For Their Own Good

For more than a century, boys went in damaged and came out destroyed. It was for their own good. A report on child abuse at the Florida School for Boys.

The men remember the same things: blood on the walls, bits of lip or tongue on the pillow, the smell of urine and whiskey, the way the bed springs sang with each blow. The way they cried out for Jesus or mama. The grinding of the old fan that muffled their cries. The one-armed man who swung the strap. They remember walking into the dark little building on the campus of the Florida School for Boys, in bare feet and white pajamas, afraid they’d never walk out.

For 109 years, this is where Florida has sent bad boys. Boys have been sent here for rape or assault, yes, but also for skipping school or smoking cigarettes or running hard from broken homes. Some were tough, some confused and afraid; all were treading through their formative years in the custody of the state. They were as young as 5, as old as 20, and they needed to be reformed. It was for their own good.

Now come the men with nightmares and scars on their backsides, carrying 50 years of wreckage — ruined marriages and prison time and meanness and smoldering anger. Now comes a state investigation into unmarked graves, a lawsuit against a dying old man. Now come the questions: How could this happen? What should be done?  Those questions have been asked again and again about the reform school at Marianna, where, for more than a century, boys went in damaged and came out destroyed.

Read on…

  

47 thoughts on “For Their Own Good”

  1. It is for bringing to our attention relevant stories like this that I think makes this “boy” blog so great, even unique.

    1. Sometimes these boys homes/institutions can work both ways — they can be a great environment to grow up and learn in/from as well as provide some of the most brutal punishment to children. I experienced both of those conditions (although my punishments weren’t quite as brutal as was described in the above article) in a Texas boys school and dormitory environment. I went there when I was 14½ (summer before school) through 17½ when I graduated from high school. Texas boys school/dormitory life: Part 1?

      My family at this time was my mother and half-brother, 4 yrs my senior. My family was raised quite religiously – fairly devoutly catholic. My parents were divorced when I was 7 yrs old. My mother took this divorce very seriously, one reason being her older brother (my uncle) was a catholic priest. We went to catholic church every Sunday, and religious holidays. My mother ruled our house with an “iron hand,” particularly with me. As I was getting older, around 10-12, I started doing my own type of ‘rebellion’ against her and any other establishment figures. I started smoking, sneaking into her purse when I could get a chance and take some of her cigarettes, any small change I thought she wouldn’t miss and even a dollar or two if I thought she wouldn’t miss it. Of course, I was wrong, and ‘thus began’ some of the friction between us. My brother usually stayed out of this friction – he was too busy with his own school accomplishments.

      As the friction increased, my mother stopped having me go to the catholic church with her and my brother. Instead, I was “pawned off” to our apartment neighbors (who were also our landlord/landlady). They were baptists and I started going to the local ‘southern’ baptist church every Sunday. I won’t go into any of the horrible religious sermons of that church, but it did provide me with a mild social outlet away from my family. So I ‘conviently’ accepted whatever crap I thought I needed to just so I could leave our house for some of the dinners and light social events they provided. (I was at this preacher’s house having dinner the night of the very first Beatles’ show on stage for Ed Sullivan.)

      As time went on, and I found out much later after I left this boys home, it was these neighbors who told my mother about, and convinced her into sending me to this place. We were not even close to being wealthy, by any means, but I also found out much later that she had to ‘donate’ a certain amount to this boys home either each month or year, still not sure which (None of this has ever been discussed between us). So, about 2 weeks after finishing my 8th grade, I was told I was leaving and had to pack to be on a plane that afternoon to go to this place. Even though our relationship was deteriorating, I was devastated to discover I had to leave my family and go to another state and live without them (at the time, I was probably more concerned about leaving my brother, even though he just graduated from h.s. and he would be leaving probably soon anyway). The flight had a stop in a city about half-way and we all disembarked the plane for about an hour or so. I seriously thought about not getting back on the plane but then I remembered my luggage was on it and I would be without it and they would obviously figure out that I was not there with my luggage. This was June 25, 196x.

