Monday, March 17, 2008

Former "Client" 2005

Former "Client" 2005

reply to : Individual Counselors
Posted 9/2/2005 2:38:44 PM by Former "Client" of AG Dozier School


I was once incarcerated at this "school for boys" (the only schooling you get is how to become more of a criminal) and would just like to let you know that your son is not the only one who is "helped" by staff in this way. When I was an inmate there in 2000, I was given cocaine by a staff member (no longer works there), cigarettes, learned how to make alcohol from juice, witnessed all manners of abuse, both in the cottages and in ISP (up the hill) was abused myself and basically got no "treatment" whatsoever. Sad to say, NO, your son will not get any help at all in AG dozier school...

This place is reprehensible, I only hope that you will support your son in making proper decisions when he is released, because once again, this place is not going to do anything for him.
I made these things known to DCF represenatives, but nothing ever came of it.

100 Lashes:1815 Flogging of a Slave

Note that this was around 1815, and the number of lashes inflicted on this poor man. This still goes on for children in places in the world, this did not end at FSB until 1967........

"Rouse ye, and break the massive chain,
The fetter'd slave that binds;
And check the sorrow and the pain
The wretched negro finds."

FIVE different biographies of the subject of the following pages have been published, during the last seven years,--two in the United States and three in Great Britain. Of these, one was translated into German, and appeared in Dresden, and another was published in the French language in Paris. The writer of this, however, fancies that the relation which she holds to the author of "SKETCHES OF PLACES AND PEOPLE ABROAD," gives her an advantage over those who have preceded her.

WILLIAM WELLS BROWN was born on the farm of Dr. John Young, near Lexington, Kentucky, on the 15th of March, 1815. His father's name was George Higgins, half brother to Dr. Young. The Doctor removed to the State of Missouri, and took with him William and his mother, the former being then an infant. Dr. Young located himself in the interior of the State, sixty miles above St. Louis, in a beautiful and fertile valley, a mile from the river. A finer situation for a farm could scarcely have been selected in any part of the country. With a climate favorable to agriculture, and soil rich, the most splendid crops of tobacco, hemp, flax and grain were produced on the new plantation. On this farm, Elizabeth (William's mother) was put to work at field service. Distinguished for her strength both of body and mind, and a woman of great courage, Elizabeth was considered one of the most valuable slaves on the place. Although Dr. Young was not thought to be the hardest of masters, he nevertheless employed, as an overseer, a man whose acts of atrocity could scarcely have been surpassed in any of the slave States. Grove Cook was a large, tall man, with rough features, red hair, grey eyes, and large, bushy eyebrows, which gave his face the appearance of a spaniel dog. Like most negro drivers, Cook was addicted to drunkenness, and when the least intoxicated, would use the whip without mercy upon those with whom he came in contact. This was the man selected by Dr. Young to look after his plantation, and superintend its affairs.

William was separated from his mother at an early age, and was but seldom allowed to see her. The young slave was taught by bitter experience the want of a mother's care and softening influence. At the age of eight years, he was taken into his master's medical office, and was employed in tending upon the Doctor. As William grew older, he became more serviceable in his new situation. When only about ten years old, the tender feelings of the young slave were much hurt at hearing the cries and screams of his mother, and seeing the driver flogging her with his negro-whip. As he heard the loud, sharp crack of the lash, and the groans of her who was near and dear to him, William felt a cold chill run through his veins. He wept bitterly, but could render no assistance. What could be more heart-rending than to see a dear and beloved one abused without being able to give her the slightest aid? Overseers at the South generally pride themselves upon their ability to break the stubborn spirit of the negro; and the man who shall suffer a slave, male or female, to disobey a rule, without being able to flog him or her for such disobedience, would be immediately discharged by the proprietor. Ability to manage a negro is the first qualification for a good slave-driver.

The Doctor had, among his fifty slaves, a man named Randall, of stout frame, and more than six feet in height, and known as the most powerful slave on the farm. If there was heavy work to be done, Randall was always selected to do it; and his task was sure to be finished before any other person's. The Doctor had flogged every slave on the place but Randall, and he would willingly have whipped him, but that he feared the undertaking, for Randall had often been heard to say, "No white man shall ever whip me; I will die first." Cook, from the time that he came upon the plantation, had frequently declared that he could and would flog any nigger that was put into the field to work under him.

Doctor Young having been elected to represent his district in the State Legislature, Cook took the entire management of the plantation. The Doctor had repeatedly told him not to attempt to whip Randall, but he was determined to try it. As soon as he was sole dictator, he thought the time had come to put his threats into execution. He soon began to find fault with Randall, and threatened to whip him if he did not do better. One day he gave him a very hard task,-- more than he could possibly do,--and at night, the task not being performed, he told Randall that he should remember him the next morning.

On the following morning, after the hands had taken breakfast, Cook called out Randall and told him that he intended to whip him, and ordered him to cross his hands and be tied. The slave asked why he wished to whip him. He answered, because he had not finished his task the day previous. Randall said his task was too great, or he should have done it. Cook said it made no difference, he should whip him. The slave stood silent for a moment, and then said--"Mr. Cook, I have always tried to please you since you have been on the plantation, and I find that you are determined not to be pleased or satisfied with my work, let me do as well as I may. No man has laid hands on me to whip me for the last ten years, and I have long since come to the conclusion not to be whipped by any man living." Cook, finding by Randall's looks and gestures that he would resist, called three of the hands from their work, and commanded them to seize the insolent slave and tie him. The men stood still; they knew their fellow-slave to be a powerful man, and were afraid to grapple with him. As soon as Cook had ordered them to seize him, Randall turned to them and said--"Boys, you all know me; you know I can handle any three of you; and the man that lays hands on me shall die. This white man can 't whip me himself, and therefore he has called you to help him." The overseer was unable to prevail upon them to aid him, and finally ordered them to go to their work.

Nothing was said to Randall by the overseer for more than a week. One morning, however, while the hands were at work in the field, he came into it, accompanied by three friends of his,--Thompson, Woodbridge, and Jones. They came up to where Randall was at work, and Cook ordered him to leave and go with them to the barn. He refused to go; whereupon he was attacked by the overseer and his companions, when he turned upon them, and laid them one after another prostrate before him. Woodbridge drew out his pistol and fired at him, and brought him to the ground. The others rushed upon him with their clubs, and beat him over the head and face until they succeeded in tying him. He was then taken to a barn and tied to a beam.

100 Lashes ???
Cook gave him above one hundred lashes with a heavy cowhide, had his wounds washed with salt and water, and left him tied during the night. The next day, he was untied, and taken to a blacksmith's shop, and had a ball and chain attached to his leg. He was compelled to labor in the field, and perform the same amount of work other hands did.

Mark Caldwell

April 17, 2007Rick Reno, attorney for Justin Caldwell, asked the Judge for 60-day extension - his extension was granted. Mr. Reno needs more time to prepare his case, he said. Mr. Reno believes Justin has a very strong Civil Rights case. After the hearing in Marianna, Mr. Caldwell drove to see his son at Jackson County Jail - across the street from Dozier school for Boys where his son was abused. He was asked to go to Dozier to speak with the administrators there. Mr. Caldwell said the atmosphere at Dozier had changed dramatically. There was more calm, the boys appeared less stressed. He learned that all of the boys know what is happening and are thankful for the stand Mr. Caldwell has taken to advocate for these children. Mr.Caldwell met with Isaac Williams - Mr. Williams was one of the new adminstrators hired from an outside group to monitor the program "24/7" said Mr. Caldwell. "I told him Justin's story, how he was abused when he was young and how I didn't know about it. And how Justin has been locked up in this system for 5 years, abused and mistreated. Mr. Williams didn't know what to say other than he felt like crying," said Mr. Caldwell. Department of Juvenile Justice Administrator, Rex Uberman, was there as well. Mr. Uberman indicated he does not want Justin back at Dozier, that he wants him to go home with his father.

Dozier has been in the spotlight before. Just recently six employees were terminated after a sex scandal swept the facility. Four more have been terminated as a direct result of the abuse suffered by Justin. Mr. Uberman said more will be fired, some will brought up on charges of child abuse and on failure to report abuse they witnessed. Mr. Caldwell had a chance to share his thoughts about what he believes is wrong at Dozier. He told Mr. Uberman and Mr. Williams that the length of stay for many of these boys is excessive. Uberman said they are addressing this issue and that they will need to work with Judges because it is the Judges who are sentencing these boys for long periods of time. However, that is only partially true, as we have seen in Justin's case and in Christopher Sholly's case. Often times the boys are sentenced for a period of time and their time is extended repeatedly. Uberman said it will take a team effort. He agreed that while some kids need incarceration, others can be helped through counseling at home, with their families.

Mr. Caldwell also addressed the issue of telephone calls. Parents receive calls from their children through a phone system and are charged an average of $20 for each 10 minute call. Sometimes, Justin likes to call his father three times in an evening. At that rate, Mr. Caldwell is spending $60 per day to talk to his own son while he could be placing the call himself though a long-distance service with unlimited long-distance calling. This has resulted in some parents not being able to speak to their children as much as they would like. Uberman said this issue will also be addressed.

Parents should be encouraged, not discouraged, from speaking to their children. Parent and family involvement is a very important part of the healing process for these children and isolating them from their families does not serve to help them. We believe progress is being made - we must press forward to be sure that changes continue to be made, that those responsible for abusing children are fired from their jobs, are not allowed to work with children in the future, and are prosecuted to the extent of the law. Those who witnessed the abuse and did not report it should, too, be held responsible for their actions. CAICA believes that together we can - and do - make a difference.

Paula Flowe: Ban Spanking

Paula Flowe, Director
National Campaign to ban corporal punishment in U S Public Schools



Dear Supporters of Banning Corporal Punishment in U S Public Schools,
On November 21, 2008, the national organization, The Hitting Stops Here!, will be holding a national campaign, “21 To Go!,” for banning U S public school corporal punishment in the remaining 21 states. We are looking for concerned citizens in each state who would be interested in hosting a headquarters in their community.

Responsibilities include having a table set up at a local venue in your community such as a library, or Walmart type store front, and distribute free booklets, leaflets and other informational literature on the harmful effects of corporal punishment on children. We will supply the information, including an informative video that can be displayed on a laptop. We ask that you host your venue for a minimum of one hour on at least one of the following days: Friday, November 21, Saturday, November 22, Sunday, November 23

Presently, the states on board are:
New Mexico
North Carolina
Tennessee Supporting, non-paddling states and Canada:
California (Main Headquarters)
Toronto, Canada.

