Florida lawmaker wants to compensate survivors of the Dozier School for Boys

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Ten months ago the state apologized for more than a hundred years of abuse at the Dozier School for Boys.

Now may take the first step to compensate the survivors.

Once they started looking, researchers found 30 more bodies than they anticipated in unmarked graves at the Dozier School for Boys. Many remain unidentified.

For those that survived, the state apologized last April.

The self-named "White House Boys," the name coming from the cinder block house where they were beaten, called the apology a big step forward.

"I can sleep a little better now. the truth is finally out in the open," said White House Boy Robert St. Claire.

Now the state may create a registry of the survivors. It is the first step toward possible compensation for the abuses.

"There is some question as to how many are still living," explained Senator Daryl Rouson, the bill's sponsor.

Called the Victims of Reform School Abuse, the legislation requires survivors to provide proof from state archives that they were sent to Dozier.

If this legislation passes, victims would have until October 1st to register with the state and a certified list of victims would then come back to the legislature.

Lawmakers could choose to compensate them.

"Whether it's scholarships for their children, whatever form it comes in, it could be compensation, monetary compensation. But those decisions will be made once we've identified a class," said Rouson.

Or they could just simply look the other way, just as the state did for more than a century.

One 75-year-old former resident wrote Senate Sponsor Rouson saying he left Florida and hasn't come back since his beatings at Dozier. He vowed to come back if and when the white house where the atrocities took place is torn down.