      When I arrived at the city, they had a car to take me to this home, which was about 40 miles away, so it was about an hour trip – which I remained quiet throughout. Then my boys home experience started – and it wasn’t always bad. I was taken to the dormitory where I would live and started all the introductions. Each dormitory had 2 apartments attached on either side of the ‘main room’ – 1 was for the dorm parent & family, and the other for the alternate dorm parent and his family. This main room had a few sofas, floor-type TV, and a floor-console type stereo – radio & turntable. Behind the main room was a long hallway with exit doors at each end. Along this hallway were 6 rooms sub-divided in half — the front half had a table, 4 chairs, bookshelf along the partition and 6 lockers. The rear half had 3 sets of (2) single size bunk beds. As you can see, every room housed 6 boys with each having a locker. There were 3 bathrooms — 1 between 2 rooms, doors to each. The shower stall was open with 3 or 4 shower heads and there were 3 sinks with mirrors above them and 2 open stools (toilets) and 1 open urinal at the end of the toilets on the sink side.

      Now, all of these type of dorms house boys from the ages of 12 – 18 yrs. They had 2 separate dorms that had boys from about 4 or 5 yrs – 11 yrs. To explain: While some of the boys ‘came from’ the courts as a ‘last resort’, a lot of them came directly from families for various reasons (as was myself), too many to go into here. Also, some of the boys had much younger brothers who simply couldn’t live with the older boys in that environment. I think that the younger boys dorms housed around 24 or so boys in each.

      Our schedule: Every morning Monday – Saturday, they woke us up at 6:00 AM. (Only Sundays we slept to 7:00 AM.) The dorm parent would go through each room and wake each one of us. Then he would make a second round and if anyone was still in bed/or asleep, he would see that we immediately went to the bathroom and he would watch the sleepy-head strip (almost all of us slept only in our briefs) get into a cold shower and then go to the next room after he saw the boy was awake and continue. (This is not as bad as it sounds – it happed to just about everyone, at least once. And I guarantee you we woke up after that!) Then, by 6:45, we would walk to the “mess hall” and have our breakfast at 7:00 AM. School started promptly at 8:00 and we were out at 11:45 to go have lunch (dinner). At 1:00, back to school until 3 or 3:30 (can’t remember now). Then, we would go to our dorms, change clothes and those who had “jobs” (at least 90% of them) would go to those jobs until 5:45 PM and then back to the mess hall for supper. Let me tell you, we were fed very well indeed. After supper, we would do our homework and after 8 or 8:30, we might watch some TV for about an hour or so, or just stay in our rooms. By 9:30 or 10:00 PM, it was showers and then to bed and lights out. On Sunday, ALL of us would go to the “non-sectarian chapel” for religious services. But it was hardly “non-sectarian,” as it was exactly like the baptist/southern baptist church I just left in my home town. Like most boys who really didn’t believe any of that crap, I would of course “feign it” and do whatever was necessary to get any “carrots” offered. That included memorizing at least 24 scriptures (or whatever) so I could go to a 2-week “summer camp” in the mountains in Northern Louisiana near Schriever (sp?). I hated the religious regimen (all of it baptist influenced), but enjoyed being in the mountains away from the home temporarily.

      The CARROT and the STICK:
      Even though we had a schedule “regiment” every day, week and month, we had some pretty good “alone” time as well as some good recreation. The school had a very good gymnasium, an excellent swimming pool (I learned to swim there right after I arrived at 14 yo). Every three weeks on a Saturday, one complete dorm would take the bus into the nearest town and we were allowed about 6 hours to ourselves. The local movie theaters allowed us to always have free tickets to see some of the latest movies (this was before any strict age code was ever enforced). I saw some great movies then: a few James Bond movies, Dr. Zhivago, My Fair Lady and others. And we could go to whatever restaurant we wanted and had enough money for. The bus would return to the homes after 10:00 PM and I guarantee, if we didn’t sleep on the bus, we would fall asleep right after hitting our beds.