Please view the youtube video announcement of this event:

For more information, please contact Paula Flowe at,

Thank you,Paula Flowe, Dir.,The Hitting Stops Here!Board member, Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (

Schedule of events and locations will be posted after November 1, 2008
FloridaGeorgia IndianaMississippiNew MexicoNorth CarolinaTennessee
Supporting, non-paddling states and outside U S territory:California (Main Headquarters) WashingtonToronto, Canada

Main Headquarters San Jose, California
Thursday, November 20, and Friday, November 2110AM-NoonSan Jose City CollegeStudent Center (front court)2100 Moorpark AvenueSan Jose, CA 95128
Sunday, November 234PM-8PMThe Blue Pheasant22100 Stevens Creek Blvd.Cupertino, CA 95014

Entertainment by the Bay Area's Hottest Band,"Viscious Groove," featuring Band leader, Tebo (Bass Player for John Lee Hooker Jr.)Admission $20.
March on Washington D. C.January 2009Dates to be posted soon.Join other activists in a demonstration at the U.S. Capitol Building for banning corporal punishment in U.S. Public Schools

A Mother's Plea:Chris Sholly

Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 1:41 AMTo: Secretary DJJCc

Subject: Abuse at Dozier: Justin Caldwell, Christopher Sholly

Dear Mr. McNeil,I'm also writing to you due to the horrible abuse my son and other's have suffered while in DJJ, This includes the facilities Of Dozier, Greenville HIlls Academy, and Okaloosa Youth Development Center.

There are names that have been named years ago by my Son, and these Staff members are mentioned in his Diary.Here is a direct link to my Son's diary. I now have a law suite pending against this State for the cruel and inhumane Treatment that has left my son suffering now with severe emotional problems, and has been diagnosed with Post traumatic Stress disorder, and is now on medication and treatment under a Doctors care.

For years I have tried to tell this Department of all the abuse and treatment that my son went through, and What he also witnessed. My son was also falsely accused of hitting a staff member with only 20 days left till he Was to come home. He too was direct filed into the adult system at the age of 17, and suffered in Indian RiverCorrectional Institute, where he was beaten. I cannot believe the gross treatment and neglect that our youth suffer from in this state, and many of them in for Minor "KID" actions. Please read my Son's diary You may then scroll down, and read his entries also here..

The names I have of those that abused my son, and his story about how they abused him are in his diary.. I'll list them here as well. These men and woman need to be removed from our facilities. Greenville Hills Merrit Cottage 2002, Mr. JonesDamien Choice, Mr. Bleu (Blue)Ms. Thompson, Rodney Baynard, Mr. Mactear, Ms. Dickie, Ms. Hopkins, Mr. Joseph, Mr. Williams, John Tallon at this time, he was the Northwest Regional Director, Okaloosa Development Center, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Winston, Marvin Bliss.
Dozier School for Boys:
Mr. Miller, Mr. Zanders, Mr. Spears, Mr. Spates(Speight)???,( Spelling) Ms. Harvey, Timothy Justice, Gavin Tucker, ED LEEKS... he has since retired, and needs to have his pension taken from him!!Mr. Williams this is the staff member that accused my son of hitting him... where the tape came up missing or wasn't viewable.

I will be calling these facilities to make sure they are fired from DJJ, with a NO REHIRE classification, and I want charges bought up on the people that my son mentioned.I also would like to be able to reach some of the boys that were abused by staff that were mentioned. I and my attorney need to contact Tyler Clarrey, and Anthony Johnson.Some of these staff have even been promoted to superintendants since their abuse of my son and others. Some have been transferred to other facilities, and I do know where some are. I will be giving my son's story to the media as well. These people are the scum of DJJ, and they don't care about these kids. They do nothing but hurt them, mentally and physically. As of now.. my son will never be able to hold a job and keep it.He is on SSI as well. I intend to make sure DJJ and this rotten State compensate him and his family for what you all put us all through!!!!!!!!!

I will never stop and will work to make sure a major reform of all policies and programs are fixed and changed! I am in close contact with Mark Caldwell, and will go to Tallahassee with him if and when the time comes. Something has got to change.. these kids need to be given an amount of time in a program, and come home... not have any extentions or starting over!!!

The staff need to know that should they lay a hand on any child, charges will be pressed.I'm sick of hearing of all the abuse going on. I sat in on a conference call with John Tallon, Timothy Justice, a few weeks ago,concerning Justin Caldwell, and told them that I knew exactly what they were doing, and they both lied to me, stating that they would make sure that an honest investigation would be done.. I see now that at the beginning of it, this was not done, and they were going to sweep everything under the rug as they did to my son as well.When a parent rocks the boat, and reports abuse going on.. wether it is on their own child or another as I did and Mark Caldwell did, retaliation, and false charges are pressed on the child. Abuse anywhere should be reported without the fear or retaliation.

This abuse has been going on at Dozier for many years. A well known Author by the name of Roger Kiser, who writes in the books "chicken soup for the soul" was a boy at Dozier... abused severely as well. He has writeen testimony on this.It is up to you to make changes in all policies and procedure. If things do not change, then there will be more abused children, and more deaths. I intend to sue this state on behalf of my son, and I won't stop there till major changes are made.Mark Caldwell has also contacted Vice President Dick Cheaney and he is well aware of the atrocities here in the Florida DJJ system... It does not work.

SincerelyDawn Chase, Christopher Sholly's Mother

Mark's Plea To FBI

Thursday Feb 22nd 2007
FBI :To whom it may concern,

My name is Mark Caldwell, I am the father of Justin Caldwell who is being mentally and physically abused at Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna Florida.He was originally incarcerated at the Elaine Gordon Treatment Facility for Boys, in Broward County Florida for a treatment program lasting for 12 to 15 months this was at the age of 13 [ 2002 ] after approx. one year and an arm broken by a staff member he was transfered to Dozier where he is still incarcerated.

While at Dozier he has had his face smashed into a door by Mr. Miller a staff member who also threatened to kill him twice.My son has been " Choked Out " which means choked from behind until he looses consciousness so many times he does not remember. He has witnessed the abuse of other juveniles as well, and approx 3 weeks ago he had his head banged repeatedly on a concrete floor on 2 different occasions the 2nd of which he had to go to Jackson county hospital for a Cat Scan because he lost consciousness.

The first incident happened in the dinning hall when Justin brushed by a staff member named Mr. Wooten who became irritated and took Justin to the floor put his hands around Justin's neck choked him and began banging Justin's head on the floor, because it happened in the dinning hall there are many witnesses, and a staff member Mr. Spears later told Justin that Mr. Wooten used excessive force.

The 2nd incident occurred in Roosevelt Cottage when a staff member by the first name of Albert ask Justin to stand up, then said are you going to sit down Caldwell, to which Justin replied you just asked me to stand up sir, the staff then grabbed Justin by the throat and kicked Justin's feet out from under him, taking Justin to the floor with his hands around Justin's neck, him being Albert the staff member began banging Justin's head on the concrete floor, staff member then got off of Justin, when Justin stood up he said he felt dizzy and fell into another staff members arms.

He then remembers waking up in the middle of the floor and he heard a staff member ask Albert if he was scared this is when staff was called to take Justin to the hospital.There are many things that happen like this at Dozier frequently, and there are witnesses and there is also a staff member named Latoya Terri that witnessed an incident and the falsifying of reports and she has been fired.

There are to many incidents of abuse to write about you need to talk to Justin Caldwell and the other youth at Dozier. My son and the other youth at Dozier are supposed to receive help and this is abuse instead and it is criminal to treat our children this way!
Please help my son!
Mark Caldwell
Well, my son Justin Caldwell went to court today for his arraignment, he pleaded not guilty, and refused a public defender, which is what I wanted him to do. They set his next court date for April 10th 2007 in Marianna Fl., on the charge of "battery on a detention staff", when in fact the detention staff, Mr. Wooten assaulted my son, now I need help with an attorney, my son is innocent of this cover up charge, and not an attorney from Marianna fl. I believe they are with the judge, or buddy,buddy, my son also said they said he would be facing 5 more years if found guilty, so I need help, my son told me the judge was already shaking his head and saying, no, no, no, when he tried to speak!!!

Sincerely Mark Caldwell

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Harold Sizemore

Local man recalls abuse, torture at Marianna school

December 28, 2008 06:30:00 PM
By JON MILTIMORE / News Herald Writer

MARIANNA — Harold Sizemore was 8 years old when he first was sent to the Florida School for Boys in Marianna during the fall of 1950.

"At first, it was kind of like an adventure," Sizemore said. "But it ended up taking eight years of my life and turning into something else."

The school, now known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, has been under national scrutiny in recent months since four men came forward with allegations of severe physical abuse. The four former students, dubbed "the White House Boys" in reference to the white building where the alleged abuse happened, said beatings, torture and worse took place within those walls, behind generations of silence.

Earlier this month, Gov. Charlie Crist ordered an inquiry into the 31 unmarked graves lying beneath school grounds.

‘It was like a holiday'

The Bay County man is now 66 years old. He has silver hair, a friendly smile and a twinkle in his dark eyes. After years of silence, Sizemore felt compelled to come forward.

He grew up in a poor family of 10 on the 1300 block of Jenks Avenue. His father was gregarious and kind, Sizemore said, but an alcoholic.

As a boy, Sizemore would spend days at a time living on the street, getting into trouble and making money however he could, cleaning fish for boat captains or diving in the bay for coins tossed by tourists.

"We were just street urchins, really," Sizemore said.

He recalled being teased at school for his shabby clothing, but the Marianna reform school was different and not altogether bad at first, he said.

"They gave you clean clothes, a toothbrush, shoe polish and jacket," Sizemore said. "It was like a holiday."

He spent considerable time at the school between 1950 and 1957. He initially was sent there for skipping school.

Sizemore said the reform school, with its discipline, structure and order, held an allure for a poor boy from the streets. Six cottages holding between 30-35 boys each were led by a "Cottage Father." Days rotated between work and school, with games in the evenings and movies on Sundays.

Boys would play games and sometimes get into fights, Sizemore recalled. Habitual fighting was frowned upon, he said, but more often than not, boys were allowed to settle their differences with fisticuffs on "the court."

There were some rules to the fights - boys had to be close in age and size, for example - but once a fight began, it usually was allowed to continue until one boy had given up. Fights were supervised by school officials, and sometimes allowed to go on for hours at a time, he said.

Sizemore discussed the school's hierarchy. A boy came in as a Rookie and earned points for good behavior, working up to Explorer, then Pioneer. As students progressed in rank, they were awarded greater privileges, freedoms and responsibilities. Once Pioneer, boys often became eligible for release, but some stayed and reached higher ranks, Pilot and then, finally, Ace.

"There weren't too many Aces," Sizemore said, adding that if one did not behave he was likely to be demoted to the rank of "Grub."

