Dozier Conversations Turn Tense

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Marianna- Jackson County officials have been concerned local taxpayers will have to pay for the exhumations at Dozier School for Boys. The county attempted to block the plans with a court injunction.

State officials believe the campus' unmarked grave may sites contain the remains of students killed by staff members. Statewide Prosecutor Nicholas Cox tried to assure commissioners during Tuesday's meeting the county will not be held liable.

"We are not seeking, nor will we ever ask Jackson county to put money toward this effort" Nicholas Cox said. "[Dozier] was state property, it was a state facility, it was operated by the state for over well 100 years. So if there are any issues that need to be dealt with, we need to be stepping up and dealing with them- 'we' being the state."

The project received support from local NAACP officials. North Florida Regional Vice President, Dale Landry approached the board along side several others and said, "I've only been to one other place in my life that was like that building- the White House- and that was when I went to Germany and went to Dachau" Landry said.

Comparing Dozier to a Nazi concentration camp didn't sit well with many in the audience, including local historian, Dale Cox.

"Six million people died in the Holocaust" Cox said. "And I think comparing anything we know about today to that I think is insulting. It's insulting to [Jackson County residents], its insulting to the Jewish community and it's a travesty to history."

Cox has claimed the unmarked graves contain the remains boys who died during a flu epidemic and a fire, or they contained the remains of animals.

But the state has maintained no one could really know what was under the ground, until the exhumations took place.

The state senate has been trying to appropriate $200,000 for a University of South Florida professor to conduct the Dozier search. The professor has also been working on an application for a US Department of Justice grant.

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