      With all of that, we had discipline. And it could be very strict and harsh at times. The preferred method for discipline was the Texas belt: 2½-inch wide leather with stitching throughout. And when it was used, we called it “licks” every time the belt hit us. An example what happened to me (and this is completely true): During the school year, we would get 6-week and 9-week ‘reports’ or ‘status’ of our schooling. Shortly after I arrived there during my after my first 6-week “report card,” I received a “D” in World History (this would be 9th Grade). When the dorm parent (J.S. – I’ll never forget his name) came to my room and announced my name, the remaining room mates went to another room until it was finished and of course they listened to the punishment. After the usual “talk” that I wasn’t living up to my potential and he wouldn’t tolerate low grades like that, he told me to remove my pants and assume the position. I removed my pants and was then wearing only my white cotton briefs. I bent over in the center of the room grabbing my ankles waiting for the belt. He folded the belt in half and started giving me the punishment. C*R*A*C*K! Every time the belt hit my buttocks as well as my upper thighs, I silently counted each “lick” — as well as every other boy in the dorm was also listening and counting. We all did this — count every lick to see just how angry the dorm parent was and like everything with kids, who would get the most and set a “record.” Well, I was bent over and don’t need to tell you the amount of pain I was feeling. The count was getting to 68, then 69, then 70 and I finally thought, this is enough for such a minor infraction (to me, anyway).

      Just as he was swinging his 71st lick, I started to rise up and stand and because he didn’t expect me to stand up, that lick hit more of my waist and lower back. I also said something like, “This is enough.” He then swung again for the 72nd lick and it only halfway landed on me as I turned around to face him and said more sternly, “I said this is enough!” I didn’t know what would happen to me then – if he would start slapping me or using his fists on me. But he didn’t. I think he was in a bit of shock that any boy would stand up to him – especially this little kid (I was only around 5’5″, I think and he was over 6′). But I may have appeared to him that I had fire in my eyes and tried to put an air about me that I wouldn’t take any more of this punishment. Instead he stopped, started putting his belt back through the loops in his levis. He didn’t say anything, but just left the room and went back to his apartment. Of course, all my “roomies” came back and were taking turns looking at me (to see if I was crying – I wasn’t – but I wasn’t feeling too great either) and to look at the back of my briefs to try to see how much “damage” and how much redness and welts they could see. Everyone in the dorm was talking about the “new record” that I just “achieved” (unwillingly!) — 72 belt licks. Then my roomies kept pestering me to pull down my briefs so they could see my buttocks and the damage. Of course I did (it’s not like we haven’t seen each other fully nude before). And I can tell you now, that pain lasted for 2-3 days at least. Although I don’t remember if any blood was actually drawn, my buttocks were about as red as they could get. And I can tell you, this is not the way I prefer to go about setting any “records.” And if I remember, I didn’t get any more “D’s” either.

      Since that time, it really wasn’t that bad there, once I got over the psychology of leaving my family. Other incidents happened regarding me & my family being at this home, but after I left (3 years later – July 29, 196x), I have to admit that, ultimately, this was the best thing to happen to me (with respect to my family). I learned many things as well as matured a bit sooner than most boys (but I think in general, a good way). I know this is long, but this is just one experience example of being in a boys home with dormitories. And there are many good-bad experiences at some of these boys homes during this time period. Thanks for reading all of this if you did. If it doesn’t get too personal, I will answer some of your questions if you have any.

      1. PenboyX–I think of you as rather heroic to stop the punishment at 72 “licks” which by any perspective seems entirely excessive and I greatly admire your display of self-worth and expression of personal sovereignty. While I am against corporal punishment in any form (I understand that many believe it was helpful for them and I will not argue against them), I am especially against it when it comes to academic performance. Maybe you and others were really slacking off, but there could have been other explanations for bad grades and I can’t see how this particular method is a good one for correction of academic performance (which maybe has nothing to do with motivation, or lack of it). I remember seeing a movie about Winston Churchill who was sent home from a very brutal boarding school and his parents were shocked to see how damaged he was in the backside from being constantly caned because he had trouble learning Latin grammar; in fact, I think some kind of sickness from the wounds were what got him sent home. Fortunately his parents found a better school for him.

