LPR Team Investigates Dozier School for Boys: A Mission of Truth and Reparation for a Suffering Long Forgotten
On May 12, 2022, LPR Attorneys Mike Papantonio and Troy Rafferty, along with LPR Investigator Carol Moore, traveled to Marianna, Florida, to walk the site of a horrific tragedy—one that lasted over 100 years. The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys (formerly known as the Florida School for Boys) was a “reformatory” school from 1900 to 2011. Far from reforming, the goals of this institution were to exploit, beat, torture, and sometimes murder the boys who were sent there. The town knew. The courts knew. Police, legislators, and regulators knew. Nobody did a thing to stop it.
Survivors of these atrocities met with the LPR group on the Dozier campus, where Mike and Troy interviewed them about their experiences.
LPR Certified Legal Investigator Carol Moore said that while LPR is not representing anyone or suing anyone, the firm is investigating the Dozier School incidents as a public service to the survivors.
“Our goal is to shed light on what happened so that people in the community and across the U.S. will know the story,” said Moore, a Certified Legal Investigator with LPR.
The firm has a second goal—to have the Florida legislature pass a bill to compensate the victims of Dozier School for Boys for what occurred to them from 1900 to 2011. Troy Rafferty will lead the legislative effort.
LPR will also be participating in a documentary for the nation to see.
Insights From a Member of the LPR Team Who Visited Dozier
Accompanying LPR’s legal and investigative team were Scott Millican, Executive Producer for Ring of Fire, and Rick Outzen, publisher/owner of Pensacola Inweekly.
Sarah Merced, an LPR paralegal, was also there.
Although Sarah had done her research prior to the trip, she said nothing could prepare her for actually hearing the survivors’ accounts firsthand and witnessing the trauma resurface as the men told their stories to Mike and Troy. “It was incredibly emotional to stand in the presence of these men as they were so open and vulnerable, asking for nothing but to be heard and seen so that their stories would not be forgotten,” Sarah said.
As the group walked the campus, Sarah noticed a lot of things.
An active sheriff’s department sat right at the entrance to the campus area that housed the white children who lived at Dozier. Police cars casually rolled by “as if to not so subtly remind us that we were being watched,” Sarah noted. She noticed mowed lawns and a freshly painted “White House” (the scene of some of the most hellish occurrences on campus). Someone had left flowers at the door.
In the main room of one of the cottages, Sarah noted crosses were stacked along the wall. “They had at some point been used to mark graves. It literally took my breath away,” she said.
As the LPR team made their way to Boot Hill—the only acknowledged cemetery on the property—the group had to pass through the campus area where the black children were housed.
“This entire area was completely overgrown with kudzu vine, buildings with collapsed roofs showing just over the tops,” Sarah remarked. “There was no care taken to preserve this area. This was a place that was trying to be erased.
“It was impossible not to think of what is hidden in that wild tangle and who was trying to hide it. The juxtaposition of these two campuses was lost on no one.”
The Beginning of a Long Journey
Please follow the LPR team as they embark on this somber journey of recovery, reparation, and justice.
Stay tuned for updates on this important mission.