Friday, September 6, 2013

Slideshow: Dozier School for Boys, abuse started early

Johann Wagener 9-6-13

I remember my "paddling" well. It only happened once to me ,but it was enough to scar me both physically and emotionally, for life. I dare to imagine what it did to countless other who suffered the same fate or worse.

My time there was 1958-59 almost 60 years after the school opened it's doors and began torturing children.

During my time there Congress held hearings  in which they discussed the paddling's with those that defended the practice; testifying that this was the "ideal" way to reform children who misbehaved; ran away from home (like I did) or stole a coke bottle to redeem it for the nickle you wanted to buy some candy with (like one of the other boys I knew was there for). There were those who testified that this was just good old down home corporal punishment and not what others claimed was more like brutal torture; something that was outlawed even in concentration camps and the adult prison system.

Some of the boys spoke up; described the beatings, the blood on the walls that splattered from the so-called paddle as the torturer swung it back over his head; adding that extra force to the blow to guarantee the damage. 

The denials by officials were loud and numerous. They testified it was just a "paddling". There was no blood. The boys were just making it up. Even when a picture of the paddle was exhibited the damage it caused was denied; this instrument could not cause that kind of damage. It's just a paddle.

What horrifies me is that it took almost another 50 years before anyone did something about it. And then it was to close the school and try to bury the crimes committed there with the young victims whose remains are now being dug up. 

To those who doubt, minimize, or deny this was torture I invite them to get a hold of a cot and one of those "paddles" then lie face down, grab on to the cots railing, bite into a bloody smelly pillow, and let a 6 ft. 200 lb. sadistic man have his way with you. After 10, 20, 30, or how about 100 licks with this harmless paddle I then invite you to share your experience with those of us you ignored all these years.

The following links are to stories that were published during my time at the Florida School for Boys. It was a time when people who knew about the torture spoke out, but nobody listened (or cared). 

Click here for videos regarding the Dozier School for Boys and the “White House.”