"My second trip, I entered as a Grub and I left as a Grub," he said.

Normally, one was not dismissed from the school until he had attained the rank of Pioneer. Sizemore said his second trip was a total of 2 years, 6 months, and 19 days.

The beatings

Sizemore described himself as a "hard case" who disliked authority. He said he grew up without fear because he didn't know any better and could have used some discipline and instruction. He said what he learned instead was cruelty, and that authority was unjust.

"I'll tell you what cruel is: Take an 8-year-old boy, lay him on a bed and strap him until his buttocks are black, black as this shirt I am wearing," Sizemore said.

Whippings were a regular occurrence for Sizemore. He said he was unaware of anyone who had entered the school younger than he - most boys were at least 10-years-old - or took more licks.

Infractions especially frowned upon were cursing and disrespect, Sizemore said, and the man who inflicted the blows most frequently was Robert Hatton, an assistant superintendent at the school. He used a flattened doubled-folded leather paddle with a wooden handle, which was about 30 inches in length.

Sizemore recalled the ridged texture of the raw, split skin, and the array of colors the wounds took as they healed: black to blue, then green, purple and, finally, a soft orange.

Sizemore said other instructors or cottage fathers would administer blows on occasion, but tended to leave marks that were glowing pink or red.

Hatton's punishments were of a different kind.

Sizemore said "one-armed Mr. Tidwell's" punishments were brutal and cruel, but Hatton's went beyond those. Hatton seemed to take pleasure in inflicting pain on the boys, Sizemore said.

"He (Hatton) meant to break me," Sizemore said.

But Sizemore said the beatings were not the worst part.

"The cruelest thing was, he'd keep you in that office, waiting in anticipation for hours," Sizemore said. "And you new what was coming."

One boy was so frightened on the march down he began to panic and scream.

"All I remember is his little jaw trembling, quivering; then he just snapped," Sizemore said.

Sizemore said he was ordered to hold the boy down, who was squirming and would not accept his punishment.

"I told them no," Sizemore said.

Lingering questions

Sizemore said he was too ashamed to talk about the school these last 50 years, like a rape victim reluctant to come forward out of unfounded guilt.

He said he was not aware of any sexual abuse at the school, but knew of a boy who was so traumatized after a beating he lost the ability to speak. After a stint in the infirmary, the boy disappeared and never came back, Sizemore said.

Sizemore wondered how no one in the community was aware of the abuse taking place and how it was allowed to continue for so long. He said he has moved on but still bears emotional scarring.

Sizemore admitted catharsis might be difficult 50 years down the road but not impossible.

Asked if he hated the man who beat him so viciously, Sizemore hesitated, then said no.

"I feel sorry for him," Sizemore said. "That might sound strange, but it's true."

Larry Houston

" The Florida Industrial School for boys at Marianna" 1958-59

Larry A. Houston's Story

My name is Larry A. Houston from St. Petersburg, Fla. . I was sent to FSB (Florida School for Boy's) when I was only 14 years old. I came from a broken family, had a sister & brother but was a nice kid not a rough-neck. When I got there it was a beautiful campus and I thought this was going to be ok. I was put in #12 Cleveland Cottage and the cottage fathers name was Mr. Robert Sealander. My job assignment was the sewing room with Mrs.Edenfield. She was a nice lady and her husband was head of the kitchen.

The schools Psychologist was named Dr. Robert Curry and he smoked a pipe with cherry blend tobacco and had a brand new Desoto that was pink & grey. When you were interviewed by him he asked weird questions like did you like to masturbate and had you ever thought about having sex with your mother. He was bald on top and sorta husky. I got called to his office one day and was told someone had overheard me talking about running and I was going to be punished. Guys had said they like to make you sweat and boy I did. They came for me at my cottage at night just before shower time. When I got to the "white House" three other boys , Mr. Hatten,Mr. Tidwell and one other man I didn't know were waiting for us.

The smell of the place was very musty and stale. It was a small building in back of the kitchen. The other boys and I were told to set on a bench that was in the hall, all of a sudden someone turned on a big exhaust fan that was very loud then Mr. Tidwell said which one of you wants to be first, no one answered so he pointed to me and said boy go in that room, which I did immediately.I was scared to death and shaking all over for I had never been treated like this before. Mr. Tidwell said drop your pants,lay on the cot,bite the pillow and grab the bedrail, look towards the wall and don't say a word or we will start all over. Mr. Hatten reached under the pillow and grabbed a long leather strap with a wooden handle. The first blow was so hard it felt like my whole ass was split open. I screamed out in pain and Mr.
Tidwell said what did I tell you boy, you better shut your mouth. I gritted my teeth and hung on to the bedrail as tight as I could. Mr. Hatten beat me up and down my legs and buttocks as hard as he could, you could hear the strap hit the ceiling and the wall so you knew it was coming.

I lost count at 39 whacks but it was over soon after. Mr. Tidwell said "get up boy, pull up them pants and go stand in the hall" I could hardly move, but managed to get my pants up. Mr. Tidwell grabbed my arm and pulled me into the hall, pointed to the next kid and said boy get in there,but the kid was so scared after hearing me get beat he was froze to the bench. Mr. Tidwell grabbed the kid by the arm and jerked him up so hard the kid hit the door frame with his head as he was drug in the room. We could not see in the room because the lighting was very bad. They only had one small wattage bulb and the bench was down the hall a little bit. Don't know who whipped that kid but he got it pretty good.

By then I was in so much pain and I could fell blood running down my legs. Next thing I remember I was back at my cottage. Mr. Sealander took me to the locker room, told me to get undressed and get a shower. I could hardly get my jeans off because of the swelling in my butt and legs,but finally managed to. My underwear were literally beaten into my skin. I had to stand under the water a long time and pull very gently to get them off. When I was completely necked some of the other boys in the showers were whispering that I was the worst they had ever seen. I went to the
mirrors and looked at myself and couldn't believe what I saw. I was already black and blue all over my butt and legs and had cuts still bleeding. I put on my pj's and went to bed. It took me two weeks to heal up. Believe me I never talked about running again.

I went"Down" two more times before I went home. Once for low school grades and I cant remember what the third time was for. I got less wacks but the experience was the same. I'm pretty sure my lower back was injured while I was beaten. I had back trouble all my life and to this day still suffer.

I heard a lot of rumors about boys going missing and sexual things happening but to my knowledge it never happen to me other than Mr. Robert Curry asking me strange questions. There were also rumors about the colored boys getting beat a lot harder and a lot more wackes than whites got but I never witnessed any. I know if you were caught for running they gave you one hundred whacks but I personally never saw that either. I cant even imagine getting more than I got.I was really tore up and never want to experience that again.

To Roger Kiser for starting this whole thing, Kudos. You have brought to the surface many hidden memories that needed to be out of my system. And to Robert Straley,Bryant Middleton,Dick Colon and Michael O' McCarthy who helped and/or had a hand bring this matter to the Govenor of Florida for the investgation into the thirtynine crosses with no names on them I want to say "May God Bless each and every one of you"

And to Karl Schultz, thanks for being my best friend while I was in Marianna where ever you are.

Larry A. Houston

John Patterson

John Patterson Jr's Story

My name is John Patterson II. I was 13 years old when I was sent to the Florida School for Boys At Marianna. Before I went to FSB I spent 30 days at the Santa Rosa County Jail in Milton. I had no ideal what was going on at the time.

The Master Log at the Arthur G. Dozier Training School ( Formally known as FSB) state the following: (First Time: Date Of Commitment is: 27 April 1967 / Offense: Ungovernable / Date Of Admit: 28 April 1967 / Date Of Release: 06 April 1968). (Second Time: Date Of Commitment: 08 September 1969 / Offense: Incorrigibility / Date Of Admit: 10 October 1969 / Date Of Release: 07 June 1970).

I remember riding to the reform school in the back seat of a Santa Rosa County Sheriff car, I did not know that it was a reform school I was going to and I had no ideal what a reform school was. Remember when we got there I thought the place looked real nice. I thought this place would be a lot better then living at a abused home. A few days later I found out how bad I was wrong. At 13 I was a small guy and was picked on.

One day I had it and I fought back. (Note: a statement was made that the White House was closed in 1967 - before then the beating was called flogging, and after that it was spankings. I know because I had it done a few times). After the fight was broken up, myself and the other boy was sent to the White House by two staff persons. I only remember one staff person by name and that is Mr. Tidwell, only reason I remember him is that he only had one arm. I remember when we first went inside the White House it was dark only with a small light.

The other things I remember is: told to undress down to my underwear, to lie on a old iron type bed. To hold on a rail bar, told not to say anything and to look at the wall. I remember someone turned on a fan that made a lot of noise.

I remember the first time the strap hit my buttock and the force lifted me up. Remembered holding my teeth together so I would not yell out because of the pain, I knew if yelled out the count would start over - I felt it would not end. I could tell that the strap cut into my skin and that I was bleeding. Remember that someone ended up setting on my back.

After it was done I remember how my underwear stick to my skin and how hard it was to go to the bathroom. Also remember during the beating to myself I was crying :Oh God - Why are you allowing this to happen to me - do you hate me that bad?

After the White House I was taken to the detention and put into small room for a few days. I have been to the White House a few times - a few times for trying to escape -I did it so many times I was given the nick name (Rabbit) because they said I had rabbit blood. ( I was one of the boys who survived the 100 lashes beating)

Now I am 55 and I still have bad dreams about the White House and the so-call spankings I got there. The only right way of putting it: The White House Was A Living HELL.

Also I know for fact that other boys went to the White House during the same period of time that I was at the reform school. I have a letter from Roy C. McKay (Superintendent) 14 August 1998 reflecting the two commitments dates above.

I will mail a picture later that was taken of me in front of the detention center at FSB on 10 June 1967.
John Patterson Jr.

Jimmy Turner

Good Morning Gentlemen;

My name is Pat Turner, my husband Jimmy Turner is one of the "Whitehouse Casualties". This weekend when he read the article in the Floridan, he sat down and wrote a letter which I am forwarding to you; Thanks for taking the time to help these guys heal. He was in the Florida School for Boys around 61 & 62 for a total of 10 months.

"Over A Picture"

I one day took a picture of a group of boys, (I was13 years old) and one was holding his crotch and I did not know it until they took me to the "WhiteHouse" by a man named Burgess, who had an upholstery shop at the east end of town in Marianna.

He told me to lay down on an old bed and grab a mouth full of an old pillow that was so dirty and stained that it looked like it came out of the garbage. Burgess had a long piece of leather strap about 2 or 3 inches wide and began to swing it over his head and down on my rear end leaving me numb for awhile, after he had hit me about 15 times I could not hardly get up, he then grabbed my neck and pushed me to the door, he grabbed me again and then pushed me back on the bed for another 5 or 6 licks because he said I gave him a "dirty look". I was bleeding and was sore for about a week to week/half.