        I myself almost always got A’s throughout my schooling but one year in high school did get a D on my final report card in Algebra 2 from a horrible teacher who was mean and cruel and someone I just couldn’t learn from. My parents didn’t understand it, but certainly didn’t punish me for it; I simply had to take the class over the next year, this time with a really nice and good teacher who had had polio and therefore had lost a lung. Sometimes he got very tired of speaking with only that one lung and would then ask ME to finish teaching the class that day, which I was actually well able to do (so you can see the difference between one year and the next). If I had been punished, and particularly corporally punished, due to my D of the previous year, it would have been a great injustice and might very well have made me into a rebel who henceforth hated schooling, and that would have been a terrible waste.

        There is an African tribe (maybe several of them) who maintain a very admirable concept: “Never beat a child, for that offends the child’s spirit that communicates between their soul and their personality and it goes far away and it takes a lot of effort to coax it back, if you ever can.” My parents often talked about a kind of person who is “unensouled,” which made me think of that African concept; of course they have a soul, but their spirit went away and therefore their personality has no current contact with their soul. Continuing to beat a child is not apt to bring that spirit back.

        Thank goodness it was a relatively “good” school you were sent to instead of a hell-hole like described in this article. But it’s sad to be sent away from home. I was never sent away to school (my mother would have cried herself to death if any of her kids had been sent away…our going away to college was bad enough!), but for reasons I never fully understood, for two summers in a row I was sent away to summer camps for almost the entire summer, two months away each time. The first of the two camps was an entirely unsupervised “jungle” of kids who formed temporary gangs and perpetuated incredible cruelty on kids who were younger, weaker, or somehow “on the outs” socially. I think of it as my “Lord of the Flies” experience. It was a real lesson on how to survive in an alternative and alien world which is an experience so many boys have in these boarding schools. The second year I was sent to a different camp and it was an entirely different experience; very well-run, kind, and had boys that were fun, not cruel.

        I guess with all these places, there are good and there are bad and in many cases, it is just the luck of the draw. I am glad to hear that your experience seemed to be more of a beneficial one and that your spirit wasn’t scarred.

        1. Thanks but I didn’t feel anything “heroic” at that time. I seriously believe that once he got started swinging that belt, he just got carried away, probably using me as some excuse to fight some “demon” he couldn’t face otherwise. And I think (now) that he probably realized that he got carried away when he stopped and didn’t say or do anything after that. When I first arrived there, I genuinely respected him as a “father-figure.” But, honestly, after that, I lost a lot of respect for him. He left the very next summer and we got a new dorm parent & family that unfortunately, even though he was more even-handed, was also a lot more religious — and that’s not a good thing in any of these boys homes — it’s easy for them to take their religion and authority to extremes.

          1. PBX, I wonder if you would accept a quiet chaste hug from a total stranger. You may no longer need one, but I want to offer it to you.

  2. Almost every state in the US can lay claim to a similar institution. Up until the 50’s they beat religion and the Bible into the ‘bad’ boys in a futile effort to ‘rehabilitate’ them. If the boys survived, they were broken and disillusioned with the entire ‘system’. Most often they went on to crime, failed marriages and suicide. The horrors that went on in these places would rip the heart out of an ogre.

    The survivors, if many, will never get justice or any kind of reckoning. Even today, the places they put boys into while they wait for a foster home, are miserable excuses for a safe haven.

    As long as you continue to support prosecuting attorneys and district attorneys who are “tough on crime”, boys will continue to suffer in unimaginable misery. Even in my town, until about ten yrs ago boys (like the article says who had minor infractions like; smoking pot, cigarettes or petty thievery), were sent out of town to a juvenile facility to be bullied, raped and all their possessions stolen. If they survived there, they got a first class education in the art of becoming a ‘successful’ criminal

    Boys with weak family structures or a absent parent(s) suffered the worst fates, because nobody spoke up for them in the court proceedings. Talk about ‘lost boys’….grrrr

    But if you back up far enough in any Western culture, the treatment of minors was deplorable at some time in their history. I’d like to say we’re past this, but we’re not.;-(

    1. Have you ever talked with any of the boys that ‘graduated’ there? I think you’d be painfully surprised. Boys are still raised with the ‘old boy code’, wherein they are an island onto themselves and are supposed to keep everything inside.

      Most who left there would never talk about it again…still afraid to be labeled a coward, whiner or pussy. We all know here how this game is played…….it’s much easier to live with the denial that anything horrible ever happened there, versus facing the demons of the place, alive & dead.

