UNITED STATES NEWS

Florida passes bill to compensate victims of decades-old reform school abuse

Mar 4, 2024, 9:13 AM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Restitution for decades of abuse at two now-shuttered reform schools where boys were beaten, raped and killed is now in the hands of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis after the Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday to set aside $20 million for victims.

The bill creates a process for former inmates at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the Florida School for Boys at Okeechobee to make claims over physical, mental or sexual abuse between 1940 and 1975. It’s estimated that victims will receive about $50,000 each.

“It’s been too long,” said state Sen. Darryl Rouson, the Democrat who sponsored the bill. “This is but a small token for a vast ocean of hurt, but it’s what we can do now.”

As he spoke, a group of about 20 victims stood in the Senate public gallery, one wiping tears from his eyes.

“Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for continuing to fight. Thank you telling the story and the stories of those who are not here and can’t speak. We salute your presence today,” Rouson continued.

A group known as The White House Boys, named for the white cinderblock building at Dozier where boys were taken and hit with a long leather strap, have spent years trying to get recognition for the abuse. Nearly 100 boys died between 1900 and 1973 at Dozier and the University of South Florida spent four years exhuming remains from 55 unmarked graves in overgrown woods on the school’s property.

The Legislature formally apologized for the abuse seven years ago, but Rouson kept seeking restitution, filing bills that failed in past years to compensate the men.

“Money doesn’t heal or pay for a lot or erase the mistakes of the past, but it sure does help,” said state Sen. Tracie Davis, a Democrat who sponsored similar legislation when she was in the House. “It sure does help to be able to get the resources and the help you need at 70 or 80 years old to end your days better than they started.”

United States News

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting kills 3 people including a young child in a car on an Alabama street

Three people including a young child were killed when their car was targeted with multiple gunshots outside a residence in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday evening. The Birmingham Police Department said in a social media post that a triple homicide investigation was underway in the 3400 Block of 27th Street North. The police said officers responded […]

5 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Service a...

Associated Press

The Secret Service is investigating how a gunman who shot and injured Trump was able to get so close

The Secret Service is investigating how a gunman was able to get close enough to shoot at former President Donald Trump at a rally Saturday.

5 hours ago

Carlton Smith, left, and Justin Nimmo pose in from of the console of the Barton Opus 234 theater or...

Associated Press

Reviving Hollywood glamor of the silent movie era, experts piece together a century-old pipe organ

DETROIT (AP) — A massive pipe organ that underscored the drama and comedy of silent movies with live music in Detroit’s ornate Hollywood Theatre nearly a century ago was dismantled into thousands of pieces and stashed away. The Barton Opus, built in 1927, spent four decades stored in a garage, attic and basement in suburban […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator ...

Associated Press

Can a Medicaid plan that requires work succeed? First year of Georgia experiment is not promising

ATLANTA (AP) — By now, Georgia officials expected their new Medicaid plan, the only one in the nation with a work requirement, to provide health insurance to 25,000 low-income residents and possibly tens of thousands more. But a year since its launch, Pathways to Coverage has roughly 4,300 members, much lower than what state officials […]

7 hours ago

Catherine Ward, owner of One Acre Farms, a functioning educational farm to help special needs kids,...

Associated Press

After Beryl, Houston-area farmers pull together to face unique challenges

PORTER, Texas (AP) — Hurricanes cause trouble for everyone, but farmers have a whole other list of problems. Beryl has been no exception: Over the past week, the storm damaged crops, soaked rabbits and chickens, terrified goats, put horses at risk of developing colic and left cows without fences to keep them penned in. And […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Florida passes bill to compensate victims of decades-old reform school abuse