I had made up my mind to get even w/him but never did because he turned a tractor over on him and was killed. That made me feel good, it was wrong for me to feel that way but who caused those feelings, Burgess did that to me.

I feel like they were making hard criminals out of teen aged boys instead of helping them. Even today, I live in Marianna, and can't get close to the school without all that he did to me going thru my mind. I am 60 years old and I
don't guess it will ever heal.

Burgess was an evil man that never should have been working at the school. I really think he enjoyed beating boys the way he beat me. The people of Marianna should have known his back side like we did. How can anyone forget what happened to us in the "Whitehouse"?

We were not allowed to talk about what happened at the "Whitehouse". I would have been sent back if I did. I have prayed to God to help me forget but it still haunts me and always will.

I feel like the State of Florida knew what was happening to us in the "Whitehouse", but did not do anything about it and I was scared to say anything because when you have to talk about it to the law or the state it would have
gotten back to Burgess and I was afraid of that, afraid of him.

I personally feel like the graves bear checking out and the "Whitehouse" torn down and bring the names of the evil men that beat these boys at the school out to the public.

Mr.Michael O'McCarthy and Mr. Robert Straley, I want to thank you for bringing this out to the public and maybe after all these years letting us, the "Boys of the Whitehouse", put to rest our feelings and "The Whitehouse Nightmares."

Jimmy Turner

A Daughter-Lori

Dear Robert

It was by coincidence that stumbled on an article on the CNN website regarding the White House Boys. I am from the area and have family that still live nearby. For the longest time I never knew why my father was so angry and now I think I have a better understanding. A misguided young man, heart broken by his parent’s divorce, my father classified as a runaway was sent to the “boys home” by his parents – my own grandparents. He would never speak of his time there but I seriously believe it has gravely affected who he is and who I am today.

The legacy of abuse did not stop in 1967. It continues today as I have to remember the multiple beatings my brothers and I had to endure from my own father. He strives to be a good man but has never been whole since the day he was left at the boy’s home in Marianna. His temper and rage still continues and I only now see why it did. It doesn't’t make it right what he did to us and my mother but I have an understanding to his own mental and physical torture that he endured
as well.

I haven’t had a relationship with my father for the past seven years and I am not sure that I can have one with him. It is a constant struggle for me now as a parent to not “lose” my control. I cannot even discipline “spank” my children without the fear of going too far.

I am a very loving mother but I am not a whole person because of my father’s fate at the boy’s home many, many, years ago. I am sure reading the book will give me a better understanding of the torture inflicted on him while he was a ward of the state. I want to thank you for coming forward and telling your story and others. It helps to heal the wounds now that I have a better understanding as to the “why”......

Thank you Mr. Straley. I appreciate you and other survivors for coming forward with your story. Without knowing any of this, I would be forever broken. Now I can begin to mend my wounds as well.

Again, thank you~Lori

A Daughter-Alissa

Mr. Straley,

I write this letter with a heavy, heavy heart.

I have just learned that my father, while a youth of an undetermined age, was a "student" the FSB. My father was no angel by any means, but was in trouble and was sent to the FSB. His mother and father moved to Ohio and left he and his brother in the hands of the State of Florida.

I was wondering if there was any way, any records, to determine his offense, his age, dates ..anything I can do to verify ...I'm sorry, I'm probably not making much sense, I suppose I'm in shock.

Growing up, I thought my father was just an unbelievable SOB...I knew he did the best he could, but he was full of rage..had problems with drinking, many other issues. Apparently, my aunt saw a newscast about your group, contacted my father and asked him to contact which he broke down sobbing. My father has cried twice in his life that I remember, and frankly, it has terrified me both times. I've viewed related web pages and saw many of the video newscasts...but I am unsure of what/how to approach my father and uncle in this matter.

Looking through this information about the FSB and what he may have gone through there...(as he broke down sobbing, I can imagine it was horrific)..I am starting to gain a small portion of understanding the man that is my father and I would appreciate any help you could give me.


I spoke to my father last length, about his experiences there at FSB. While shock and horror can't accurately describe my reaction to his words, I am thankful to know my father better. I want to thank you and the others for that. Without your strength and courage, these conversations would have never happened in
his life and I would be left wondering who my father was.

At one point during his three stays, he worked in the masonry. He said that the cemetery you found won't be the only one you find. While working there, he and several other children were assigned to a special project...creating 50 concrete crosses, not the iron ones you've found. He said it took them three weeks to
finish all 50...and then one weekend they disappeared and no one ever mentioned them again. I don’t know what this will mean to you or the others, but I felt it was something that should be disclosed.

I want to help you and the men like my father. If there is anything that I can do, if you need someone to help research, investigate, ....anything..please, reach out to me. My background in college is in Psychology and Sociology...with several years of working with the sexually abused. I don’t know what use you may have for
me, but I'd like to do something.

Sincerely, Alissa

A Sister--Leigh

Hello Mr. Straley

I was reading the paper this morning when I came upon an article about the school in Marianna, FL. I knew my brother had been in a reform school in Florida in 1962-1963 but I was young so I had no idea where it was.

I immediately called my Mom and asked if she had seen today's paper. She asked if I was calling about Marianna which of course I was. We went there once a month to visit him which was all you could do at that time. We also moved to Tennesse shortly after my brother went to Marianna and we would drive down to visit him and bring a picnic lunch. All I remember of this school was getting to see him and my Mom fixing a nice lunch for all of us. My brother was the eldest of 4 children.I asked my Mom if my brother had ever told them anything about being beaten there at Marianna and she said he had.

My brother had often lied to them before so they didn't believe him. He took my Mom and Dad over to see what he called "The White House" and told him that was where he was beaten.My brother died February 18th of this year after living on the streets for well over 30 years. Most of this time he lived in Lakeland, Florida. Fortunately Hospice found us and Mom and I went down to see my brother in Lakeland and were there when he died.

While living on the streets all these years my brother would send a Mother's Day card and also a birthday card to our Mom every year. Mom would send him pre-paid phone cards so he could keep in touch. My brother got involved with drugs and alcohol at a young age after coming out of Marianna. He last came to see us in Chattanooga around 2002 or 2003 and went through CADAS and then got a job and went in a treatment center right by CADAS where you could leave to go to work and then return there. He did fine until he got his first paycheck and then he started drinking again and returned to Lakeland.

When Mom hadn't heard from him in a while I would check on the web page for Polk County Sheriff's Office to see if he was in jail and often that was the case.

We would feel relieved that at least he had a bed to sleep in and was getting fed. My brother had an extremely hard life and a very low self-esteem. We will never know if his life would have been different if he had not been in Marianna.

I am glad these atrocities are being exposed and I wish my brother was here to add his voice. I know I can't tell you much but wanted to do what I could to add my brother's support.


(In response to my question of which paper)

Hello Mr. Straley,This article was on the front page of the Chattanooga Times Free Press this morning. If it would help to post this please feel free. This has been unbelievably hard on my Mom since she saw the article this morning because she didn't believe him back then. I heard one time from one of his girlfriends that he hit her and that is all the violence I know of. He was married twice and had three children and he was never violent or verbally abusive but he left both wives and never really knew any of his children. He really missed out on all the good things in life.

I understand the constant feelings of worthlessness that he carried with him.Thank you so much for all your efforts. We can't change or erase what happened to all the boys at Marianna but I believe awareness is one of the first steps to prevention of things like this in the future.

Take care, Leigh

Clifford Hastings


I embark on a journey through my memories that I have tried to forget throughout my life time. A journey that takes me down many paths better forgotten, however I have found that to be impossible for me, as I feel that it would be for anyone who walked it.

I am a very un-proud graduate from the death camp that was called; '' Marianna School for Boys'' I started in 1954 & graduated in 1955. The school was beautiful; however the operation and the operators were another thing completely. I am 69 years of age now, so please forgive me if I can’t remember all the names of the people
involved in the tortures. I have not read any ones story about this place. I did this so that I could be as honest as I could about it.

The main culprit that I hold responsible for this nightmare was Arthur G. Dozier the head master of all the crimes committed during my time there. First of all he was completely in charge, and then he turned a blind eye to everything. The beatings were so horrendous that they defy descriptions. I personally experienced 9 or 10
beatings in this time. The so called white house was white in color from the outside only. The inside was stained with the colors of vomit, blood, tears and the agony of everyone who experienced the inside. This building was supposed to have been built to make ice cream for the students (prisoners) of the State of Florida. When they
started buying ice cream in the early 50's they needed another reason not to tear the building down, thus the torture chamber came into existence.

They did not need a reason to beat a child, but if you spit on the ground or scraped your shoe in the so called class room, that was good enough. I was beaten so severely on two occasions that I had to be taken from the torture chamber straight to the hospital to be given medicine for shock, and to be sewn up. Ironically the head nurse that worked on me was married to the monster that caused it. I worked in the laundry with this same man, if he should be called a man.

That is where the child was mysteriously burned to death in the mattress sterilizer; of course no one could ever prove this. There are many unmarked graves on the west side of the state highway that ran through the middle of the school. That was the black side of the school then. I won’t even go into how blacks were treated during this segregated time we were living in.

I forgot to mention why I was there in the first place. I ran away from home, like I'm sure most of the prisoners did. No I never made Ace, I didn't make Explorer. That was their ranking for the good boys, but after my first 5 beatings I just couldn't see myself being good any longer, all I wanted was to get as far away from that hell hole as I could. I can't remember a lot of names.

R.W. Hatton is one that stood out, he was the one who tried to shoot me, but he missed. Why did he try? Well we had a basket ball court right outside of our cottage #3 & it was time for bed at 7pm. at 7:02 Mr. Hatton drove his old black 49 ford car by the basket ball court, there I was making my last hoop. Long story short, he called me over to the car and told me he needed to talk to me. Seems another kid had told him I was talking about running away, and that was a big no, no. He started off to the white house with me, but as we pulled up to the side of the building he got out to open the door, so I decided if I was going to be beat for it, I may as well do it. I ran, and ran, with him right behind me. He shouted if you don't stop I will kill you, I have a gun, so I said shoot me then, well he shot and the bullet zinged right beside my right ear, so I knew he was really trying, I just ran faster. I heard him yell as he fell in ditch that fortunately I remembered was there. Last thing I heard was you'll be sorry you little bastard.