      The movie “Sleepers” was an accurate representation of boys’ homes all over the US in our past.

  3. The amazing thing is with all the advancements Man has made since 10,000 BCE, the one thing he has not done or apparently been able to do is curb his cruelty towards his fellows. There is always a reason, an excuse or a divine plan why one group or another butchers, mistreats and murders others of his ilk.
    It would seem differences were the deciding factor in small groups surviving the final Ice Age, the Younger Dryas, and it may be that this is why Man is the way he is. You see it in small communities, and between countries; between religious denominations and secular groups, from hardy young men rolling the local fag to a nation bombing an underdeveloped country into another age because they have something of value or had the audacity to deny demands made on them.
    People cringe from the Holocaust of 1938 – 1945 CE and seem to ignore the same hideous treatment of other humans in Brazil over forestry rights, or eradication policies in the Balkins.

    It happens in every period of history known, and it happens to societies from invaders, and within from governments controlling their populations, or religious leaders bringing the flock to heel.

    It was and is done ‘for their own good!’. The re-education camps in China, or in Montana(hypothetically) to straighten out youth who have been sinful. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” “This will hurt me, more than it will hurt you.”

    And it happens especially to minors, the infirmed and the aged. Which is why if it ever comes to it, I’d rather die than go into a ‘home’, or a ‘convalescence center”.
    The strong, self-righteous, those in control pray on the weak, the sick and the demented. Even today, as you see, it continues. Minors, non-adults, stringently controlled by law with no civil rights, can be punished as adults with no concern for their future. A crime is committed and they must be punished. Adults who look sideways at a minor are stripped of their rights, their families destroyed, and their lives ruined regardless whether it is a first time mistake or a pattern of psychotic behavior or worst… a misunderstanding. The ends justify the means. Always.

    The point is Man is a violent, predatory animal and no matter how you varnish or veneer him with art and culture, philosophy or religion, he is still capable, and often cruelly violent, to loved ones as well as strangers.

    Question is can we rise above our nature and be better than this? I cannot answer this. If we learn from history then the answer is no. At least not yet.
    When I read something like this, it simply reminds me that this is not an exception to the rule, just part of the norm.

    1. “Question is can we rise above our nature and be better than this? I cannot answer this. If we learn from history then the answer is no. ”

      Surely it is only by learning from our past mistakes that we improve and move forward otherwise like the philosopher said we are condemned to repeat them.

      Unfortunately this type of incident is not new, rare or exclusive to Florida.

      Oliver Twist was a warning of this in 1837 and I doubt if it was new then.

      Power corrupts and who are weaker than children flung into an uncaring institution ?

    1. We should ALL cry reading this, as it shows we have heart & mind….something their jailers lacked. Kids who are perceived ‘weak’ or ‘different’ are natural targets. LGBTQI kids in most schools & ‘insititutions’, should just wear a bulls-eye on their chests.

  4. And the men that did this were God fearing Hetrosexual Good Old Boys? And they have a fucking brass neck to talk about the Gay influence on young boys. No they don’t want them to be Mollycoddled by Poofs, Benders, Fudgepackers, Fairies, Uphill Gardeners, Friends of Dorothy ect. What they need is Hetrosexual Gang Rape, Beatings, near drownings, and kickings. No wonder I’m fucking gay, if that’s what Hetros do? Cunts.

    Whiterabbit.

    1. Dear Whiterabbit,

      I love your anger.

      But paedophiles are neither gay or straight.

      The rapists would obviously masquerade as heterosexual but clinically I would suspect that they were paedophiles.

      God fearing, more than likely.

      And as you so eloquently put it indeed cunts !

    2. Of course they were…in this case they were devoutly religious and even their get are hiding behind that to this day.

  5. I have read parts of this story before, several years ago and remember being as shocked and dismayed then as I was now. I don’t quite remember when it was, I think somewhere around my freshman year at UT or maybe my senior year of high school. I thought then that such a thing should have been impossible and said something to my parents about it. My Dad said that Texas has a boy’s ‘school’ (Gatesville) probably very similar to this facility. He told me it wasn’t quite so bad as was/is that place but was a “place to put the ‘bad’ boys” but I had to wonder if he was right.

