of South Florida researchers next week will present a final report to Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet about work at the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

Two Democratic lawmakers filed bills Tuesday that would direct the Florida Department of State to preserve historical resources from the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys and to provide money to help families reinter bodies of children found at the Jackson County site.

The bills (SB 708 and HB 533), filed by Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, and Rep. Ed Narain, D-Tampa, come after extensive excavation work by University of South Florida researchers at the former reform school.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet began discussions Tuesday on the future of the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, a former state-run reform school where children are alleged to have been abused and died.

However, no decisions were made as the state officials agreed to await a final report expected in January from University of South Florida researchers, who excavated the 1,400-acre site about 70 miles west of Tallahassee and continue to try identify remains.

In June of 2013, Robert Stephens of Tampa received a phone call from his sister. She told him that an uncle they had never met had died at the Dozier School for Boys in 1937 under mysterious circumstances.

She added that University of South Florida researchers wanted Stephens to submit a DNA sample to see if they could identify his 15-year-old uncle as one of the bodies believed to be buried in an unmarked graveyard on the now closed reform school’s grounds.

After identifying the remains of another boy, University of South Florida researchers are continuing to look into finding answers for families looking for their loved ones buried on the grounds of the Dozier School for boys. Researchers say they’re doing the finishing touches on their work surrounding the North Florida reform school with a troubled past.

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