About 102: am I heard hounds baying, he had went to the local road gang and got 3 prisoners and 2 blood hounds, I had climbed a tree as a stupid child would, in about 5 minutes there was a black prisoner holding a knife to my leg telling me, if I didn't come down he would cut my leg off. I came down. They took me to the local jail and left me there for 3 days. Jail was nothing, but the agony I suffered, knowing what was going to happen when I got back was a living hell. Needless to say what happened when I got back, R.W. administered this one himself, it was two in one, back to the hospital for me again.

There was a time a boy climbed the water tower right beside the office. R.W. was involved in that also but it wasn't his fault. The boy jumped and splashed his life away from the top of the water tower; fortunately I did not see this in person. I could write a book about this place and it still wouldn't cover every evil thing that happened there. My life would never be the same.

Clifford Hastings
Pensacola, FL

Richard Markwalter

Memories of Marianna by Richard (Paul) Markwalter

The date was March 28, 1961, a date I will never forget. It was my mother’s birthday. It was also the date I was committed to the Florida School for Boys (FSB) at Marianna by Judge Davis of Broward County Juvenile Court. I
was 16 at the time and getting into trouble with the law for the previous 4 years or so. I was kept at Junior Haven, a juvenile detention center in Ft. Lauderdale, until April 23 when along with another boy I was driven about 500 miles from Ft. Lauderdale to FSB at Marianna. We arrived in Tallahassee early evening and the other boy and I had to spend the night in the county jail. The next morning we were picked up and taken to FSB. The other boy who was black was dropped off first on the black side of the campus on the other side of the main road because segregation was still being practiced then. As we pulled onto the campus I was surprised to see no fences or walls. Soon I would find out why.

Starting at the age of 8, I spent two years at St. Benedict’s Catholic boarding school near Dade City FL. I ran away my last year there. I was acting out and my parents just didn’t know what to do. In hindsight I believe it was due to my feelings of not being loved and emotionally supported by them. That’s not to say my parents didn’t love me, but they did not show it as far as an 8-year-old boy could see. When I was 11 I was sent to Miami Military Academy in Miami FL. I ran away my only year there. When I was 14 I ran away from home.

The 2 juvenile officers, with me in the back seat, pulled up to the administration building and checked me in. I was assigned to Adams Cottage, also referred to as number 10. At first I didn’t like my cottage father but soon came to like and respect the man. One day soon after my arrival a boy angered my cottage father who grabbed him with both hands by the front of his shirt, pinned him to the wall, and raised him off of his feet. He proceeded to chew him out with name-calling and threats. I remember commenting to another boy “what a son-of-a-bitch”. The
other boy said “not really”, the chewing out would last about 3 minutes and be done with, much better than getting a “grade”.

FSB had a grading system, which was how I would have to work my way out since I was committed, not sentenced. A commitment is for an undetermined amount of time where a sentence is for a specified amount of time. On arrival all boys would start out as Explorer, then advance to Pioneer after 4-6 weeks if they didn’t receive a low
grade. Then if they walked the straight and narrow they could advance to Pilot and then Ace. Grades would be given periodically, about every 4-6 weeks by the cottage father, schoolteacher and work supervisor. School and workdays would alternate. Sat and Sun would be off days. But a low grade, what we simply called a “grade”, could
and would be given at any time for an infraction of the strict rules. The lowest grade was a zero and would immediately drop a boy’s rank to Grub regardless of his current rank. When a boy was a Grub and got a grade there was no rank to take away so he would “go down”. If a boy ran away, talked about running, or did not report
a boy who “talked about it,” he would “go down,” regardless of rank. To “go down” meant that a boy would be taken down a gently sloped hill about 200 yards from the head office, to the White House. There a “spanking” could be administered. That’s what they called it. It was actually a beating delivered with a leather strap which I never saw but definitely felt and heard. Around a month or so into my stay at FSB I was accused of stealing a T-Shirt. There was no trial. When the grades came out I had a 0 for stealing. When I inquired about the 0 I was told, “you stole a T-shirt”.

One day after being demoted to Grub I was called to the boss’ office. He said I was seen smoking and would get a “spanking” and to wait outside the office on the bench. After what seemed like hours but was probably 10-20 minutes the bosses came from their office and we proceeded down the hill. I remembered what another boy had
told me about what it was like to “go down” and was mentally preparing myself. When we got to the White House we entered through the side door which was locked.

As I write this I am getting that same feeling of fear and nausea in the pit of my stomach as I did 47 years ago.

We walked in, passed through a narrow 10‘ long corridor, turned left then a quick right and entered a small 8’ x 10’ room, which used to be a cell. I could see where bars had been cut out of the doorway. There was a cot with a thin mattress and a steel frame with an arched bar at the head and foot. I was told to lay on the bed, hold on to the bar at the head of the bed, face the wall, do not scream or say anything at all unless asked. They would often ask questions about other boys while on the bed. I was also told not to look at them or try to get off of the bed. I
did as told. Then a loud fan was turned on. Soon I heard the foot pivot on the floor, then the paddle scrape the low ceiling, and the landing on my buttocks just as my smoking buddy described. He had told me to tighten my ass just before the blow landed. I did so and thought, “that’s not so bad”. After the third blow all the air cushion had been expelled from my Levi jeans and then the pain really started. I was also advised by my buddy to count the blows as it would make the time go faster. So I did. I remember it seemed like an eternity between blows as if they wanted time for each blow to register. By the time we got to 20 it was the worst pain I had ever experienced. When the count got to 27 it was over and I was told to get up and run back to my cottage. Later in the common shower the other boys told me that I got a “pinky”. My ass was a deep red but it was still considered a pinky. I was
not “busted” meaning the skin was not broken.

Time went on and before I worked my way out of the Grubs I went down again for talking in the dormitory after lights out. They said the dorm existed for one reason and that was for sleeping. This time I got 32 and my ass was a deep purple but was not busted.

Time continued to move on. I was out of the Grubs and Pioneer with 5s working my way to Pilot. Then one night in the dorm several boys and me sort of lost our composure and started having fun. We flipped mattresses and whole beds with the boys in them. The next day we found ourselves in the boss’ office. He asked me if I would
rather have a “spanking” or a grade. I told him I would rather have a “spanking”, as a grade would lengthen my stay at FSB. He said I was going to get a grade and a “spanking” due to the seriousness of the infraction – he called it a riot. I wondered why he bothered to ask what I wanted. This time I went down with 5 other boys. The other 2 times I went alone. On the way to the White House I asked the “spanker” if I could go first to get it over with. He did not respond to my request but said he knew that my 5s as Pioneer were not earned and was very
disappointed in me. This boss did not often do the “spanking” but when he did he could “bust” within the first 5 blows or so. I had seen the results of his work on a boy in my cottage. Flesh a deep purple, almost black and red from the blood and looking like raw hamburger. I was worried that he was going to wield the paddle. To my surprise my request was granted and I was allowed to go first. It was not that I had courage, quite the opposite. I didn’t want to hear the other boys getting it and have the long wait to get mine. As it happened the same guy did the “spanking” as my previous 2 times going down. I was relieved it was not the “buster”. I knew the drill and lay on the bed, gripped the head rail and faced the wall. The first few blows as before were not so bad but soon the
pain of each blow was excruciating. It seemed that he was really laying it on harder than the other times. I was counting licks and summoning all my will and strength to stay quiet and still. I tried crossing and uncrossing my legs, tightening and relaxing my ass, but nothing relieved the pain. The count got to the high 30s and I wondered if it would ever end. As the count got to the high 40s I did not know if I would be able to stay on the bed without being held down. Then it was over at 52. I was told to get up and wait in the alcove under the fan vent at the end of the corridor between the waiting room and the “spanking” room. I was glad I went first. The sounds of the other boy’s beatings were as frightening as my own even though I knew mine was over. One of the boys broke the protocol and started screaming and begging them to stop. They warned him to be quiet or they would get other boys to hold him down. He still begged so they sent for boys from the kitchen, which was nearby. I was glad I was not told to help hold him down. I was not sure I could do it without protest. It was known that if a boy refused to hold another boy down he would also get a beating and I was not ready for another on top of the one I just got.

I didn’t know it until I got back to my cottage and in the shower that this time I was busted in 3 places. My ass deep black/purple and my shorts were bloody from the right cheek.

I never cried from the beatings. Not because I am brave and have a high tolerance to pain, but because I was afraid of them going harder on me if I did cry.

After this trip to the White House I decided it was time to get out of that hellhole. I asked to transfer to the kitchen from the dental clinic. Kitchen boys worked every day and built up good time. Plus the longer hours would keep me busy with less time to get in trouble. My work station in the dining hall was about 50 yards from the White House and at least every other day I would hear the fan knowing that someone was getting a beating. Some time in April of 1962 I got my release date of May 22, 1962. As was allowed, I could ask any staff member to drive me to the bus station. I asked one of the dentists who was my work supervisor before I transferred to the kitchen. The dentists were interns not regular state staff, and had a different mindset. I felt compassion from them. On the way out of the gate as my friends were waving goodbye I broke down and cried. The dental intern asked why I was crying. I told him because I was so happy to finally be going home.

I am now 64 and as recently as 10 years ago I have had dreams about being sent back to FSB as an adult. In the dreams I would think “why would I be sent back here as an adult”? Then I think after waking up if I’m going to have a nightmare it may as well be about the worst experience of my life.

The White House should be left standing with the doors unlocked as a reminder of man’s inhumanity to children. Much agony was endured in that building and to tear the White House down would be denial that it ever happened. It did.

During my stay at FSB I know of 2 incidents where boys ran and never returned. It was rumored that one boy was shot in the back of the head by a bounty hunter. Dog boys from Apalachicola Prison Farm supposedly beat the other to death. I have no way of knowing if this is true.

Boys who ran received 100 plus whacks and sometimes spent time in solitary confinement, probably to heal before the other boys could see how badly they were busted up.

When I was in Junior Haven waiting to go to FSB I made a decision not to run from there, and not to run from FSB at Marianna. I would take this opportunity to start over with a clean slate. To this day I am glad for that decision.

A Wife-Pat


I've just played all the video that was on the website and I am so glad that this is
making it's way to the public. My husband was there in '59-'60. He was 15 when he
was sent there for skipping school and running away from home. His mother told
the courts to send him to Marianna, she couldn't handle him. I met him about a
month after he came home from there. I had a hard time believing the stories that he told me about the beatings and having to be taken to the infirmary to have his pants removed because of the injuries. We married a few months later and we lived with what they did to him (mentally) for 29 years, when he died at 47.

His name was Bethel James and I wish his mother was alive to hear the truth about
that place. He was a good man in spite of what they did to him. Thanks for letting
me voice my thoughts!