    One has to wonder just what kind of monsters are in charge of ‘rehabilitating’ the wayward youth of our country. Not that I believe this happens only in the U.S. because it just can’t be so. Obviously changes need to be made in the way these places are run. What kind of changes? I can’t begin to know. But to think that there are kids and teens and young adults still suffering this kind of abuse disguised as rehabilitation sickens me.

    Like Misnblu said, I cried reading this.
    Mans’ inhumanity to man…..

  6. I was trained and educated as a psychoanalyst and yet I worked as a social worker and psychotherapist with at-risk kids in the California foster care system. I am now retired. For more than 20 years of my career I worked in residential programs that took their referrals from County Departments of Juvenile Probation. Many of the kids in the probation system are criminally sophisticated and absolute animals and yet there were the kids who were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time or just trying to survive. I have listened to stories that are just too disgusting to put into print. Although I am supposedly retired I find myself in a select private practice with adult children of foster care. A few years ago I listened to a man in his 40’s who after more than 30 years he still grieved over seriously beating up a boy in concert with several others because the boy was gay. What was so hard to listen to was that the boy was his lover.

    These are throw away kids who often come from fatherless homes. And let me tell you that the gay kids are over represented in the system. The stories of homophobic assault from staff and peers would crush your heart.


    1. Bruce Tharp:

      I have listened to stories that are just too disgusting to put into print.

      In my opinion, these are the stories that should be told, with the names of the offenders included. Not to sensationalize them, but to shame the cowards that would do such things and to, hopefully, stop history from continuing to repeat it’s self.

      1. In my work I had a duty to warn and a duty to report child abuse. You can believe that I submitted many incident reports of abuse. Kids in the foster care system have a very real mistrust and hatred for social workers and therapists and for good reason. Confidentiality was and is seldom respected. The kids trusted me and that is why they talked. When I finally did make a report it was with their consent and if their situation and circumstance would be safe.

    2. Some of the most dangerous situations are caused by internally homophobic, homosexual males who loath themselves.

      Not to give too much away here….I went to a famous summer camp in MN where I was a raging little homo and as a reward and ‘punishment’ I was tortured by the cabin counselors and eventually raped by the camp director…a man I greatly admired, when I was just 12. Later, even though my parents were well off, I was sent to a boys’ reformatory in MO for a brief stint….because my parents thought I was outa control and let it happen. I really don’t want to talk much about it, but all the stories are true and I will live with what happened there forever. I’m one of the silent ones that can’t come publicly forward and feel powerless to do so. Unless you’ve had this happen to you, it’s difficult to express the powerlessness and betrayal I feel by people I trusted. I greatly appreciate & admire the adults that do have the strength to come forward after all these yrs.

      Males are pack animals and something educators never really address. As males tend to pick on what they perceive to be ‘weak’, other males are destroyed in the process. I find it interesting that most schools have a zero tolerance on weapons and fighting, but they let everything else slide, especially gay taunting/bullying. Parents immediately come to the defense of their boys with, “Boys will be boys after all.’ If a boy beats up somebody he thinks is gay or weak, many fathers are secretly or overtly proud. It’s no wonder that gay boys stay silent and suffer the brutality of it all.

      We have been trying to get into the one HS here to give a power-point presentation of LBGTQI youth and their needs for almost seven yrs now. We were finally promised last yr and it never happened.

      1. @Real1:

        Your third paragraph really puts it into an accurate perspective. “As males tend to pick on what they perceive to be ‘weak’, other males are destroyed in the process.” (Psychologically, verbally and even physically), just like a pack of [laughing] hyenas circling a young gazelle.

        “I find it interesting that most schools have a zero tolerance on weapons and fighting, but they let everything else slide, especially gay taunting/bullying.”
        The killing of Larry King in Oxnard, CA is an interesting twist on what you just said. Regularly, the straight bullies continuously taunt and bully anyone they perceive as gay. But when a gay boy “fights back” and teases a straight boy because he may like him romantically, the first thought to strike back is to get his father’s gun and kill the boy in a premeditated way, thereby “re-claiming” his position as some “leader of the pack”.

