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Gov. Scott Signs Bill Compensating Families Of Students Buried At Infamous Dozier School

Empty burial sites on Dozier School grounds after USF researchers excavated 51 individual sets of remains in 2013. Photo: USF Dept of Anthropology

Empty burial sites on Dozier School grounds after USF researchers excavated 51 individual sets of remains in 2013. Photo: USF Dept of Anthropology

Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a bill that will help pay for reburying the remains of children found on the site of the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Mariana.

In part, the legislation allocates $1.5 million for the reburial of youth that died on the 1,400-acre site in the mid-20th century. A group of former students who call themselves “The White House Boys” allege systematic abuse occurred at the school over the decades.

State Representative Alan Williams of Tallahassee voted for the bill during the legislative session that ended just over two weeks ago.

Williams says the measure will help with the healing process for former Dozier residents and their families.

“This is Florida’s opportunity to bring closure for the families, to bring closure to the community and to bring closure for our state,” said Williams. “As lawmakers, and the governor, this is our opportunity to say we’re sorry.”

The measure provides $7,500 per family for reburial costs. It also creates a task force to decide an appropriate memorial for the site, what to do with the land, and how to handle the bodies that go unclaimed.

Dozier closed in 2011. A University of South Florida research team found the remains of 51 boys buried on the Dozier grounds—seven of which have been positively identified so far.

 


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