Pat James

A Daughter-Shannon

Dear Mr. Straley,

I saw the story a few months ago in the paper regarding the White House Boys. At
the time I read it, I thought how terrible that must have been. I immediately
thought of my own father and how he went to a boys school, but thought surely it
couldn't be the same one...until today. My grandmother passed away this week,
and after her viewing tonight I was talking with my father and he shared some
stories of his past. One of these stories was from a time around 1954-1956 when
he was a boy of about 11 or 12 and he and his younger brother spent time at the
Marianna Boys Home and that he was indeed a White House Boy. My father,
Freddy M. Bishop, and his brother Larry L. Bishop were apparently beaten several
times, but he told me of one specific event that I would like to share with you.

After dinner time my dad had to go to a house to get medicine, one night a group
of boys apparently demanded more food and he believes they were given more
food that night, but he wasn't sure because he was not there. The next day the
group was taken to "the White House" (which he referred to as the ice cream
house because after you went your skin would be every color that is in ice cream).

My dad was thought to be part of the group because he was gone at the same
time to get his medicine. He told me of the man that did the beating, (he can recall his name, but I don't remember what he said) and how he pleaded with him that he had only gone to get his medicine. The man said he was lying and then he was
made to lay on the bed, bite a pillow, with arms stretched around the mattress. He
was then given 34 licks with the strap and the man asked him about what he had
did wrong and my dad tried to explain again he didn't know, he had only gone to
get his medicine; the man then gave him over 20 more licks, and because he
couldn't take the pain any more he told the man he did it, even though he really
didn't know what "it" was at the time. When my dad woke up the next morning his
skin was stuck to the sheets. My dad says if you look close at his back you can
still see scars.

Although my dad did not speak of the things that had happened to me before this
day, I believe it is good for him to know that what happened to him and his brother
has not been forgotten, so I appreciate all that are responsible for this web site and for bringing this story to light. I can tell he recalls what happened to him like it was yesterday even though it has been long ago. Unlike the experience I saw from some other children of White House Boy Survivors, my dad was very much the
opposite. We were sparingly punished if at all, in fact if my mother tried to punish us my dad would fuss about it. I believe my dad wanted us to never have anything close to the horrors he faced in his life. Although we grew up with out a whole lot of money, we never really new as kids. We always had to have more than enough food cooked at every meal and we were allowed to get by with too much, which
often ends up with a negative outcome as well. I am grateful for my dad and
deeply saddened by the experiences he had to face as a boy.

Thanks again for bringing your past to present to help so many; I am sure it has brought back painful memories for you as well. I am also sorry for you, my dad and uncle, and for all that suffered that our state ignored what was taking place at the Marianna Boys School.


Shannon Bishop Erwin

A Daughter-Tina

Hello, My name is Tina, Daughter of Clifford Hastings (one of the boys beat 9 or 10
times in a year at The Marianna School for Boys in 1954 and 1955).

I just found out at 43 yrs old exactly what my Dad went through. I always knew
something was wrong with him but my Grandparents told me drugs and alcohol
made him this angry, unstable person. They never bothered to tell me that it was
that school that did this to him. They didn't know or didn't want to believe it. My
Dad has just told me they never believed him.

Image being a child and the people that were suppose to protect you tossing you
away and beating you till they almost killed you or until you wish you were dead.
Could you trust anyone after that? I went for 43 yrs thinking my Dad didn't love me
or want me or anyone for that matter. He was married 6 times. I was raised by his
Parents. I didn't get to meet my Mother until I was 23 yrs old. I remember asking her what happened with you and my Daddy and all she would say was that he was so
angry and confused and she was scared to death of him and that she didn't want to
talk about it.

Again, I thought like I was told it was because of drugs and alcohol. That place
changed my Dad's life, my life, and my Brothers life. I didn't live with him raising my Brother but because of what happened to him he would not spank or discipline my
Brother at all. He could do anything and get away with it. Well now he is 34 yrs old and doesn't have a very structured life. He struggles because my Dad said he
would never be spanked for anything. I on the other hand had my share of
spankings from my Grandparents. So I thought my Dad sure loves my Brother but
he didn't love me. I got spankings but my Brother could do no wrong. It put a
wedge between us.

My Dad's only concern was that my Brother not get punished. It's all so clear now.
All he could see was himself in the face of his Son. My Father was never really able
to have a close relationship with me because having a relationship was so hard for
him. So, these people took my Father away from me. But, I am not as important as
he is in my opinion. He has had a very hard life because of all us this. All these
years unable to sleep at night. Now I know why. This can't happen to anymore kids.
I was sitting in Church looking at the little boys and girls and thinking that is what my Dad looked like when he was ravaged like he was an animal. How could there
be such people in this world. All I could do was cry for him. Life has been so hard
for him.

My Dad got out of that place by lying and having his older Sister sign for him to go
in the Military. He was only 16yrs old and had just came from hell. Well needless to
say the authority thing didn't work out well for him. He ended up in prison. All he
knew to do was fight, fight, fight. Well, in prison he had a nervous breakdown. His
jaws locked. He was then given Electroshock therapy. He became acquainted with
a Psychologist. He told me about him last night. He said he was really good and
made him believe he could be normal and have a life. He became an editor for the
newspaper. He is a very talented artist.

He did his time and was asked if he wanted to go back to the Army. He did. Guess
what? The authority thing came back crashing down on him. Trust no one. All
people are out to get you. Needless to say that didn't work out for him. Well, then
he found drugs and alcohol to numb him. He found a wife or two to take it out on
when he was drinking and all the bad came back to haunt him. His life and ever one
around him would never be normal. Each one in a different way. I have since heard
all these horrible stories and told my Dad how sorry I was for what he has gone
through in his life. I wish I could change it. I am only thankful that he is alive and I can try and show him how much I love him. I know some Daughters and Sons will
not get that chance. Their Fathers died with them saying good riddance you SOB.
All of our lives were shaped from the torture they allowed to go on in this place.
These were little boys who did nothing more than run away. Then when they got
there they just had the wrong look on their face whether it was a smile or a frown.
Some never found a reason to smile again.

Please hear them now. No one heard their cries over the fans and the pillows they
were biting. Make sure they are heard and acknowledged for what they have gone

Tina Billy
Clifford Hasting's Daughter

A Daughter-Zoe

It’s a crazy thing to attempt: searching for the words to explain my relationship with my father and how I suspect his time at Florida School for Boys affected the outcome of his life, and indirectly, mine.

I can start by saying that I consider myself among the fortunate to have been raised by a man with all his screws securely in place. I didn’t fully realize – and suppose I never will – how psychologically traumatic his childhood was. And then I read Richard a.k.a. Paul Markwalter’s story about his time at FSB: 27 lashes with a paddle for smoking; 32 lashes for talking after lights out; 52 for a pillow fight with the other dorm boys which he said the headmaster referred to as a riot. To think that pop’s punishments were considered among the merciful. And then I consider some of the other residents’ assessments: FSB “taught” them to be criminals rather than to have helped them reform.

Pop had officially cleaned up his act by the time he was in his mid-twenties. He never made it past the eighth grade but I’d be willing to bet his i.q. is in the one-twenties. He’s spent the bulk of his years self-employed, always avoiding the system. He’s lived in fear of applying for a straight job in the event that his undesirable past may be chasing him.

I have spent my adult years dropping out of college, fearing confrontation, attempting to buck the system, and not quite knowing how to become a part of it. When I was a kid, I was riding a moped without documentation and feared arrest when the policeman pulled me over. As I fill out my unemployment information, verifying my job searches, I fear that they will cancel my benefits. This is who I am, a clear illustration of the reality that the dysfunction of abuse is passed from generation to generation regardless of intent. Still, I have the benefit of being a
generation removed from the direct effect that FSB had on human life. Pop doesn’t. Pop is trapped in the fear of being caught, being punished.

I don’t recall pop ever laying a hand on me. He promised himself that he would transcend his parents – his past. And he so much as made me promise to do the same simply by telling me I would. He taught me about honesty and alternative thinking, but he couldn’t help me find the right schools. He couldn’t help me plan an interview. He couldn’t help me fill out forms. And there was always, still is, something there: pain, fear, sadness.

It’s a crazy thing to write this – to wonder if it will make a difference. But I owe it to pop – my father, a victim of the system. He hides, so he loses its benefits as well. The system owes Richard Markwalter, the friends he made at FSB, and the boys he never knew.

Zoe & Pop

Chuck's Story

Mr Hagen was the cottage father at Roosevelt.. seemed like he drove a black '57 Ford that looked like a cop car.. he was just as you described him.. he had seen just about every kind of kid there is/was and completely untrusting of most guys..

I will admit that he started seeing I was sincere in my efforts to make good and started to 'trust' me on a limited basis..

When I arrived my 2nd time, just about everybody, staff and guys, thought I was going to be a bad ass and stay in trouble.. Mr Meyers was an exception.. he became the principle over the school part.. red headed guy... Mr Hagen did not trust me then.. but I worked and did good, eventually being the 'supervisor' over cleaning up and never did puke on anybody.. I also made ACE... I won a scholarship to Chipola Jr College from FSB.. Mr Meyers helped.. later on Pat Currey, worked with Mr Meyers as monitor, also won a scholarship and was my roommate.. we are in touch with each other...

Which brings up another name, Mr Curry was the psychologist you are talking about.. Mr McLean also was a psychometrist and gave tests.. they worked together... I was assigned to help Mr McLean.. Curry was bald, stockier, shorter, and smoked a pipe.. always talked about sex with the guys... Mr McLean on the other hand wasn't that talkative/social but after I got to know him, was friendly and a pretty nice guy..

My first time at FSB-FIS, I worked at the Industrial Arts shop with Mr Howard Hutchinson...

Coincidence.. I have my Vietnam veterans reunion at the Best Western at Ft Walton Beach.. I've been going since about '96 at least once a year and more recently, twice a year.. the next one is scheduled for 1st weekend in May.. we will have to get together.. check the 174th link in my signature block below.. you'll fit right in..

About the White House.. one thing that has held me up about writing about my experiences is it wasn't that traumatic for me... I was brutalized but not traumatized.. After reading about y'all's experiences, I've set back and wondered and meditated about why I was traumatized.. OR did I repress/suppress all those feelings.. the best I can say right now is I took it in stride and was not traumatized.. I could have been in post-trauma from my dad dying a couple of years earliey b/c that was really, really traumatizing for me.. but the spankings were sort of like an initiation rite to me.. and yeah, the first time I had about a one inch rip in my left butt cheek..

I'm planning on staying in touch.. notice I'm CC'ing everybody I've got an email address for.. I also know Bill Haynes that works for the Ala Dept of Corrections over the Communication Division.. I was senior research analyst for them for 22 years plus was correctional counselor at a work release center for my first 5 years.. I got recruited into doing research and a had a great career...

