KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A group of former students of a now closed reform school in the Florida panhandle, that was widely known for abuse, gathered in Kissimmee on Sunday.
For over a century, boys who attended the Dozier School for Boys endured unspeakable cruelty, torture and even death. The reform school, which was located in Marianna, is now closed. Dozens of boys died at the school during the 1900's and researchers have recently found several unmarked graves on the property.
"You got beat for walking in the grass, for talking in line, for wetting the bed, you got beat," said former student Richard Huntly.
Huntly, who is from Orlando, is now 67-years-old. He attended the school in the 1950's when he was 11.
"It was a concentration camp to me," Huntly said.
The reform school, which was run by the State of Florida, was the target of multiple investigations before its closure in 2011.
Former students of the school have formed an organization called the "White House Boys," which gets together twice a year for a reunion. The group met Sunday afternoon at Osprey Park in Kissimmee and they received an update from lawyers on legal matters surrounding the school.
The former students chose Kissimmee because of its central location. At the gathering, the men also heard from the group's president, who briefed them on state officials' efforts to identify buried remains at the now defunct school property.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is one of the agencies that investigated the school but the case has since been closed.