        1. Doesn’t have to always be physical, as the teasing and psychological warfare is far worse. In fact, most gay boys would probably tell you that they could handle the occasional physical part, but not the other.

          That’s specifically why over 17% of gay/questioning boys in the US have attempted suicide and another 50% have contemplated it.

          The Larry King incident was incredibly horrific. I found the way a lot of the press covered the incident was despicable…..there was a delayed reaction, much like how the ‘officials’ handled Katrina in LA. Finally the real circumstances and events filtered through. Again, it’s the male pack mentality of blaming the victim.

    3. I was curious Bruce, what you make of studies that the ability to feel empathy is linked to a gene that some people lack. It would seem that being able to screen employees for this trait would be a way to cut down on sociopathic (and psychopathic) behavior among those who work with children. Of course there are privacy issues that this sort of testing would raise.

  7. I went to a religious school in the 1950. Beatings, and humiliations were common. It was just the way it was. We expected to be assaulted. Back then it was considered normal to beat children for any error real or imagined.

    1. And there’s more than a handful of people that still see this horrible treatment of other human beings acceptable today.

      I genuinely hope the world ends in 2012, even if the idea that it will is a load of horseshit.

      1. Don’t get too discouraged yet. I go to an all boys Catholic school with an overall program so good that it would make you proud just to know of it’s existence, a place of real integrity, and NEVER fundamental or pushy in it’s religious teachings, mostly because it’s a Jesuit school. But then again, it does cost 12 grand a year, not exactly something that every parent can afford…

        1. I think you guys are confusing boarding schools with what are pretty much prisons for kids here. The name “Boys School” isn’t meant to be taken literally.

  8. I think it’s sad that some people actually believe these poor men would purposely orchestrate all this to get money from the state.

    Problem is, it takes years for anyone to believe you. It took 15 years for them to finally reform KidsPeace where I live. The staff was putting kids in death restraints that caused suffocation and cardiac arrest when the kids struggled. They were investigated and a lot of people were fired.

    There was also talk of sexual abuse. So it’s a whole new staff now.

    But this Florida thing…so sad. No boys should ever be hurt like that. Makes me really mad. You just don’t hurt ANY child like that. Ugh. Really pisses me off.

    1. It’s an automatic response….much like a gag reflex. You’ll NEVER see charges like this without an immediate denial….even by learned people who should know better. It’s one of the reason I don’t come forward.

  9. ….and yet everyone wonders why I have such a low opinion of my species. When more people start listening more then they speak, forming opinions based on thought and facts rather than emotion, and treating others as they would be treated themselves then to otherwise, I’ll re-evaluate my opinion of homo sapiens.

  10. I felt sick reading this…and now I’m speechless. I don’t know why, but I wish I could just see the face of Billy Haynes, just to know it’s all real…because this is the most surreal and sickening thing I have ever heard.

    1. It is very real Cory. Maybe not as extensive as Florida but it happens. State and County Departments of Social Services have tightened up their regulations but it continues to happen. Unfortunately, working with kids is a business. Most people work in group homes, residential programs, juvenile detension centers or become foster parents simply for the money. During my career as a social worker/psychotherapist I found myself moving around alot. I had worked in a few very good programs and many really bad programs. I was successful in closing two programs which is like comiting professional suicide. I was lucky to retire while working with an outstanding residential program in California.

      80% of the kids aging out of foster care do not make it. Of that 80%, some will wind up in the criminal justice system, the mental health system, homeless or dead. These are really unwanted, throw away kids.

  11. Reminds me of the movie “Sleepers” with Deniro, Kevin Bacon, and Brad Pitt. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must!

  12. Even though I guess it’s “cliche”, this really does show, AGAIN, how “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I think Americans nowadays even think of “liberty” as a cliche, “Yeah yeah, liberty, blah blah blah, God bless America, fight totalitarianism and all that, ho hum, yawn, what’s happening with the World Cup?” But if you don’t have liberty, then someone has power over you and they will simply become more and more corrupt and you will become more and more abused.