I wonder how we can put all our experiences together where it will help Roger in his efforts.. he was way too young to be spanked/beaten like that.. I was 14+ and a bigger boy then he was..

please get back to me, in peace

Chas "Chuck" Simmons

I hope next year we will be able to have a small reunion and a commemoration for those under the crosses.. for one, I’d like to pay my respects to those whose remains are interred at FSB.. the forgotten aren’t forgotten.. be a good excuse to get together if we need an excuse..

Do they have records for the graveyard?..

I know the Alabama prison system didn’t keep records of who was buried where.. they kept Time Books on each inmate, his crime and time.. just about every state had their system of keeping records.

The Time Books kept a record of an inmate's release whether the release was at end of sentence/time, by escape, by death, or transfer thru court adjudication, etc and there are records of each inmates according to Bryant and Stu...

It shouldn’t be too difficult to look thru FSB’s archives and find out which guys were released by escape and never returned… the number would be relatively small and easier to look into to see whether they reappeared at Appalachee or Raiford.... those not appearing there may be the ones to look further into..

Straley, were you going to upload that email narrative containing my experiences with the White House to the FSB-Marianna site? I had included a consent agreement with it.. I haven't checked your site in several days tho... I hope you have., ;) lol!

It bothered me when I first heard of Roger's traumatic experiences at FSB with Dr Curry and also down at the White House.. my experiences were no where close to being like his was. now understand I had a brutal experience, just like anybody would getting beat like that..

In particular they should not have beat kids… I don’t care how snot nosed a kid can get, after a point a whipping isn’t a whipping once it becomes a beating.. then it’s a physical assault and battery.. there was some young, young kid, nine or under that was there for throwing rocks at cars passing by their dirt road.. he was assigned to #1.. IMHO he shouldn’t have been at FSB for that ‘offense’. I don’t remember him getting ‘flogged’. The point is there are folks too small and too young to be beat..

Incidentally that strap was made of an old-time leather conveyer belt; made by layering a metal reinforced belt between thick layers of horsehide… the strap was cut from the belt, a wood handle, with holes to decrease the wind resistance and create blood blisters

I heard some FSB employees discussing it over coffee at Joe's Restaurant while I was going to Chipola in Marianna.. John Meyer kept a close watch over Pat and me, and later on over Lloyd Garner, and Mark from Pensacola (his last name hasn’t came to me yet)... Arthur Gibson had a shot at going to Chipola too but he wanted to go back to Michigan and attend college on his father’s benefits.. I had coffee lots of time with several of the FSB staff. A couple of the assistant cottage fathers were guys working part time and also going to college at Chipola... I was friendly and polite but wasn’t buddies with them or vice versa.. we each had our own worlds to live in and I wasn't part of theirs..

But, like I was saying.. I was brutalized but not traumatized.. and at first it bothered me that I hadn't been traumatized by the White House beatings. Several of you guys were traumatized and brutalized.. Reason being I wasn’t traumatized was because I was already in shock, a post-trauma from my dad's death and sudden aloneness and responsibility.. I was pretty pissed off at the world, enraged at my dad, and at God and Christ.. I cussed them and raged against them for most of my early adulthood...

I look back nowadays and I see that Christ was there for me all thru FSB... He loved me even when I didn’t love him. I didn't see it then... there wasn't anything outside of me that could hurt me more than I was already hurting... but now I see the Holy Spirit was there with me every step I took..

So I understand now why I wasn't traumatized by being beat at the White House.. brutalized? yes!! Traumatized? Nope.. I had a younger big brother that used to swap licks with each other.. man he could pack his lunch in a punch.. dang he could hit.. and cut with his knuckles.

I held my own tho and gave him as good or better than I got. All my brothers had a lot of anger similar to me..

Flogging was supposed to be by procedure, officially..

Unofficially it got out of control on occasions.. according to what I understand, when FSB hired a male employee, they were invited into a group of people authorized to administer flogging.. within that group was a certain comradeship and competition to being the best flogger.. they took pride in busting a butt in under ten strokes sort of thing.. Hatton, Hagen, and Dixon were rumored to be the ‘best’.. some cottage fathers declined to join the group and were not part of the official group..

Several assistant cottage fathers got into the inner group rivalry.. Mr Tidwell with his one arm couldn’t get the balance/leverage to be in the top group but he was in the group right below.. he wasn’t a slouch by any means.. Mr Zych was another that wanted to be top ranked but with one leg, he couldn't.. they could turn the paddle at certain angles and it became rigid-like and ‘slice’ and pound the glutes..

They would have one guy to whip, one guy to witness and watch the inmate on the cot and any inmate previous been beat.. and then they needed a guy to stay with the inmates waiting to be whipped.. it would take a minimum of three staff members to escort a group of boys to the White House. seems like when they would take four guys at a time to the White House they would also have four staff members..

Anyway, thanks again Roger for the photo.. in peace ;)

The Chazzmanian Devil ;-)

God loves me.. oh yes, even me.. and even you too!! come visit my little toe-hold in cyberspace

Visit my photo/art portfolio!

Read my personal history, w/empasis on military bio:

Leslie's Father

Leslie said...
Mr. Kiser,

I found your comment after doing a little research into what my father refers to as "the boy's home in Marianna". My father has spoken of a beating he received while he was there in the late 1950's. I have not read your comment to my dad, but I was chilled to the bone as my father has even said the name, (known official to be named at a later time) The details of my dad's experience are very much like your own, so much so it gave me goosebumps. Because my dad has always been a wonderful father, very generous, loving, and understanding I as an adult have never been able to fully comprehend the hell and torture he endured at Marianna. I also doubt many people can understand the horrors that these young boys such as my father experienced. I applaude you for sharing your experience, and have often encouraged my father to do the same. NO child should EVER be treated in that manner!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Louis de la Parte

Louis de la Parte: A Crusading Champion For Florida's Forgotten

Back in the days when the mentally ill were shuttered away in institutions and troubled children faced cruel conditions in jails and reform schools, one lawmaker stood alone as the champion for reform. His name was Louis de la Parte, and what he saw in Florida's mental hospitals, prisons and juvenile reform schools enraged him so much that he dedicated his leadership to reforming the system. Twenty years later, de la Parte called for the reformation of HRS because of its ballooning inefficiencies. He would make unannounced visits to state institutions, then present fellow legislators with irrefutable testimony that spurred sweeping reforms. When the director of the state's reform school for boys in Marianna was fired for whipping children, then reinstated by a powerful politician, de la Parte drove to the school and found the blood-splattered shed where the abuse had occurred. Tampa Bay Online - Oct 2, 2008

Randolf's Story

Dear Roger

My Name Is Randolph Johnson nick name Randy. Just today I was looking at a map of Florida, having to do with my business , I suddenly ran across the town of Marianna and in that moment all these memories came flooding in about my confinement in Marianna and the abuse that still lingers in the far corners of my 69 year old mind.

Suddenly I was in the white house, I saw the metal bed that had at one time been painted white so typical of white southern folk to paint things white. Only the bars were worn to the metal from all the hands that had held on for dear life, I could smell the odor of damp cement and mildewed mattress, the dirty pillow with blood spots from boys that bit so hard to endure the pain that was being forced on their young tender bodies , how searing that pain was, you can never forget it.

I went to my computer to see if the school was still in existence and found your group and began to read all of the story's including yours, Roger. My tale is similar to all who have experienced this terrifying journey. I was placed there June or July of 1954 until April of 1955 about 9 months, back on the streets for 4 months, returned Sept 1955 until July 1956 10 months.

In this time frame I was sent 4 times to the white house. By the way how did you get the photo of the man with the whip? ,that's the whip! I will never forgot the shape of it, they keep it under the pillow. The man that beat me on all those four times, his name was (KNOWN OFFICIAL TO BE NAMED AT A LATER DATE) the director of the school and (KNOWN OFFICIAL TO BE NAMED AT A LATER DATE) as superintendent . I'm having a big anxiety attack to many memories hammering me at this moment .I will write more later I'm sending you photos of myself now and then at the school. Thank you for taking about this. I'm only now realizing all this was really happening to so many boys and now its a collective memory. Its been in my head for so long.

Thank you again Randy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jonathan Coker

My Time at the Florida School for Boys 1957-1958My name is Jonathan Coker . I arrived at FSB in July of 1957, I was fourteen and had been declared incorrigible for not being under the control of my parents and fighting with my Dad. I had spent several weeks in the Bay county jail
and was driven up with another boy from Panama City who had been there several times before.

When we were being processed at the office I made the mistake of sitting in a chair without being asked which was considered a major breach of manners , I was corrected instantly but I think this made Mr Hatton remember me and consider me a "wise guy".

I was assigned to Monroe cottage # 6 with Carlos Smith as the cottage father . He had an assistant named Bull York. who was a bully and was known for punching and slapping around the boys who displeased him. After a week of so on the "yard crew" I was assigned to the Auto Mechanics shop and worked under Mr Lewis. This was across the highway from the colored section where almost all the job training , on the white side we had training in the skilled crafts which might be of some use when you got out. The blacks side did mostly farm work.

Monroe cottage was filled with the larger boys , the person I arrived with was sent to a different cottage I think because he was smaller than me. We went to school one day and worked one day and were divided into groups of "even" and 'odds" in order to maintain this

There was a pecking order among us which had the larger and more experienced boys , many second timers at the top and it worked down to the smaller and weaker boys who were often harassed by the larger ones. There were always some who would bully those who couldn't protect themselves for amusement. There were some boys who were bullied by everyone for no real reason and were truly miserable..

I remember one incident when one of these unfortunates was trapped in a hall with 8 or 9 boys passed by with each of us kicking him in the shins or giving him a knee strike to his legs as he was pinned against the wall begging us to stop. None of us were what I considered chronic bullies but the pack mentality was at work and if had we passed him as individuals nothing would have happened. These were daily,common incidents,that would occur when conditions were right..He knew better than to say anything.I can still remember the expression on his face..

In order to gain the respect to make life bearable you would be tested by the bullies who would look for any sign of weakness. You would probably have a fight or two and then you would be left alone even if you lost, since to be caught fighting was always a paddling offense which took all the fun out of it, otherwise you could be tormented the rest of your time at FSB..

If you complained to the staff you would be branded a " puke" or "snitch" and you would be despised by the other boys for the rest of your time in Marianna. The only exception was if someone was talking about running away which was never successful and resulted in the entire cottage losing all privileges for a month. A boy considered a " puke" could have a blanket thrown over him at night and get the crap beaten out of him by 5 or six boys who he could not see. Staff would attempt to find out but if no witness came forward told there would be no action. Your place in the "pecking order" was clear at meals.

At meals we all sat usually eight to a table and the servers would bring the food from the kitchen and give it to the person who was the head of the table, he would take the best and then it would work it's way back and forth across the table until everyone who had been served with the unlucky person at the bottom getting the dregs. The head of the table could decide seating order. I don't remember how one got to be head of the table but they were the bigger and tougher boys.

Things like butter would never make it far past the first three or four people nor would any of the best pieces of chicken or ham or other desirable parts of the meal. The person at the bottom often would get nothing but a chicken neck or some pieces of Fat it is good we usually had enough vegetables. This was often a source of amusement to those closer to the head of the table.

I remember boys complaining that they were being starved by the others and there was some truth in this. I watched boys lose weight after their arrival if they sat near the bottom. We were all muscular,medium build or skinny, there were no fat boys at FSB that I remember.. Staff had a separate dining hall and different food that we only heard about from the kitchen boys.

Meat was mostly chicken and pork. Ham was served with the bristles still on it and called "hairy ham" but on weekends for the evening meals we were served hot dogs ,bread and a dish made of peanut butter and cane syrup called "state peanut butter". Like a lot of the food it took some getting used to. After a month or so I had made the adjustment and a few friends and was promoted from " rookie" to " explorer" and had a visit form my family during which time we were allowed to drive around the campus. I got my father to allow me to smoke a cigarette or two and since he had a carton in the car to give me two packs which I put in my socks.

Arriving back at the cottage Bull York must have smelled smoke because he took me to the locker room and strip searched me and found the cigarettes. I knew I was in a lot of trouble because of the way everyone acted.

I was broken to "grub' but I had to wait almost a week for my "spanking" since it happened on a Sunday.

Routine spankings were normally done on Sat morning, so I reported to the office with the rest and I was in the first bunch and know I was the first boy to be paddled that day.Sometimes there would be 20 or more boys and spankings would go on all morning with different staff members working in rotation.. Usually we would be taken from the office to the whitehouse in groups of 4 with two or three staff members and returned the same way ,usually limping and they would pick up the next group.

Mr Hatton told me to lay on the bed In the little room on the left side while the others waited on the other . I heard the fan turned on and received the first blow shortly after. The power of it was completely unexpected as it actually drove my whole body down on the cot. There was a delay of 20-40 seconds and another blow stronger than the last. I could hear him winding up like a baseball pitcher,his foot scrape,the strap hit the ceiling and then me . I knew it was important to "hold the bed" but was having trouble at about 5 licks. I counted 26 licks and at the end I was just seeing huge flashes of light and pain like I have never experienced before or since. The intervals between blows seemed like an eternity and were an important part of the punishment making each blow a separate experience and much more painful than the last.I thought it would never end. Mr Hattons spankings were not over quickly, I think my beating took about 10-12 minutes at least from start to finish. This gives you a chance to feel the full extent of the fear and pain and also doesn't wear out Mr Hattons arm too soon. He was a very powerful man and had been doing this long enough to make himself a real expert.

After the return to the cottage I was amazed at the damage that had been done to my buttocks, both cheeks were beaten black and "busted in five or six places with blood running down my legs. As I was all wobbly i was having trouble bending my legs to get the underwear off and some one helped into the shower and we took them off there.

I remember Mr Smith looking at it and shaking his head. Most of my friends felt it had been an unusually severe spanking. The next few days were a hell of pain every time I moved and gradually over the next two weeks turned blue,green and yellow as it healed.

I had heard about the spankings and that Mr Hatton was known to brag that he could "bust the skin" in 3 licks and was famous for his ability . I found it hard to believe that the state would allow this to be done to children and wondered what else could be done... I think this would have happened around the end of Aug , I never saw the strap this time. I now know it was made of two pieces of leather belting with a steel insert. It seemed to have a good deal of weight to it.

My next "spanking" was about 2 weeks later. The mechanics shop where I worked was down by the highway across from the colored side was where the fire engine was kept and it always had the keys in it. I made a joke about stealing the fire engine and using it to run away to another boy I worked with. In a couple of hours 2 men came to the shop and took me up to the office where Mr Hatton asked me about talking about running away. I attempted to explain that I was just making a joke and didn't intend anything but his response was running away is nothing to joke about and we would see how funny I thought it was when he was finished.

Anything I said made him more angry and so I shut up.I could tell he intended to teach me a lesson and knew I was really in for it..

After sitting in the office for the rest of the afternoon at the end of the day he and 2 other men walked me over to the whitehouse and I told to get on the cot and the fan was turned on and He took the paddle from under the mattress gave me my paddling which was like the one before except for being much more painful as my bottom had not healed and was still tender. I lost count at 29 licks and may have passed out as I had to be helped to my feet and made to walk around to be sure I was OK. I was crying a little and had chewed up my lip some. This time when I got back to the cottage my butt was in worse shape than ever with the old wounds reopened and busted in many more places and everything black and more bleeding so had to go in the shower and needed help to get the underwear off. The soreness was much worse than before which I didn't think possible. They did remove the keys from the fire engine.

My third and last "paddling" was about a month later and resulted from some horseplay at work that resulted in my being charged with fighting and disrespect. When washing down an area with a hose at work I gave another boy a squirt, since he didn't have a hose he came over and tried to grab it from me resulting in a struggle with both of us getting wet. Mr Lewis felt this was fighting and when I told him we weren't fighting but just fooling around he felt I was showing disrespect and I was written up for fighting and disrespect. I tried to take the blame but we both wound up getting paddled for it.

While waiting I was almost decided to try to run away to avoid another paddling but I knew of no one who had succeeded and they had all received severe spankings for their efforts.I also had no place to go and no plan to get there. I decided to try to grit my teeth and get though it. Next sat I reported to the office and was taken down to the Whitehouse and got to listen when one of the younger boys could not hold the bed after about 12 licks and had to be sat on by the two others boys and received another 5 licks while screaming and crying. I guess he was about 8 or 9 years old. I was the last to be paddled this time and was grateful that Mr Hatton was not there for some reason and I was paddled by Mr Zitch who was our school principal and also had a reputation as a bad paddler but I would have preferred anyone to Mr Hatton.

Mr Zitch had only one leg and could hit pretty hard but not like Mr Hatton , his aim was poor and you would be hit anywhere from the bottom of the buttocks almost to the small of the back. He would sometimes turn the paddle edgewise so the effect was more like being hit with a club and I remember one blow up high felt like an electric shock and caused me to jerk in reflex. I think I got about 20-25 licks that time with the usual effects except for the welts caused by the blows with the strap turned edgewise.. I had lower back pain for a month or two and have been bothered on and off with it all my life.

That was my last paddling and I came to understand how easy it was to get in trouble at FSB and became more careful but was always seeing the results of those who weren't. Once I loaned my camera to take pictures of someone's bad spanking and the film was supposed to be given to his parents to be developed and sent to a State Senator but never heard anything more about it.That would have been in late 57 or early 58. Generally the worst paddlings were reserved for those who ran and they were often allowed to rest for a day in the infirmity and always received severe beatings, but it was possible to get equally severe beatings for lessor offences.

The most important thing was who was doing the paddling and not just the number of blows alone. In my time the most feared was Mr Hatton, but there were others that found pleasure in this way and they competed with each other. I think they were all volunteers for this duty.

Habitual runaways disappeared and we were told that had been sent a place with a fence such as Appalachee , but we must remember that the staff had absolute power over us boys and would be protected in the event of any trouble in order to protect the reputation of the school and State of Florida.. There were stories about some black boys that had broken into a staff members house and were beaten to death in the whitehouse.

After my first spanking I quickly I realized that if they wanted to kill you here they could do it and get away with it.

Another explanation for the graves is that over the years tens of thousands of beatings such as mine and much worse took place and it is probable that some would have been given to kids with preexisting conditions which could cause death.It seems possible a blood clot could form since the muscles of the buttocks were beaten to a pulp and cause death in that way. Any medical care would have been delayed and rudimentary and the school would have gone to any length to conceal this. Thirty nine graves does not seem like a large number in this context..

. FSB was not only a reform school but also functioned as a orphanage and a great many kids were there just because they had been rejected by their families and had no place to go,.. There were also boys who had done everything short of murder such as robberies and serious assaults and were dangerous criminals and could be real predators.

But I think most of us were just scared, lonely, unwanted kids from failed families away from home for the first time. There were also kids who could never adjust to the discipline the school required and kept getting into trouble and would be sent home on a "must" which meant that for minor infractions that would normally result in a demotion , they would receive a spanking instead and keep their rank and be released Many would go to a home which might be worse than the school..

An "Ace' could get out in 71/2 months, a "Pilot" in 81/2, a "Pioneer" in 91/2 , but during my period 18 mos was the Maximum you could stay and many of these boys were up there every Sat morning for a spanking for a minor offense. I left as a "Pioneer" after about 10 mos. I was told average stay was about 11 months.

I would have to say life in the school brought out the best and worst in people,but mostly the worst and overall was a brutalizing experience that you never recover from and produces permanent changes in your personality and attitude towards life. It is hard to see the world as a kind & friendly place after one of the "spankings ' the staff was so free with or to see people as basically good when your main emotions are anger and fear. We all lived in some degree of fear all the time .

This leads to trouble later and closes lots of doors regarding jobs and family unless you are able to overcome it.. There is no doubt I came out an angrier and meaner person than I went in. It took time to learn to survive in this environment, it changed my personality so that in order to ignore your own pain, you became indifferent to the suffering to that of others, any displays of weakness or sentiment invited ridicule or even a fight so you learned to suppress your emotions which could cause problems in later life even such as problems showing affection. There was also the generalized anger and quick temper that I concealed but never quite learned to control and a difficulty in the ability to trust others.

I am 66 now so these my experiences took place 52 years ago. Remembering them instead of repressing them has been like opening a can of worms or pulling a scab off of a wound attempting to heal and the memories just come rushing back like yesterday. They are as vivid and painful as ever. I have been as accurate as I can with my recollections, of this period in my life and though I think it diminished my life and set me up for many problems later I try to avoid any bitterness..

I returned to FSB sometime in the 70"s and things looked much the same,.I entered at the mechanics shop entrance and drove up around behind the dining room, past the whitehouse , around to the school and down past Monroe cottage and out the other entrance. I think I saw a new administration building with R.W. Hatton's name on it but may have been mistaken. I didn't stop and was overwhelmed with images from the past and wanted to leave as soon as I could.. I have never been back.

I have never forgotten the date of my release, May 6th 1958. Actually I have been unable to ever really forget any of it. It will always be a part of me .

. Jonathan ( Jot ) Coker