    And, as this story shows, there is hardly more opportunity for abuse than some resentful, hateful, envious, sadistic person wrapped up in the office of dispensing “criminal justice” having power over young unparented boys in a setting hidden from view. Sure, it could be 21st century America, but it may as well be a Dickensian orphanage right out of “Nicholas Nickleby” or a clipper ship at sea with an insane flogging captain or a British convict prison in Australia where the prisoners daily prayed for death as their only hope of release from the excrutiations they daily received. There is no limit to the human capacity for cruelty once there is power over another.

    The whole idea of beating a boy with a heavy leather strap while he bites the tip of his tongue off and ends up needing stitches on his blacked and permanently scarred butt…no boy “needs” that, it is the perverted sadists who lust after that boy’s butt but wants to hurt it instead of love it who “needs” and wants that and maneuvers to get it. I think the same thing of any parent who “spanks” their children, particularly if they “ritualize” the punishment and have various instruments and do it bare butt and all that, they’re raping, sodomizing, incestuous pedo- and ephebophiles, except remove the word “phile”, because that means “love” and they clearly do not. Whatever the Greek word for “hate” is, that’s what they all are, no matter how much they try to justify it by words like “discipline”.

    We’re supposed to be protecting children, but we do a very bad job of it. We put in prison parents who take cute photos of their naked and safe children enjoying a hot tub, while orphans are being destroyed by monsters with a free pass in state-run facilities. The social hypocrisy and incompetence is mind-blowing.

  13. Yesterday watched Sleepers, it holds me right up until now, a very good yet hard to watch movie.

  14. I found this an intense and difficult read. I looked for the school on Wikipedia. Someone has put a very little there, which is a start.

    All such instances should be documented. They need exposure in a clinical and cited manner.

  15. What many of the comments ignore is that the former pupils at this school who appear in the story have for the most part made a success of themselves. Had this school not been there to put them on the straight and narrow at an important stage in their lives, who knows what may have become of them? Delinquency in youth is rarely self-correcting.

    The people who ran such institutions rarely had access to the tools we have today to help put youngsters on the straight and narrow; they used the means at their disposal and the results speak for themselves.

    Yes, this is a very sad story indeed, that such a place had to closed down before I could offer my own contribution to these boys’ welfare is sad indeed.

    1. I could offer up a very logical argument about how correlation doesn’t equal causation and plenty of people have been successful and on the “straight and narrow” without being tortured.

      But you know, your last sentence about actually wanting to beat children proves that you’re a monster and I shouldn’t even waste my breath on you.

      1. I’m with you, Pieman; and institutions like this draw this kind of person like a pile of ordure draws flies. But this guy’s user name is an interesting clue: “enfilade” means “to rake with gunfire”. Sounds more like a Columbine killer than a child welfare agent.

    2. Does that last sentence mean that you are a self confessed paedophile and child beater?

      The rest of your sentiments as expressed lead me inexorably to that conclusion.

      1. I think he is really saying that the ends justify the means if the child is led back to the straight and narrow. If that is true, how do we know the straight and narrow is actually ‘good’ for them and not just expedient for society?
        Personally I think we should rebel against this concept of conformity.

  16. I work for the state of florida and i am glad that this sort of corruption is coming to an end.

  17. I’ll admit that I’ve always fantasized about going to a boy’s boarding school. But this would be an absolute nightmare…

  18. For their own good… It think that the root of all evil are people who intend to do something “good”.. Communists, Nationalists, Religions, Foreign Help – People who just want to do good things everywhere causing problems big and small everywhere.
    Let the very single person decide what is good for her – or not.

    1. No. Not at all. Many people achieve good things, some large, some small. I want to do good. But I do not want to do things TO people for their own good.

      Keep that in mind and good will be done, real good.

  19. The primitive brain not only alive but
    flourish in Govts /people’s worldwide.

    One can’t make excuses for such horror
    that being committed against any child.

    Those that be guilty of such horror will
    in time will be brought to account they
    will lose all rights being born an human
    being where tenfold know the injustice
    they having brought on helpless others.

    If one having endured injustice in youth
    as child / don’t let oneself be consumed
    by anger / rage at the suffering having
    experienced / where being the helpless
    victims of cruel brutality /Those whom
    allowed /as carried out such abuse / in
    time all being brought to account / the Almighty their judge / giving sentence.

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